Kappa Sigma History

The Kappa Sigma Fraternity is modeled after an extinct order said to have been founded at the University of Bologna in 1400. According to the traditional story, the corrupt governor of the city, one-time pirate and later papal usurper Baldassare Cossa, took advantage of the students at Bologna, one of Europe’s preeminent universities which attracted students from all over the continent, by sending his men to assault and rob them; this motivated one of the university’s scholars Manuel Chrysoloras to found a secret society of students beginning with five of his most devoted disciples, for mutual protection against Cossa.

On December 10, 1869, five students at the University of Virginia met at 46 East Lawn and founded the Kappa Sigma Fraternity in America. William Grigsby McCormick, George Miles Arnold, John Covert Boyd, Edmund Law Rogers Jr. and Frank Courtney Nicodemus established the fraternity based on the traditions and of the ancient order in Bologna. These five founders became collectively known as the “Five Friends and Brothers.”

In 1872, Kappa Sigma initiated Stephen Alonzo Jackson, who would go on to transform a struggling local fraternity into a strong international Brotherhood. The organization attributes much of its success to Jackson noting that, “Since his death in 1892, the success of the Order is the direct result of Jackson’s devotion ‘to make Kappa Sigma the leading college fraternity of the world.’”

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