Knight Commanders

William Sprigg Hamilton

14th Knight Commander

Alpha, Lambda–Washington & Lee University, University of Virginia, 1886

“The Grand Old Man of KA” was born in 1867 in Savannah, Georgia.  He was initiated on September 25, 1886, by Alpha and then transferred to Lambda in 1888.  He was associate editor of the Journal from 1889 to 1891, edited five annual catalogues, served on the Electoral  Commission from 1920 to 1934 when it was abolished, and finally was selected to fill S.Z. Ammen’s post as Knight Commander on November 1, 1897, when the Practical Founder became too ill to continue.  He helped revise the 1892 and 1924 editions of the ritual and was elected to the Council of Honor in 1893, the same year he served as the Convention’s presiding officer.  He also is credited with designing the general officers’ and chapter officers’ jewels.  Hamilton helped organized Alpha Zeta, Beta Beta, and Beta Upsilon and founded Alpha Rho and Beta Chi, earning him the accolade “The Father of West Virginia Kappa Alpha.”  He served as president of the Wheeling, West Virginia, Alumni Chapter and was presented with the James Ward Wood Province’s first Provincial Cross upon institution of its Court of Honor.  Hamiliton won the Essay Medal at the 1889 Convention, and his poems “Knights of Old K A” and “Our Hearts Are Light” were set to music and are included among the Order’s official songs.  Perhaps his greatest written legacy, however was his painstaking work as the Order’s official archivist.  He left a law practice to become a dental surgeon and founded the Psi Omega Dental Fraternity.  Hamilton died on February 19, 1954, and was buried next to the grave of S.Z. Ammen,  in Lexington, Virginia.