Sigma Nu's History

Sigma Nu

The Sigma Nu fraternity began in 1868 as a secret order known as the Legion of Honor. The society didn’t publicize its existence until January 1869. Today, the fraternity maintains its original vision: “Excelling with honor.” Sigma Nu’s mission involves creating lasting friendships, promoting well-rounded personal growth, and facilitating the development of ethical leaders in society. Since 1868, the fraternity initiated more than 235,000 members. Its present headquarters are in Lexington, Kentucky, at a location known as “The Rock.”


Sigma Nu traces its roots to the Virginia Military Institute during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. At the time, many young men attending the school were subject to physically abusive hazing rituals. The formation of the honor-focused fraternity was a departure from the norm of the era. Unlike some fraternities, Sigma Nu is proud of its anti-hazing values and maintains a strong stance against hazing rituals.

Sigma Nu Symbols

The fraternity’s motto, “love, honor, truth,” captures its commitment to honor and ethics. The colors black, white, and gold represent confidence, fidelity, and respect. Among its many symbols, the serpent found on many branded items reflects serenity. Other common cyphers associated with the fraternity include the rock for strength, the sword as a representation of knights, the Bible for knowledge, and the rose for purity. Sigma Nu’s badge features the French Legion of Honor’s white cross with Greek letters and a serpent in the center. 

Famous Sigma Nu’s

Sigma Nu initiates go on to many diverse walks of life. Actors Harrison Ford and Paul Rudd are Sigma Nu alumni as are many state government officials, including former press secretary Jody Powell and Clarence M. Kelly, the second director of the FBI. Eli Manning and Stan Jones are sports professionals with a history in Sigma Nu. 

LEAD Program

The LEAD (Leadership, Ethics, Achievement, and Development) Program is a well-known leadership development program available for Sigma Nu members. Designed with four distinct phases, the program focuses on engaged learning and skill development that will help young men become ethical leaders in their communities.

The four stages are: 

Phase I: The Way of Honor

Phase II: The Life of Love

Phase III: The Light of Truth

Phase IV: The End… The Beginning

The phases match the college journey students take as fraternity candidates during their first year to graduation. 

Get your Sigma Nu custom-created and officially licensed gear from Houndstooth Press to represent your fraternity year round. 




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