The Iota Lambda chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity at Jacksonville State University has a well recorded history. In 1972, members of two Intramural football teams, The Iron Butterflys and The Forney Gators, combined to form a local fraternity, Tau Kappa Omega. The founding members were: Mike Smith, Allen Blair, John Holyfield, Billy Quinn, Paul Tiller and Mike Goad.
TKO grew and sought membership with a national fraternity. They petitioned Sigma Nu and became a colony. On April 5, 1975 the colony was chartered and initiated by members of the Iota chapter at Samford. Jacksonville State University was now the home of the Iota Lambda Chapter, number 195, of Sigma Nu Fraternity.
In the early days of the chapter, there was a considerable amount of moving. The Ide House was the chapter’s home from the late 70’s until 1987, and is perhaps the most rich with history.
Built in the early Nineteenth century, the house on Pelham Street stood through many major events in the history of Jacksonville and the nation. During the Civil War the house was used as a Confederate hospital, and the basement as a morgue. After the war, it became the city’s first post office. It was the first house in Jacksonville to have indoor plumbing, electricity and a telephone. “Old Boxwood”, was later bought by a business genius by the name of George Ide, who resided there until his death. His son Knox Ide, was a member of the Theta chapter at The University of Alabama (Theta 440, 1919), and offered the house to the Iota Lambda chapter to use as our chapter home. During the chapter’s stay at the Ide house, it was on the Calhoun County tour of homes and was kept as a historical site as well as a chapter house. After the chapter moved out, the house went into disrepair. After failed attempts by the community to save it, the Ide house fell to the wrecking ball in the Fall of 1996. It is now a parking lot for the 1st United Methodist Church.
On the morning of December 7th, 2001, the house located on the corner of Mountain Street and Spring Avenue that had been occupied by the Iota Lambda chapter since 1987 was virtually destroyed by fire. Although the chapter suffered a tragic loss, there were no injuries and the brotherhood continued with the business of being a fraternity at JSU. The house was where many grew up, met best friends, future wives, other brothers, and had great times.
For several years, the chapter occupied a house on Mountain Street. The University eventually purchased the house and surrounding properties in order to build additional university housing and to expand the stadium by the 2010 season. This forced the fraternity to seek a living/gathering place off campus. This created a difficult situation for the fraternity since the location was not conducive to recruitment, nor could the university provide the same security and safety for these students.
In 2014 the fraternity, once again, was able to secure a house located on Mountain Street across from Stadium Towers. Since this period of time, we have seen our active membership grow from 9 active members to over 30 active members and 10 potential candidates. We contribute this increase in membership to the fact that our location is much more in line with what the “college experience” expectation is for incoming students at JSU. We feel that being included in Paul Carpenter Village (“The Row”) will enhance this even more.
The Iota Lambda chapter celebrates its founding and history every April with a Founder’s Day banquet and Alumni/Active Golf tournament. Although we keep a close eye on the future, we continue to look to the past for pride and heritage.
- Yahoo! message board created 2001
- sigmanujsu.org registered 2004
- Facebook Fan Page established 2009