The Founders

The Stalwart Eight


On November 26, 1909 eight sophomores from the College of the City Of New York appeared at a meeting to decide on a plan for class redemption. Discovering they held many ideals in common, the eight became inspired and a new Fraternity was formed. Two years later Sigma Alpha Mu began to grow and those eight men, Lester Cohen, Hyman Jacobson, Adolph I. Fabis, Samuel Ginsburg, Abram N. Kerner, Jacob Kaplan, Ira N. Lind, David D. Levinson are inscribed in the Fraternity's history. Their stories follow.


David D. Levinson, CCNY 1912, was a most visible Founder, attending the annual New York Founders Banquets and chapter installations in New York. He enjoyed particularly visiting New York area chapters… Read More


Abram N. Kerner, CCNY 1912, regularly attended the annual New York Founders Banquets and other events in the city. Personable and voluble, he enjoyed repartee with fellow fraters and an invitation to a New York alumni club lunch meeting was never ignored. When Founder Ira Lind died… Read More


Adolph Ira Fabis, CCNY 1912, longest-lived of the eight Founders of Sigma Alpha Mu, died in his sleep February 17, 1982, at the age of 92. A major in entomology at City College, he became interested very early in … Read More.


Lester Cole (ne Cohen), CCNY 1912, was a well known student at City College in 1909; he was marshal of the sophomore class (the class of 1912). He was leaderlike and colorful; he was called The Chief. The sophomores had taken the freshmen … Read More.


Founder Hyman I. Jacobson was an early driving force in ΣAM. David Levinson said of that first meeting, "We simply talked it over and proposed to…call it a club. But Hyman Jacobson—clever man, brilliant student—said 'no, we're going to … Read More.


Founder Jacob Kaplan was a native New Yorker whose parents had emigrated from Russia. (He was born in 1891 on the Lower East Side, on Essex Street in a building that is still in use.) When the eight first met in 1909, Kaplan was one of those looking to the future … Read More.


The influence of Founder Ira N. Lind on the Fraternity’s founding and beyond was considerable and lasting. Speaking once about the earliest ΣAM activity, he remarked that if it was in writing it was probably his. He wrote the Creed, which exists today virtually untouched. He was the author of … Read More.


Fra Gaines was a man of character and intellect, bright but unassuming. When he spoke at the ΣAM fiftieth anniversary convention in New York he talked about education, about which all the Founders were passionate. He urged younger fraters never to cease learning and he quoted Newton D. Baker, who said … Read More.