Four of the Founders; Emmett Ellis, Leland Thornton Hoback, Edward George Grannert, and William Glenn Parsons, had enlisted and served their country together during the First World War in France. Parsons commented that in founding the Fraternity they wanted to sustain a “sense of service, responsibility and affection for their companions.” These four, together with Allen Ross Nieman, Edward Henry McCune, Carl Nelson Chapman, Buell Wright McDaniel, George Eugene Hartrick, A. Barney Cott, Chiles Edward Hoffman, Rodney Edward Herndon, William Edward Billings, Clarence Willard Salter, Frank H. Gorman, Alpheus Oliphant Fisher, and Daniel Frank Fisher, were the 17 founders of the Fraternity.
When they returned to school in the summer of 1920, the Normal School they knew had been elevated by the Missouri legislature to a 4-year college granting bachelors degrees.
The White Rose is the flower of Sigma Tau Gamma. Its meaning is explained in the ritual. Each chapter traditionally holds an annual White Rose banquet and dance. The chapter’s sweetheart, known as the White Rose Sweetheart is crowned at the dance and serves as the chapter’s official hostess throughout the year.
Believing that a social Fraternity must be dedicated to the highest ideals, founder Edward H. McCune authored a set of Principles. Embraced by our Founders and early members, these Principles have become our guide.
Coat of Arms
The coat of arms was adopted in 1927 and modified in 1954. The symbolism of the coat of arms is explained in the Ritual.The coat of arms has several important components including the crest of 18 links, the Chain of Honor; the helmet of a knight, our mascot; and the Greek letters ΣTΓ.
Azure Blue, White, Red, and Yellow. Our, color azure blue, is primarily represented in the flag. Dark blue, white, red, and yellow are held in our coat of arms.
Sigma Tau Gamma's high ideals and timeless principles are explained fully in our esoteric Ritual that is reserved only for members. But, many public symbols are used to communicate Sigma Tau Gamma's beliefs.
Several of the founders were members of the Irving Literary Society, but they wanted to cut across the boundaries of this and other literary societies to form their new fraternity. They wanted the most desirable men from each to join. On the morning of June 28, 1920, “at an unusually early hour” according to the original minutes, a list containing the names of about thirty men was posted on the college bulletin board by Emmett Ellis with a request to meet that afternoon for what was, to them, an unknown purpose.
According to the minutes, “the notice had the proper effect and, as requested, there appeared a goodly number of men to learn what was in store for them.” Founder Nieman, who had become familiar with fraternities while attending William Jewell College, was the principal organizer of the meeting. He explained the purpose of the meeting and told them what such an organization could mean to the men of the college. The men elected Leland Hoback temporary chairman and Emmett Ellis temporary secretary. They agreed to begin crafting the organization and adjourned until July 7, 1920.
The Founders were accompanied by Dr. Wilson C. Morris, head of the physics and chemistry department, to present their petition to the faculty. Dr. Morris was a Sigma Nu in his college days and his influence was significant and the new Fraternity received recognition. Dr. Morris became the Fraternity’s first honorary member and served the Alpha chapter at Central Missouri as patron, counselor, and advisor until his death in 1947.
In the fall of 1920 a ceremony for initiation of new members was written and the chapter of 17 grew to 31 by its first anniversary in 1921. Founder Edward H. McCune recalled later that, “from the very beginning, Sigma Tau Gamma prospered, both in membership and service. Its challenge to students to live well and promote the spirit of brotherhood was continually being met by those who were seeking membership.”