Brother Louis S. Zamperini (Delta-Eta, University of Southern California, ’46) joined the Chapter Celestial on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, at age 97. While attending the University of Southern California, Brother Zamperini proudly represented the U.S. in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Prior to graduating, he went on to set a national collegiate record for the mile, which he held for 15 years. Following his graduation from USC, he planned on continuing his athletics and competing in the 1940 Olympic Games, where he was favored to win, but instead chose to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces to serve his country in World War II.
While on a reconnaissance mission, Brother Zamperini’s aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean where he and others spent 47 days adrift on an inflatable raft before being captured by the Japanese Navy when they reached the Marshall Islands. Brother Zamperini was a prisoner of war for more than two years, during which time he was beaten and tortured in prison camps. In 1998 Brother Zamperini returned to Japan to run a leg of the Olympic Torch relay at the Winter Olympics.
Kappa Sigma awarded the Golden Heart Award to Brother Zamperini at the 68th Grand Conclave in 2011 for courage and bravery throughout life. Brother Zamperini was the 15th recipient of the award and addressed the Brothers and guests in attendance.
Brother Zamperini was the inspiration for Lauren Hillenbrand’s book, “Unbroken,” which has been adapted into a film and was directed by Angelina Jolie. The movie is set for release in the U.S. on December 25, 2014. Brother Zamperini was also set to be the Grand Marshall for the 2015 Rose Parade.
Brother Zamperini was a proud Kappa Sigma for 68 years, and Kappa Sigma was privileged to call him a Brother.
Several Alumni Brothers have made donations to the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund to establish the Louis Zamperini Scholarship-Leadership Award, in honor of Brother Zamperini. To make a contribution in honor of Brother Zamperini, please visit SLA.kappasigmadonate.org.