Sigma Tau Gamma enjoys a rich heritage, dating back to our founding on June 28, 1920 at what is now known as the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. Our longevity is attributable, in great measure, to the dedication and vision of generations of men who have come before us. These men worked to ensure that you would be given the opportunity they enjoyed – to become part of a noble and courageous generation of men.
The Noble 17
Born on a farm near Windsor, Mo. in 1889, Emmett Ellis was 30 years of age, the oldest of the Founders, when he posted the notice of the original meeting of the Fraternity on the college bulletin board in 1920. Upon graduation, he taught in a rural school then enrolled as a student at "Normal No. 2" in Warrensburg in 1913, earning a regents certificate in six months so that he could teach in the elementary schools. He returned to CMSC (Central Missouri) in 1916 and attended until enlisting with several fellow students in the Army. They became a part of Ambulance Company 355 which served in France during World War I and returned to the states in the spring of 1919 for their discharge. Since the literary societies which had dominated campus activities before the war appeared too restrictive, Founder Ellis and other students, several of whom had served together during the war, conceived the idea of a fraternity during the summer term. He moved to Rich Hill in the fall where he spent three years as the school superintendent then went to Leland Stanford University, earning the M.A. degree in 1924. He spent the following year as a principal in Warrensburg and in the spring was elected President at the first Conclave. After teaching for several years and earning a Ph.D. from George Peabody College, he returned to his alma mater in 1932 as a member of the faculty.
The second name found on the original petition is Brother Leland Hoback.
Hoback began his college career at Warrensburg in 1916 before volunteering for military service with Ambulance Company 355 the following year. Pfc. Hoback and several other men who would found Sigma Tau Gamma two years later began their service in France on June 28, 1918, participating in Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel, and the Defensive Sector at Taul. He then served with the Army of Occupation until March of 1919 and attended classes at the University of Besancon in France.
Enrolling in classes in Warrensburg the following summer, he took a room in the "House of Trotter" at 101 Ming for the summer term and soon developed a strong friendship with his fellow occupants, including Allen R. Nieman. At the organizational meeting of the Fraternity, Founder Hoback was elected temporary chairman and he subsequently served as chairman of committees appointed to draft the first Constitution and By-Laws. He helped to write the first ritual and, as provisional vice president prior to the first Conclave, was an installing officer when Beta and Delta chapters were admitted into the Fraternity. Founder Hoback possessed an engaging personality and, according to other founders, was a natural leader. He received three degrees in August of 1921 from CMSC (Central Missouri.)
Edward George Grannert entered college at Warrensburg in 1916. He became a member of the Athenian Literary Society early during his college career, which was interrupted in 1917 when he enlisted in the Red Cross Ambulance unit for service overseas during World War I. He served with the Army of Occupation in Germany as an interpreter during the last year of his tour of duty in Europe prior to his unit's return to the states. Returning to college for the fall term in 1919, he played collegiate football and participated in several school plays during the year.
Five weeks after he helped found the Fraternity, he was elected at the final summer meeting to serve as president for the 1920-21 academic year. Thus, he became the first regularly elected chapter president in Sigma Tau Gamma.
Founder McCune continued his studies at CMSTC (Central Missouri)through graduation in 1921, serving as president of the student body his senior year. Founder McCune began his career in education in the fall of 1921 as principal of the high school in Sallisaw, Okla. After two years there, he went to Tahlequah as a school superintendent. During his three years at Tahlequah, he was instrumental in the chartering of the Zeta Chapter at Northeastern State. He was soon appointed Province Archon and was elected President of Sigma Tau Gamma in 1938, an office he held until 1943, the year he received his Ph.D. from George Peabody College.
Buell Wright McDaniel enrolled in college at Warrensburg for the fall term of 1916 and earned a starting position on the college baseball team. In May of 1917, he became the first man from his county to volunteer for the armed services and, at the end of the summer, was called to active duty. He spent a year in France with the 138th Field Hospital unit, attached to the 35th Division, and returned home in the spring of 1919. He returned to CMSC (Central Missouri) in the summer and became a Founder of Sigma Tau Gamma. He was vice president of the Fraternity during the 1920-21 school. Founder McDaniel went to Kansas City in 1927 as a teacher and served the school system there for 37 years before his retirement in 1964. For more than 20 years he was active in the Y.M.C.A., leader in his church, and contributed to many other community programs, including scout organizations.
