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Sigma Chi Timeline 1931-1955


1931-1955—100 YEARS OF SIGMA CHI

Year Sigma Chi World*
1933
  • On July 10, Past Grand Consul Joseph Cookman Nate entered the Chapter Eternal at age 65 after 43 years of official service to Sigma Chi. He is best remembered for his monumental History of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, four volumes of which had been published at his death.
  • Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany, setting in motion a series of events leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt assumes office as the 32nd President of the United States. FDR will serve 12 1/2 years, be re-elected three times, and lead the U.S. out of the Great Depression and through the worse parts of World War II.
1934
  • An Endowment Commission, a forerunner  of the Sigma Chi Foundation, was established. In 1941, its name was changed to the Sigma Chi Foundation.
  • Edwin Hubble photo shows as many galaxies as Milky Way has stars.
  • Outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre, "Public Enemy No. 1" John Dillinger is mortally wounded by FBI agents.
1935
  • The Fraternity created the Significant Sig Award. This award would be presented at Grand Chapter to alumni whose achievements brought honor and prestige to the Fraternity. Seven medals were presented at the 42nd Grand Chapter held in Chicago.
  • Sandstorm ravages US midwest (Dust Bowl).
  • One thousand unemployed Canadian workers board freight cars in Vancouver, British Columbia, beginning a protest trek to Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1st automobile to exceed 300 mph, Sir Malcolm Campbell (301.337 mph).
1939
  • Ralph Connable, Albion 1882father of Sigma Chi in Canada passes to the Chapter Eternal on Fe
  • World War II breaks out in Europe
1941
  • At the 45th Grand Chapter in Detroit, the Daniel William Cooper Scholarship Trophy was presented. Undergraduate chapters now compete for the award annually. This will be the last Grand Chapter until the conclusion of World War II.
  • On December 7th, "Naval and Air Forces of the Empire of Japan" attacked the U.S. Naval Station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma was Ensign Verdi D. Sederstrom Oregon 1940--he will be come the first Sigma Chi casualty of World War II. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt stands before Congress asking for a declaration of war against Japan. Four day later, on December 11th, Germany declares war on the United States marking full U.S. involvement in the Second World War.
1945
  • On June 19, a group of 16 Sigs gathered at the Office of War Information Club in Manila, Philippine Islands, to write another stirring chapter in Sigma Chi history. Fierce fighting in World War II was still raging less than 20 miles from Manila and Japanese snipers were still active in the battered city when these Sigs met to reactivate the Manila alumni chapter. Instrumental in the re-organization were Richard H. Watkins, Oregon 1935, and Howard Kramer, Miami (Ohio) 1929.
  • On the eve of victory, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies April 12th, 1945. Within a month, the war concludes in Europe with the suicide of Adoph Hitler and the unconditonal surrender of Germany on May 7th.
  • The U.S. drops the Atomic Bomb on two Japanes cities forcing an unconditional Japanese surrender bringing the war in the Pacific and World War II to a close.
1946
  • The 46th (Victory) Grand Chapter Convenes in Chicago to celebrated the end of the war and honor the dead. Several thousand Sigs, stationed all over the world, served in the armed services during World War II. Congressional Medal of Honor winner Capt. Maurice L. Britt, Arkansas 1941b>, became the most decorated U.S. officer of the war. During the War, the Fraternity lost 672 members, seven times as many as it lost in World War I.
  • British Govt takes control of Bank of England, after 252 years.
  • League of Nations assembles for last time and the United Nations forms.
  • President Truman orders desegregation of all US forces.
1947
  • On August 31 through September 3, the first Leadership Training Workshop was held at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. 215 delegates from 82 of 108 undergraduate chapters attended. Delegates covered the topics of recruitment, pledge training, chapter organization, accounting methods, preparation of a yearly budget, interpretation of the Ritual, campus and alumni relations and chapter publications.-
  • 1st plane (F-80) to exceed 600 mph (1004 kph).
  • Flying saucers sighted over Mount Rainier by pilot Ken Arnold.
1948
  • The Grand Chapter held in Seattle established the Order of Constantine to recognize alumni for outstanding Fraternity service. Forty-seven Sigs were made charter members.
  • At the 47th Grand Chapter, the Fraternity selected Barbara Tanner, a Kappa Alpha Theta sorority member from Michigan State, as the first International Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.
  • British railways are nationalised to form British Rail.
  • "The Kitty Hawk" comes home. The Wright brothers' historic plane was formally presented to the Smithsonian Institution on December 17, 1948 by Milton Wright, Miami-Ohio 1915, nephew of the inventors.
1950
  • After 95 years of either no headquarters at all or of renting office space, Sigma Chi bought the magnificent Harley L. Clark mansion on Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois, for its Headquarters.
  • Life magazine cited Sigma Chi Fraternity as “... one of the most solid of all. ... ” in a story on college fraternities.
  • U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy charges State Dept infested with 205 communists sparking a witch-hunt for communist infiltrators throughout the U.S. society.
  • First kidney transplant (Chicago).
  • First time US & North Korean forces clash in Korean War.
1955
  • The Fraternity celebrated its Centennial June 28 in Oxford, Ohio, as a part of the 50th Grand Chapter which met in Cincinnati.
  • During the Literary Exercise of this Grand Chapter, brothers received a copy of The Centennial History by Robert M. Collett, Denison 1915. With 2,000 Sigs and guests in attendance, it was the largest event in Sigma Chi history.
  • Elvis Presley's 1st TV appearance on "Louisiana Hayride" show.
  • Winston Churchill resigns as British PM, Anthony Eden succeeds him.
  • Publication of The Return of the King, being the last part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien.
< < 1906-1930—Sigma Chi International   ||—||   1956-1980—Winds of Change> >

*Source of World Events: History Orb Click the years above to see more events in that year.

SIG HISTORY
SIG HISTORIANS

A NORTHERN CONFEDERATE AT JOHNSON'S ISLAND PRISON: The Civil War Diaries of James Parks Caldwell
George H. Jones
51st Grand Consul

McFarland & Co., 2010.


Sigma Chi Founder, Caldwell fought for the Confederacy and spent 18 months in the Union's Johnson's Island prison. While there he kept a diary on prison conditions, the politics of the day, and his personal interests.

For more information, click here.

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