Since its founding in 1946, Gamma Sigma, The Georgian Society, Inc. has always done things differently. Our founders were World War II veterans who were a little older than their peers at Rutgers. They’d been halfway around the world and had won a war, and had come to Rutgers thanks to the G.I. Bill. Understandably, these former soldiers didn’t think much of the common practice of hazing in the fraternities at the time. Further, having fought alongside men of different backgrounds, creeds, and cultures, they didn’t think much of discrimination, either. Among our founding members were Jewish men (mainly unheard of at the time), and the following year, 1947, we accepted our first black pledges. One of those pledges went on to become the president of Gamma Sigma two years later in 1949.
But we’ve always been ahead of the curve as far as diversity and acceptance are concerned; in the late 1960s, we had our first openly gay brothers. In 1971, at a time when fraternity participation was at an all-time low among college students, the national fraternity of which we’d become a part agreed to allow us to accept women into our ranks — so we were co-ed a year before Rutgers College. Years later, when fraternity participation had increased and our numbers had swelled, our national demanded we eject our sisters from the organization. Of course, we refused, and ultimately left our national to become an independent fraternity again. Gamma Sigma has evolved over the years from a fraternal organization and today is a coed social organization in which diversity is the cornerstone and strength that fuels our continued growth and strengthens our ties between members and alumni.
The history of Gamma Sigma has been cited in The New York Times, called “A Workshop in Democracy” by The Congressonal Record, and has been formally commended by Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and Eleanor Roosevelt. We continue to be an organization driven by our commitment to each other and our principles. We accept members based strictly on the quality of their character and their commitment to the organization, and we think these criteria have served us well in building a smart, diverse, and robust membership.