Our Founders

Published on June 28, 2021 in News, Press Releases, Foundation, WPN Housing

Back Row (Left to Right) – Parsons, AO Fisher, McDaniels, Chapman, Ellis, Grannert
Front Row (Left to Right) Hartrick, Hoback, Hoffman, McCune

Written by CEO Emeritus Bill Bernier, Kent State

Our Founders reunited at the 30th, 40th, and 50th anniversary Grand Conclaves. They maintained regular communication with each other and the Fraternity throughout their lives.

Born in 1901, Founder Frank Gorman, Central Missouri, was the youngest of the Founders at 19. Having been born in 1889, Founder Emmett Ellis, Central Missouri, was the oldest at 31. The other 15 Founders were born in the 1890s and all were raised on farms or in small agricultural communities.

One-room schoolhouses were the seats of learning in rural Missouri at the turn of the 20th century. These schools typically offered only the elementary grades. Enrollment in a high school at an often distant larger community required the payment of tuition. Due to the distance involved the student also had to find and pay for room and board in the community. A student’s need to earn his way often caused breaks in his education. Resultantly, many college students were older than is typical today.

When our Founders presented their petition to the faculty for recognition of their Fraternity in 1920, they were grown men, tempered by war and years of hard work.

Perhaps because of their maturity, they immersed themselves in the student activities offered at the college, including intercollegiate sports, theater, and debate. Very few young men went to college at the time. Those who did were well motivated. So, it is not surprising that our Founders were very successful in post-college life.

Ellis became a beloved professor of mathematics. The largest residence hall at the University of Central Missouri is named in his honor. Gorman was the founding dean of the College of Education at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. Founder Carl Chapman, Central Missouri, became a dentist. Founder W.E. Billings, Central Missouri, turned down a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball to become a minister. Founder Edward H. McCune, Central Missouri, became a psychologist and regional supervisor of counseling for the Veterans Administration. 

Most of the Founders lived long enough to witness the dynamic growth and development of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity in the first half-century after the founding.

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ABOUT SIGMA TAU GAMMA FRATERNITY

Founded at the University of Central Missouri on June 28, 1920, Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity celebrated 100 years of brotherhood in 2020. In the last 100 years, the organization has called 197 campuses home and has more than 73,000 initiated members. With a current presence on 75 campuses from coast to coast, our membership includes more than 2,700 undergraduate men. The Headquarters, which is home to the Fraternity, Foundation, and WPN Housing Company, is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit http://sigtau.org for additional information