Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity at KU
Dr. James Naismith was an inventor… he was a coach… and, before that – he was a minister. While at KU, being deeply religious, he often visited Baker University, a Methodist University in nearby Baldwin City, Kansas. At Baker, he heard great things about the local SigEp Chapter on campus. Dr Naismith decided that KU should have its own SigEp Chapter, and he led the effort to make that happen.
In 1923, Dr. Naismith efforts came to fruition, with the founding the Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter at the University of Kansas (“KU SigEp”). Dr. Naismith was a significant force in the Chapter’s development, serving as Chapter Counselor and mentor/advisor for sixteen years, from 1923 until his death in 1939. Shortly prior to his death, he married SigEp’s Housemother, Florence Kincaid.
Members who were interviewed from the 1920's and 1930's remembered Dr. Naismith:
“He was deeply religious”“He listened more than he spoke”“He thought sports were nothing but an avenue to keep young people involved so they could do their studies and relate to their community”“It was really nice having someone with the caliber of Dr. Naismith be so involved … he helped many a SigEp!”
Dr. Naismith is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Lawrence, Kansas — only 1.6 miles away from the fraternity that he founded and loved.