Daniel William Cooper

"ruler of the spirit"

At 25, Daniel Cooper was the most senior of the seven founders. When the new fraternity was founded in 1855, Cooper must have seemed very much like the elder brother to Runkle, Lockwood, and especially to Caldwell, who was 14 at the time. But Cooper was still a relatively young man, and his recognized ability to demonstrate maturity and exercise self-control proved to be valuable to the developing organization. His fraternity brothers looked up to him as much for his keen sense of balance and strong character as they did for his chronological seniority. Accordingly, the brothers elected Cooper as the first Consul of the Alpha Chapter.

All accounts confirm that Cooper was a warm and patient mentor to all of the brothers, and he is credited with forging the main moral and philosophical foundations of the Fraternity.

Runkle paid high tribute to Cooper with this recollection: “To [Cooper] more than to any other man is due the birth and early growth of the kindly and generous spirit of Sigma Chi. It is hard to account for his dominant spirit and his infl uence in that little band [of brothers].”

Cooper continued to look after the personal and spiritual needs of others in his professional life. After leaving college, he entered seminary and became a Presbyterian minister. He served as pastor to several parishes in his home state of Ohio and performed missionary work.

Runkle remarked that “Brother Cooper...though rich in spirit, was poor in worldly goods and his life and work contain a priceless lesson for those of us who think that the end of life is the attainment of material riches and worldly power.”

Brother Cooper wore his original Sigma Phi badge throughout his life. Upon his death, the pin was preserved. Today the newly elected Grand Consul has the honor of being pinned at his installation into office with the Cooper badge.