One of the measures of success is longevity, and the Eta Xi Chapter of the Sigma Nu Fraternity at UALR has reached a milestone worth celebrating. Alumni recently celebrated the chapter’s founding at Little Rock University (LRU), which occurred fifty years ago this past December.
Like the local, UALR chapter, the history of the founding of Sigma Nu as it dates back to the Civil War days, follows a young man’s strive for excellence. James Frank Hopkins, a Confederate veteran from Arkansas, enrolled at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.
At the time, the South was in a state of turmoil due to the aftereffects of the war, and the Institute was looked upon for its strengths in engineering. Hopkins, who had seen wartime, was not one to let the horrible hazing that took place from upperclassman to the newly entered freshman. He and two of his classmates, Greenfield Quarles, also from Arkansas, and James Riley, from Missouri, established a secret Legion of Honor.
The society publicly announced its existence in 1869, and has been expanding and striving for excellence as a brotherhood ever since.
LRU’s chapter became official on Jan. 26, 1963. Founding Chapter Commander Johnny Taylor was impressed by the turnout at Little Rock’s Country Club in December.
In an interview with the alumni association he said, “Sigma Nu’s history at LRU and UALR is a proud and colorful one. On Jan. 26, 1963, Delta Kappa local became a colony of Sigma Nu National Fraternity. The informal pledging of 42 men capped two and a half years work by the fraternity for colony recognition.”
Taylor and other Sigma Nu alumni members agreed, there was something special about the fraternity. The group became well-known for different campus activities including the annual Sigma Nu Relays which called for participation from the campus sororities. There was also a Shipwreck costume party each March.
Members of Eta Xi are today leaders in many fields. For example, many original members are on the UALR Alumni Association Board of Directors, and many have been recognized as Distinguished Alumni by the University.
As students, Sigma Nus were elected to positions on the Student Senate, edited the campus newspaper, The Forum, and were members of the Trojan Varsity Basketball Team. Sigma Nu intramural teams frequently won major sports competitions
Currently the fraternity has a loose plan of re-establishing its presence on campus. For some time, the group has been inactive, due to dwindling membership, however, after the 50th anniversary celebration, its easy to see the success that comes out of a special brotherhood like this.
Sigma Nu is the only social fraternity in existence founded on the principle of Honor.
Coutesy of Becca Bona, Daily Record