Bill Wickham ’58
AWARD-WINNING ALUM HAS HELPED PRESERVE THE HISTORY OF KAPPA SIG
Accomplished Kappa Sigma alum Bill Wickham ’58 has finally slowed down. After 40 years of work and dedication to the Gamma Xi Chapter at Denison and a long legal career, he has been spending his time primarily taking care of his wife, Nancy. From his time as an undergraduate, to his positions internationally, to the awards he was presented, Bill never faltered on his love for Gamma Xi. This distinguished brother’s work, however, leaves an imprint on the fraternity.
As an undergraduate, Bill joined Kappa Sig to find good friends and contribute to the fraternity. He was initiated in 1955 and graduated in 1958. When asked what day he would relieve if he could, he said it was that day in May 1956 when the chapter won the interfraternity song contest with “Honey, Honey, Honey”.
Since graduation, Bill’s participation has only gotten stronger. He served on the Gamma Xi Alumni Board of Trustees in the mid 1960’s and as District Grand Master for the Ohio chapters from 1967 – 1970.
Bill understands the importance of maintaining the history of Kappa Sigma and has incorporated that sentiment into his various alumni roles. In 1962 he was the editor of the 50-year history of Gamma Xi. He was the Assistant to the National Historian from 1968 – 1971. Last, from March of 1988 to October of 2002 he served as the National Historian of Kappa Sigma. This position makes him the most proud to this day.
“We learn from the words of those who have gone before us,” he said. “The Fraternity and the Chapter have proud histories of accomplishment and challenges. We also learn from the achievements and from the mistakes of those who went before us. Written history is also a way to recognize those who significantly contribute to our successes and to thank them for their service.”
He did not stop there. One of Bill’s most meaningful roles was presiding as Acting Ritualist for nine chapter installations from 1970 to 1993. He sees the meaning of ritual in the bonds of fraternity members and believes it is sometimes taken for granted.
“The Ritual is the central core of our being, as a 142-year-old fraternal order,” Bill explained. “It inspires us, guides us, and joins us together so that we can pass its teachings and traditions on to our successors, and in doing so, become better men.”
Alumni participation is something Bill has never lacked, and he encourages others to give the same effort he has. In 1986, Bill compiled an alumni directory for the 75th Anniversary of Gamma Xi. He was the national house corporation commissioner from 1978 to 1983. He coordinated activities of the Atlanta Alumni Chapter of Kappa Sigma from 1980 to 1988, and has frequently contributed articles to The Caduceus of Kappa Sigma since 1957. He believes fellow graduates should keep alumni involvement alive “to pass down the wisdom and traditions of a century-old chapter, and to help provide for its well-being.”
Bill has received awards for his being an outstanding brother in Kappa Sigma. He was awarded the International Stephen Alonzo Jackson Award and the Atlanta Alumni Chapter Man-of-the-Year Award, both in 1993.
“I was very surprised and honored to receive the prestigious Stephen Alonzo Jackson Award. It is presented biennially at Grand Conclaves to the volunteer who has done the most for the Fraternity during the biennium,” he said. “In the 1991-1993 Biennium, among other things, I coordinated the commemoration of the Centennial Jackson Day in early March of 1992 and executed “appearances” of Jackson at both the 1991 and 1993 Grand Conclaves. I was very involved in the Atlanta Alumni Chapter from 1978 to 2002.”
Bill Wickham will be remembered for the legacy he helped preserve, the contributions he gave, and the unwavering belief he had in the Kappa Sigma organization. Even he admitted if he hadn’t been so involved, he would “have a lot more time for other things!” However, by looking back at his accomplishments, there is no doubt we are glad he spent that time making Gamma Xi and Kappa Sigma better.