Beta Theta Pi
|Beta Theta Pi|
|Founded||August 8, 1839
Miami University, (Oxford, Ohio), United States
|Mission statement||Beta Theta Pi is dedicated to developing men of principle for a principled life.|
|Motto||Firmam Consensus Facit / Cooperation Makes Strength|
|Colors||pink and blue|
|Symbol||Dragon, Star, Diamond|
|Flower||Roses of the "June" or "Queen of the Prairie" variety|
|Publication||The Beta Theta Pi|
|Headquarters||5134 Bonham Road
Oxford, Ohio, United States
Beta Theta Pi (ΒΘΠ also "Beta") was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and is one of the oldest social collegiate fraternities in North America. The fraternity currently consists of 127 active chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada. Around 184,000 members have been initiated worldwide and there are currently around 9,000 undergraduate members. Beta Theta Pi is the oldest of the three fraternities that formed the Miami Triad along with Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi.
Students at Miami University at the time of Beta's founding had previously formed two rival literary societies: The Erodelphian and Union Literary Societies. As was somewhat common in the establishment of fraternities, a small group of students broke off from these two rivalrous societies to establish the first Greek chapter west of the Appalachian Mountains in the Miami chapter of Alpha Delta Phi. In a letter that he wrote 4 years after the founding of the Alpha chapter, Pater Knox said that other fraternities being formed possessed "many objectionable features which rendered them liable to be used as engines of evil as well as instruments of good." Knox began to gather members of both the Erodelphian and Union Literary Societies with the goal of creating a society that would embrace the good aspects of the fraternity without the "ingredients of evil." Thus, Beta Theta Pi was founded on August the 8th of 1839 by eight students at Miami University. The group held the first meeting of the fraternity in an upper room of the campus building known as Old Main.
The eight founders were:
- John Reily Knox, 1839
- Samuel Taylor Marshall, 1840
- David Linton, 1839
- James George Smith, 1840
- Charles Henry Hardin, 1841
- John Holt Duncan, 1840
- Michael Clarkson Ryan, 1839
- Thomas Boston Gordon, 1840
In 1879 Beta Theta Pi became the first college fraternity to publish its constitution. The Fraternity continues to guard certain secrets about membership, however. Similar to other fraternities, Beta Theta Pi's code emphasizes fellowship, cultural development, and cooperation across borders.
Men of Principle initiative
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2013)|
In response to a number of institutional difficulties, the Men of Principle initiative was started during the 1998-99 academic year. Three chapters, Nebraska, Georgia and Pennsylvania were used as pilot chapters for the new program. After this first year of piloting, the Men of Principle initiative was officially introduced at the 160th General Convention in Oxford in 1999. