The work of the Monuments and Memorials Commission (originally the Runkle Monument Commission) began in 1921. Since then, the Commission has always adhered faithfully to its mission – to perpetuate our glorious heritage symbolized by Sigma Chi’s beautiful monuments and memorials.
Along with the huge undertaking of erecting monuments to the Seven Founders came our similar challenge of honoring others from our past, including Harry St. John Dixon, VIRGINIA Constantine Chapter, 1861; John S. McMilin, DEPAUW 1876; and Joseph Cookman Nate, ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 1890 who have all carved an indelible place in our history. The Constantine Memorial signifies survival of our fledgling Fraternity during the Civil War, an extraordinarily trying time in American history. Of simple but strong origin is the monument memorializing the all-too-short life of Samuel Clark, MIAMI (OHIO) 1858, the first Sig brother to enter the Chapter Eternal. Finally, we are indeed fortunate to have the Founding Site in Oxford, Ohio, and the Omicron Omicron Museum at Sigma Chi’s J. Dwight Peterson International Headquarters in Evanston, Ill.
Each year, a significant number of brothers make the pilgrimage to our Founding Site, the place of our beginning on June 28, 1855. A major goal of the Monuments and Memorials Commission is to make the Founding Site more easily accessible to our brothers and guests who come to Oxford. Touring this place is a meaningful experience and we urge all Sigma Chis to visit this significant piece of the Fraternity’s history. Please return every chance you get.
We must never lose sight of the need for renewal – it is a constant. Despite their stone construction, all of our monuments are, to varying degrees, subject to the ravages of time. In recent years, substantial improvements were made to several of our sites: the Omicron Omicron Museum at Headquarters added a special display dedicated to all Order of Constantine Sigs; the Headquarters building itself received significant upgrading; a major renovation to the exterior of our Founding Site restored its appearance to what it looked like at the time of our founding; and the crumbling McMilin Monument sustained a spectacular restoration. These actions are only the beginning of our plans to preserve, protect and make more viable these jewels that represent the core of our birth and the shaping of our very soul. Staying on top of the renewal of our monuments and memorials is absolutely vital to the preservation of our past.
We have an inescapable responsibility to protect and perpetuate our heritage as we continue our journey into future years. Other important monuments and memorials will emerge, and they should be brought under the watchful eye of the Fraternity through this Commission.
George L. Hooper, KANSAS STATE 1960
Monuments & Memorials Commission Chair Warden, 2007-2022