Valedictorian of his high school graduating class, in 1915, William Glenn Parsons attended the University of Missouri on a scholarship before transferring to Warrensburg for the spring term in 1917. He received the 60-hour diploma that summer but enlisted with a group of other Warrensburg students in Ambulance Company 355 for service in the World War. Two days after his discharge in June of 1919, he returned to Warrensburg.
Remaining lifelong friends with many Founders of Sigma Tau Gamma, Founder Parsons, and Founder Ellis had a special relationship, with Founder Parsons giving the eulogy at Founder Ellis' funeral.
A.B. Cott completed Officers Training School (OTS) and served as a lieutenant during World War I. Upon his discharge, he returned to Missouri where he accepted a position at Winfield, teaching there until he first enrolled at Warrensburg for the summer term of 1920. After he accepted an invitation to become a Founder of Sigma Tau Gamma, he continued to teach during the school year and attend summer school at CMSC (Central Missouri.) Founder Cott moved to Washington, D. C. in 1936, working in the Department of Agriculture before he was transferred to its regional office in Spartanburg, S. C. where he remained until 1943. He was then transferred back to the nation's capital as a freight examiner with the General Accounting Office where he was employed until retirement in 1964.
Credited by other Founders as the inspiring force in the formation of Sigma Tau Gamma, Allen Ross Nieman intended to enter the ministry when he enrolled at William Jewell College in 1913. He came to Warrensburg in the summer of 1920 to work on his degree in education, leaving his wife and baby daughter in Iowa. He went to 101 Ming and, since he was older than the other residents, asked for a quiet room downstairs. In less than 24 hours, he knew all of the students by name and won their friendship with his engaging personality. Many of the discussions concerning the need for a closely-knit organization for college men that summer were held in his room.
A few weeks prior to graduation, Nieman went by train to Kirksville, MO to assist installing the Beta Chapter at Truman State. He earned a master's degree from Iowa State University and moved to Arizona in 1931. Founder Nieman was a Bible teacher and tenor soloist. He possessed a bubbling sense of humor, was an extrovert, making friends with whomever he met. He was the first of the Founders to pass away on August 15, 1937, but his character and deeds will long be remembered by the members of the fraternity whose founding he inspired.
William Edward Billings, like Founder Nieman, entered William Jewell College and played third base for the varsity baseball team. Although he was offered a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, he declined because of the ominous approach of World War I, "Billy" joined the Student Army Training Corps and entered the Army in the spring of 1919.
While in military service he abandoned his dream of becoming a minister and decided he could reach a wider "congregation" as a teacher. Therefore, he enrolled at CMSC (Central Missouri) in Warrensburg during the summer of 1920 and became reacquainted with Founder Nieman, leading him to become a Founder of Sigma Tau Gamma.
The youngest of the Founders, Frank Hermon Gorman was born in 1901. Founder Gorman entered the University of Missouri with the intention of becoming an agricultural engineer. At the close of his freshman year, he was asked to return to his hometown as a teacher and principal of the high school. He decided to accept and went to Warrensburg that summer to take courses which would qualify him for teaching. He took a room at 101 Ming and almost immediately became involved in the discussions which led to the Founding.
Upon graduation in 1924, he moved to Golden City where he succeeded Founder Leland T. Hoback as school superintendent. Years later, he returned to the University of Missouri and earned his masters and Ph.D., served on the university faculty and coauthored an elementary school textbook. Founder Gorman began his distinguished career at Omaha in 1948 as head of the elementary education department and, two years later, became the first Dean of the College of Education at what is now the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Carl Nelson Chapman entered college at Warrensburg soon after his graduation from high school in 1918. He moved into the "House of Trotter" at 101 Ming where his roommate was Rodney Herndon. They shared the camaraderie which soon developed among the students there and both became founders of Sigma Tau Gamma, serving as Alpha Chapter President in 1921. Founder Chapman was an active participant in community activities at, serving three terms as president of the Rotary Club, a member of the local Masonic Lodge, and was a member of local, state, and national dental associations, Dr. Chapman was a member of Xi Psi Phi dental fraternity and the Omicron Kappa Upsilon honorary dental organization.
Clarence Willard Salter entered college at Warrensburg for the 1916 summer term. He spent nearly two years working on the railroad and enlisted in military service during the spring of 1918. Attached to the 89th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces as a liaison agent during the war, he attended the American University in France before returning to the states in June of 1919.
Founder Salter was lauded as an inspiring teacher and as a man who did his best to help those around him to improve themselves. A member of the Christian Science Church, he was active in religious activities and enjoyed farming. An interesting conversationalist, Founder Salter was warm and infectious.
