The Founding of Sigma Chi

The fundamental purpose of the Sigma Chi Fraternity is to cultivate an appreciation of and commitment to the ideals of friendship, justice and learning. These ideals and objectives have been at the heart of Sigma Chi since its founding by seven men at Miami University of Oxford, Ohio on June 28, 1855.

These seven men believed that the principles they professed were imperfectly realized in other fraternal organizations. Their vision of Sigma Chi was based upon the notion of shared ideals, they believed that true brotherhood would thrive best among men of different temperaments, talents and convictions.

These guiding principles, unchanged for almost 150 years, continue to define the essence of Sigma Chi.


The History of Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Chi and Missouri State University

Missouri State Normal School was founded in 1905 with the primary purpose of preparing teachers for the public school system. The campus is located in Springfield, Missouri, the state’s third largest city and is also known as the Queen City of the Ozarks and is the birthplace of Route 66, the first completely paved and numbered US Highway that traveled from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast. Springfield is also home to Drury and Evangel Universities and when combined with the Branson and metropolitan areas its population is over 530,000 residents.

In 1906, the College changed its name to Southwest Missouri State College emphasizing the school’s expansion beyond teacher education to liberal arts and sciences.

In the late 1960s, fraternity and sorority life at the College was capturing more attention among the growing student population but few Greek organizations were established at the time. After formal rush had completed in the Fall of 1968, a few residents of the Blair-Shannon men’s dormitory got together with the idea of bringing a new fraternity to campus.

With the assistance of a Springfield resident who was an alumnus of Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of Houston, it was decided to petition Sigma Chi International Headquarters to establish a new chapter at Southwest Missouri State College. In October of 1968, the Nu Sigma Chi Colony was formed with fourteen original founder-members.

Nu Sigma Chi quickly gained popularity on campus and soon led the way with achievements in academics, intramural sports, and philanthropic projects while fostering integrity and high character among its members.


A few of the original founders of Eta Kappa Chapter
(L to R): Jim Griggs, Bryan Martinovich, Marvin McDaniel, Rich Cocos, John Curtis, Tim Reynolds

On April 3, 1971, Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity received its Charter with over sixty members initiated, and in early 1972 Southwest Missouri State College changed its name to Southwest Missouri State University in recognition of its diversity of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Sigma Chi at Missouri State continued to prosper through the 1970s and 1980s and excelled in all aspects of fraternal life resulting in the Chapter’s earning the highest recognition from Sigma Chi International Headquarters–The Peterson Significant Chapter Award which was earned by  seven times beginning in 1973 through the 1985 school year.

By 1990, enrollment at SMSU exceeded 20,000 students and in 2005, the institution was renamed Missouri State University reflecting its enrollment of tens of thousands of students in addition to its higher admission standards and graduate programs.

At that time, Eta Kappa Chapter, like many Greek organizations on college campuses today fell on difficult times due to poor leadership and loss of respect for the ideals and high standards that Sigma Chi requires of its members. Consequently, the Chapter was removed from campus in 2006 and was required to stay off campus for at least five years.

In spring of 2012, a group of young men led by the son of an alumnus of Eta Kappa Chapter successfully petitioned the University and Sigma Chi Headquarters to form Sigma Chi Omega Colony resulting in the re-charting of Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Chi on March 1, 2014.

Today there are 18 fraternities and 8 sororities on campus at Missouri State. This past April the House Corporation purchased a new chapter house located adjacent to campus on Kimbrough Ave. Eight undergraduate active chapter members live at the house with chapter membership totaling forty actives and pledges.

The new Eta Kappa Chapter has distinguished itself by successfully launching an annual philanthropic event known as Derby Days. This week-long fundraising event raises money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and involves competition among sororities such as banner decoration and Derby Kids which is a carnival for area elementary school children.

Today Eta Kappa Chapter has returned to basics with a commitment to recruit and initiate new members who aspire to the ideals of the Jordan Standard and to achieve the fundamental purpose which is the cultivation, maintenance, and accomplishment of the ideals of friendship, justice, and learning among all members.

Submitted by: Chuck Champion, President of Sigma Chi House Corp of Springfield, MO
September 30, 2016


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