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The Paddle

One of the most interesting pieces of Beta Delta history is the paddle tradition. Back in the day, Big Brothers would create and gift a wood paddle measuring 36" long to their Little Brothers upon their successful completion of “The Week”. The paddle looked similar to a cricket bat and made of unfinished wood ready for decoration which could be complex or simple depending on the artistic aptitude of its creator.  It typically included Sigma Chi symbols, the recipient’s name, initiation date, sometimes a number (mine was 8), sometimes a list of pledge class names and other meaningful images and text.

Marty Haines ‘63 provided an October 28, 1962 picture of nine new brothers and their paddles that inspired this article. In Marty’s time, paddles were an integral part of becoming a new brother.

But not all brothers received a paddle back then. Tom “Stocks” Stockburger ’74 periodically harangues Big Brother Bill “Skins” Degroot ‘73 about completing this task.  While customized paddles can be purchased on Amazon, Skins states in his defense, “I would not want to go with a cheap commercial product. I’m looking for some good, clear, straight-grain Sitka spruce from which I can harvest my own select, hand-hewn board for the final product. The quest endures.”  What dedication to EXcellence!

Due to the paddle’s connection with hazing, they have not been part of Beta Delta tradition for years. That said, Sigma Chi does not prohibit them as gifts.  For those that have them, they represent a meaningful memory that sweetens in time.

Paddle photos have been received from Doug Moher ‘68, Mike Halligan ‘75, Rich Thompson ‘73, Dennis Bugge ‘69, Ron Short ‘69 and Rex Boller ‘67. Do you still have your paddle? If so, email photos (front and back) in JPG format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. They will be added to The Paddle Gallery which is being created on Beta Delta’s website.                     

By Rich Thompson Beta Delta ‘70 - Montana ‘73

Core Values, Vision, and Mission

Core Values
Sigma Chi’s core values are Friendship, Justice and Learning. Our vision is to become the preeminent collegiate leadership development organization — aligned, focused and living our core values. Our mission is to develop values-based leaders committed to the betterment of character, campus and community.

The fundamental purpose of the Sigma Chi Fraternity is the cultivation, maintenance and promotion of the core values of Friendship, Justice and Learning.

In the pursuit of these high ideals, the Sigma Chi Fraternity is able to offer tremendous value in augmenting the collegiate experience and supporting the lifelong journey of each of its members. We hope to assist brothers in becoming men of character, caring husbands, compassionate fathers and community leaders.