History 1930s

  • 1935:  The Birth of Sigma Chi's Derby Week

    Many people may not realize that the Sigma Chi Derby -- with sorority-wide participation and now hosted by most every Sigma Chi chapter across North America, started at Beta Sigma. 

     

    Consul Ed Stothart, '35, received reports of the 1933 Channingway Derby at the Univ. of Cal.-Berkeley.  The Derby at UC-Berkeley chapter (housed then at Channing Way), included skits by brothers.

     

    Ed planned a Derby with track & field competitions with pledges of all 9 of UT's sororities.  The Derby was held in front of the chapter house on Circle Park; thus called Circle Park Derby.

     

    More than 1,000 people attended the first Derby Day on Nov. 1, 1935, with the highlight:  The selection of the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.  

     

     

    These unidentified photos above are from the 1935 Derby, and appear to be taken inside the Circle Park house.  The first photo from left:  Shortest pledge?; center: the winning sorority?, and right:  The Sweetheart? (Note her regal crown).

     

     

    Coincidently, some Sigma Chis from the Univ. of Georgia attended that first Derby, and took the idea back to their campus.  The Derby Week fun then quickly expanded to many Sigma Chi chapters across North America.

     

    Ed, who later served as Carolina Grand Praetor, is one of Beta Sigma's Order of Constantine members.