One hundred and 28 years ago today, on March 4, 1892, Brother Stephen Alonzo Jackson entered the Chapter Celestial. Shortly thereafter, Brothers of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity carried him to his final resting place in the Sinking Springs Cemetery in Abingdon, Virginia. They mourned and wept at the loss of their Brother who had been known across two decades as Kappa Sigma’s most influential and trusted leader. What those Brothers did not know is that they were also saying farewell to the Brother whose life would inspire future generations of Brothers as Kappa Sigma’s Visionary across the next 13 decades.
Brother Jackson was initiated into the Zeta Chapter at the University of Virginia in the Fall Term of 1872 and would spend the next 20 years of his life totally devoted to building the Kappa Sigma Fraternity from a struggling Chapter at the University of Virginia to one of the strongest collegiate fraternities the world would come to know.
He served as Kappa Sigma’s first Worthy Grand Master in the 1876-1878 Biennium, and he would serve two additional terms as WGM in 1878-1879 and in 1885-1887. He also served one term as Worthy Grand Procurator from 1883-1885.
He was one of the authors of Kappa Sigma’s Constitution, By-Laws and Rules at the first Grand Conclave in Baltimore, Maryland in 1876, he wrote and perfected Kappa Sigma’s Ritual which was formally introduced at the third Grand Conclave in Abingdon in 1880, and was chiefly responsible for the addition of 25 chapters to the roll of Kappa Sigma Fraternity while serving as an early Fraternity leader and as a member of the Supreme Executive Committee.
At the 1878 Grand Conclave in Richmond, Virginia, Brother Jackson would introduce the concept of the development of the Ritual of the Fraternity to the Brothers in attendance at that historic gathering when he delivered his famous “Apples of Gold” Speech that would echo down 142 years and which would be passed as a “precious heirloom to ages yet unborn”. The spirit of the Fraternity was born with his famous charge:
“May we not rest contentedly until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every college and university in the land.”
From that moment forward, Kappa Sigma had its vision which has unified over 300,000 Brothers on over 400 college and university campuses. It is as embraced as widely today as at any point in Kappa Sigma’s decorated history.
Jackson’s vision remains with all of us today as a guidepost and critical path forward for the Good of the Order and stands as a testimony as to what one man can do. When he joined the Chapter Celestial he was 41 years of age and for 20 years of his life, he gave generously of his time to assure that Kappa Sigma’s future was secure and would flourish for years to come. Brother Jackson’s legacy was celebrated in Abingdon, Virginia in 1992 on the Centennial Anniversary of his death…almost 100 Brothers gathered to remember and celebrate his life. He was inducted into Kappa Sigma’s Inaugural Class of the Kappa Sigma Hall of Honor in 2003. He remains our champion.
Chapters on the Current Roll of Kappa Sigma Fraternity Who Were Founded by or Significantly Influenced by Jackson’s Leadership:
- Zeta (University of Virginia) – 1869
- Eta Prime (Duke University) – 1873
- Mu (Washington & Lee) -1873
- Nu Prime (Virginia Tech) -1874
- Omikron (Emory & Henry College) -1874
- Alpha-Beta (Mercer University) -1875
- Kappa (Vanderbilt University) -1877
- Lambda (University of Tennessee) -1880
- Alpha-Iota (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga) -1882
- Phi (Rhodes College) -1882
- Upsilon (Hampden-Sydney College) -1883
- Tau (University of Texas-Austin) -1884
- Rho Prime (University of North Georgia) -1885
- Chi (Purdue University) -1885
- Epsilon (Centenary College) -1885
- Psi (University of Maine) -1886
- Iota (Southwestern University) -1886
- Gamma (LSU) -1887
- Alpha (Emory University) -1887