Often called the most beloved and popular of college fraternity songs, "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" was written in 1911 by Byron D. Stokes (Albion, Class of 1913) and F. Dudleigh Vernor (Albion, Class of 1914). Stokes had written the words while in class one June day that year, and presented them that afternoon to Vernor, who was practicing the piano in a local house, and composed the music at that time. The song has since become a favourite among ballroom orchestras and was used in two movie musicals of the same name, in 1933 and 1946. When asked about the song's inspiration, Stokes replied, "The 'Sweetheart' is the symbol for the spiritual ingredient in brotherhood. It was the Sigma Chi Fraternity itself that inspired the song. I wrote the words not long after my initiation, and the magic of our Ritual with its poetic overtones and undertones was, I suppose, the source of my inspiration". The original musical composition remained on campus until 2007 when it was lost and not recovered.
The song was first sung by Harry Clifford (Albion '11), who later drew the cover for the original sheet music published by Vernor's brother Harry Vernor (Albion '13). The song became a big band hit, has been performed in film and television, and continues to be recognized around the world. Through the years many people have tried to pin the title of "original sweetheart" on many women, however the two most likely candidates are Elsie Munro (Vernor's girlfriend) and Helen Beall Russell, who lived next to the old chapter house. Either way since then the concept of the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi has gained popularity all across the world with the adoption of sweethearts at every chapter and even an international sweetheart.
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