Colby College was the first university in New England to admit female students. A need for companionship spurred the formation of many early sororities around the country, and the same was true for Sigma Kappa. Founded in Maine in 1874 by five women, Sigma Kappa has over 152,000 members around the world today.
Mary Caffrey Low was the only female student at the college until 1873. The four young women who joined her there that year would accompany her as the founding members for Sigma Kappa. Founded as both a literary and social society, Sigma Kappa drew up its own constitution and bylaws. The school approved the formation in November of 1874, and the organization grew from there.
Margaret Chase Smith was a Sigma Kappa. She was the first female US senator, the first female to serve in both houses of Congress, and the first female representative from Maine. Physician/astronaut Dr. Margaret Rhea Seddon, LPGA golfers Nancy Lopez and Angela Stanford, and the first Indian American, Miss America Nina Davaluri, are Sigma Kappas.
The Mission and Symbols of Sigma Kappa
Sigma Kappa’s motto is “one heart, one way.” The society believes in striving for intellectual, spiritual, and social growth bound by a societal promise. In return, Sigma Kappa provides members with a network of sisters and a forum for growth and development.
On campus, individuals wearing lavender and maroon may be members of Sigma Kappa. The violet is the official flower. The dove was chosen as the official symbol in 1984, and the heart embodies the nature of the organization’s motto. Sigma Kappas wear pearls as the official jewel.
Sigma Kappa supports several nationwide philanthropies, including the Sigma Kappa Foundation. For over 50 years, the foundation has supported the goals of Sigma Kappa, providing financial resources for scholarships and leadership activities as well as specific philanthropic goals within the community. One initiative, the Ultra Violet Campaign, is designed to help individual collegiate and alumni chapters promote and raise funds for future philanthropic goals.
In 1954, Sigma Kappa began supporting the study of aging and the elderly community. Today, the organization also focuses on illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters regularly serve in community outreach and companionship roles to help local aging populations. Every year, the sorority encourages individuals to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Members strive to generate $200,000 in fundraising.
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