Chiles Edward Hoffman enrolled at CMSC (Central Missouri) in the fall of 1918 and, after two quarters, was awarded a teaching fellowship in the industrial arts department. Since his parents lived about nine miles west of town, he obtained a room at the "House of Trotter," one of the more popular boarding houses, in 1917 and lived there during his senior year in high school and all three years of college, including summers. He joined the Irving Literary Society, stereotyped as the most "intellectual" of the three male societies, during his sophomore year.
When he joined with the other residents of 101 Ming in founding Sigma Tau Gamma, he and Rodney Herndon (both industrial arts majors) were assigned to design the first fraternity pin. Founder Hoffman was also elected as the first treasurer of the Fraternity, serving during the 1920-21 school year. In 1926 he began work toward his master's degree at the University of Kansas and, in the spring of 1928, went to Pawhuska, Okla., where he taught for nine years, receiving his master's degree in the summer of 1933. He moved to Kiefer and attended summer classes at Oklahoma State University. In the fall of 1940, he was appointed to the faculty at OSU and became active in many professional and civic organizations. Founder Hoffman spent the next 25 years on the faculty there, retiring at the age of 65 in 1964 as Professor Emeritus.
Although a polio infection during his early childhood left his right leg permanently weakened, he always led an active life, enjoying tennis, baseball, fishing, and camping.
Rodney Edward Herndon enrolled at CMSC (Central Missouri in Warrensburg soon after graduation from high school. He completed several classes but left in 1919 before graduation, moving to Cisco, Tex., where he taught for two years. Following his first year at Cisco, he returned to Warrensburg for the summer session. His roommate that summer on the southeast corner of the second floor at 101 Ming was Founder Carl Chapman and they both became involved in the plans to organize the first fraternity on campus. Because of his ability in the field of industrial arts, he was asked to design a coat of arms and to work with Founder Hoffman to design the Fraternity Badge.
Although his parents and brother, Forrest, remained in Texas, Founder Herndon accepted a position as teacher of industrial arts and coach of the track and baseball teams at Bonne Terre, Mo., in 1923. For 20 years Founder Herndon was a respected and loved teacher at Bonne Terre, always willing to spend time with his students after school and during the summer months. He was a scout leader and helped form a summer camp, contributing much time as an instructor and organizer of canoe trips. He did carpentry work in the summer and many buildings in Bonne Terre today were constructed by him.
George Eugene Hartrick enrolled at CMSC (Central Missouri) in the summer of 1920 after teaching for two years in rural Missouri. Emmett Ellis invited him to attend several planning sessions at 101 Ming concerning the organization of a college fraternity, what would one day become Sigma Tau Gamma. Three months before his graduation in the summer of 1923, Hartrick married his wife Edith.
Although originally from Texas, Hartrick would spend the next years of his career in Missouri. By 1937, Hartrick had earned a master’s degree from the University of Missouri, and taught four summers at Central Missouri. After earning an additional master’s degree from Columbia University, Hartrick accepted a position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and relocated to Kansas.
Even after he retired in 1965, Hartrick remained an active member of his community serving as a City Assessor and being involved in both his church and Masonic work. G.E. Hartrick was one of the Founders present at the Golden Anniversary in 1950.
Daniel Frank Fisher entered college at CMSC (Central Missouri) where he soon earned a starting spot on both the baseball and basketball teams. He and his brother were two of the students invited to become founding members of Sigma Tau Gamma and both accepted. In the fall of 1920. He served as Business Manager of the college newspaper in addition to his athletic exploits, before transferring to Albion College in the fall of 1923. He was elected to the all-conference basketball team as a center and was the catcher on the varsity baseball team, after playing professionally in the Southwestern League during the summer of 1923. He graduated from Albion in 1924 and played baseball in the Illinois State League that summer.
Retiring in 1940, Dan moved to the suburban Chicago area and became a widely-known golfer, winning the Aurora city golf championship in 1943.
Alpheus Oliphant (A.O.) Fisher graduated in 1916 as valedictorian of his class. He enrolled in college at Warrensburg, participating in athletics and many activities, including the Athenan Literary Society. During the summer of 1920, he became a Founder of Sigma Tau Gamma.
Founder Fisher held a Master of Education degree from the University of Kansas and studied in the graduate schools of Central Missouri and the University of Kansas City.
Retiring after 44 years of teaching in Kansas City schools Founder Fisher made many contributions to the improvement of conditions for teachers in Kansas City, leaving a legacy in which he took considerable pride in.