Sigma Nu Fraternity was founded in 1868 at the Virginia Military Institute. At that time, cadets at VMI suffered a harsh system of physical and mental harassment. In response to this intolerable hazing, three cadets formed Sigma Nu. With Love, Truth, and Honor as its guiding principles, the new brotherhood sought to develop the character and integrity of its members. Since the fraternity's founding, every man in Sigma Nu has worked to embody these ideals in all his actions and relationships.
In 1891, Carl Clemans chartered the Beta Chi Chapter at Stanford. Beta Chi was one of the first fraternities established at Stanford and the first Sigma Nu chapter on the West Coast. Even in its early years, Beta Chi chapter was an influential organization at Stanford. Active members served as class officers and editors of campus publications. A charter member, William Webster, became the first president of the Associated Students, while Carl Clemans captained the university's first football team. Notable Beta Chi alumni include Charles Schwab, Tad Taube, and Senator Alan Cranston. Before its breakup as an official organization in 1963, Beta Chi enjoyed over seventy strong years on campus.
Beta Chi decided to break away from the national chapter in 1963. In that year the chapter defied official fraternity by-laws and accepted an African-American into the organization. The Stanford chapter decided to break from national and hold true to its ideals. The organization would not resurface on campus until 1987. Seventeen young men of various backgrounds re-founded the chapter with approval form the national office. The chapter flourished on campus as an un-housed organization until 557 Mayfield Avenue became its home in the Fall of 2003.
In recent years, Stanford Sigma Nus have sought to maintain the founding ideals of the fraternity with their varied activities throughout campus. The chapter has organized highly successful charity events including the Beta Chi Giving Drive and the annual Safeway Sleepout. Members have frequently been involved in both Residential Education and student government, holding Resident Assistant, Senate, and Class President positions. Sigma Nus have been among the academic elite in their respective classes, many completing Honors Theses or graduation Phi Beta Kappa.
Our belief in the value of a well-rounded life is also reflected in our athletic achievements. Some of the best athletes Stanford has to offer, recently including 1998 NCAA pole vault champion Toby Stevenson, 2010 NCAA track champion Zach Chandy, and 2010 NCAA gymnastics champion Nick Noone, have all been Sigma Nus. Other brothers have garnered numerous championships in intramural competitions.
In addition to these accomplishments, the members of Beta Chi have consistently brought the Stanford campus together with two of the largest parties on campus each year. Through the use of innovative themes and live music, Moonsplash and Sunsplash even manage to attract those who do not usually attend campus parties.
The history of Sigma Nu demonstrates a strict allegiance to the ideals of Love, Truth, and Honor. The founding fathers instilled these guiding principles in the fraternity, and the men of Beta Chi have worked hard to apply them in a way that reflects well upon the University.