The History of Kappa Sigma
American Founding - 1869 AD
Modern day Kappa Sigma was founded one chilly evening in the fall of 1869, as five students attending the University of Virginia in Charlottesville gathered in the room of William Grigsby McCormick, at 46 East Lawn, and planted the seed of Brotherhood. For many weeks the bonds of friendship had drawn these five together; now the need became clear for a formal structure to contain their feelings. Thus, not only did the Founders formalize their friendship, but they also created a fraternity steeped in the traditions of the past and dedicated to the Pursuit of Learning. The new brothers recorded their bond in a Constitution and in an Oath that set forth the ideals and principles to all Kappa Sigmas today
Five Friends & Brothers - University of Virginia Founders
Mu-Upsilon/University of Northern Iowa History
The House in 1973 by John Nicol
Image courtesy of the Cedar Falls Historical Society
The House in 2001
The House in 2012
The idea of establishing a Kappa Sigma chapter at the University of Northern Iowa began with Dennis Kooker. Brother Kooker was an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, and was a member of the Beta Rho Chapter of the Kappa Sigma. Kooker was a high school classmate of Founding Father Brian Walters, an undergraduate at the University of Northern Iowa. In discussing the Brotherhood they decided that the benefits the Kappa Sigma offered to its members made the prospect of forming a colony at UNI very exciting.
The First Year
Approximately one year after the conversation between Brother Kooker and Brother Walters a series of three pledging ceremonies were held. On November 2, 1984 these pledges at the University of Northern Iowa gained colony recognition from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. The 34 pledge members worked diligently over the following year to complete the work necessary to receive their charter.
These young men faced many challenges along the road to becoming a chapter, but by working together were able to achieve their goal.
The pledge brothers, began the chapter’s philanthropic association with the Waterloo Boys and Girls Club, and conducted various fundraising projects in order to raise the $2000 required for chartering. During this first year ten of the brothers moved into a house at 1919 College Street (known as the “Old House”) and completed the document known as the petition that was submitted to the SEC for approval.
The petition was approved and on November 16th, 1985, the seventeen remaining original pledges were initiated as Founding Fathers, and the colony was installed as the Mu-Upsilon Chapter of the Kappa Sigma, the 275th chapter of the fraternity.
The Early Years
The next year the chapter rented and moved into the current chapter house at 2504 College Street. The chapter then formed a Housing Corporation. This group of alumni controls the actual house structure. With the help of various alumni donations and a loan from the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund, the Housing Corporation was able to purchase the house in the fall of 1993 for $90,000. Since then improvements to the chapter house have been made on a continual basis. All the brothers take great pride in the chapter house.
Another area which the chapter takes great pride is its commitment and leadership in the Greek Community. Since the chapter has been established on campus, Kappa Sigma has been represented on the Inter-Fraternity Council every year, including many members of the IFC Executive committee. Kappa Sigma has also traditionally taken many leadership roles with Greek Week and various Greek Homecoming activities.
In October 2000 Mu Upsilon celebrated its 15th anniversary, and over 50 alumni and undergraduates gathered together, celebrated, and remembered what Brotherhood is all about. As the chapter looks toward the next 15 years the members need to remember all the hard work and dedication other brothers that has made Mu Upsilon what it is today.
The members of the Mu Upsilon Chapter take great pride in being members of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and being part of the Northern Iowa Greek Community. It is the desire, and purpose, of our Fraternity to instill in the membership the qualities which will promote the chapter in such a way that it can contribute to the University, Greek Community, and community in a meaningful manner. The history of the chapter stands as an example of what can be accomplished when a group of young men work together for a common goal. By continually developing the brotherhood, the chapter will be able to enjoy a long and distinguished tradition of excellence at the University of Northern Iowa.
While this is a brief history of the account of the Mu Upsilon chapter, much of the history of Mu Upsilon Chapter is not written down. It exists in our minds and in our hearts. Our commitment to Kappa Sigma surrounds us, the air we breathe, forever to nourish our minds and hearts. Keep well your commitment to Kappa Sigma.