Kappa Sigma raises money for scholarship during Lander University Homecoming
Friday, Feb 28, 2020
kappa sigma member serving barbecue
Alumni of Kappa Sigma enjoyed barbecue prepared by the Hey Good Buddy Barbecue Team, of Laurens. Proceeds supported the Mary Kinard Able Scholarship at Lander University. Photo by Deb Nygro.

Celebrating their fortieth reunion, the brothers of Kappa Sigma fraternity sold barbecue plates to tailgaters as part of Lander’s 2020 Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Feb. 22. The funds raised from their cookout will support the Mary Kinard Able Scholarship fund.

The barbecue for the event was provided by Bryan Able ’83. He is a team member of Hey Good Buddy Barbecue, of Laurens, which was named Team of the Year by The Southern Barbecue Network in 2018. The scholarship is named in memory of Able’s first wife, who passed away with breast cancer in 2000. It is awarded annually to rising juniors and seniors from Greenwood, Laurens or Newberry Counties who are majoring in elementary education.

“Mary was one of our little sisters,” said Wes Brand ’84. “She and Bryan got married right out of college, and was a dear friend to all of us.” The scholarship named in her memory is one of several scholarships that are supported by Kappa Sigma alumni.

Another scholarship honors the legacy of Bill Bonds ’81, Kappa Sigma’s first Grandmaster. Bonds later coached football at Johnson County High School in Wrightsville, Ga., and was named National High School Football Coach of the Year in 2000. Bonds passed away in 2009, after a near ten year battle with cancer.

“It was evident at his funeral that he touched hundreds, if not thousands, of lives,” said Mike Craig ’81. “It was a nice tribute to his life, and the young people he influenced.”

For Kappa Sigma alumni, paying it forward is a special way to honor their fraternal bond with one another. Through scholarship, they are able to pay respects to the legacy of those who made an impact on their community while also making college accessible for future Lander University students.

In fact, two of Lander’s largest donors are Kappa Sigma alumni. Last year, Steve Wohlwend ’81 made a generous gift to the university to endow student scholarships. And earlier this year, George Starnes ’81, who is also a trustee emeritus of the Lander University Board of Trustees, generously established an endowed professorship for Lander’s College of Business.

For Tim Wedemeyer ’81, the generosity from Kappa Sigma alumni is an ongoing expression of the values of their organization. “We developed a friendship and level of respect for one another,” said Wedemeyer, “and if we can help honor someone who has left us too early, we’d like to do so.”

Wohlwend added to Wedemeyer’s remarks, highlighting the special, lifelong kinship established forty years ago. “I think it’s unique that the fraternity was formed organically,” said Wohlwend. “There’s a closeness that comes from starting something completely from scratch.”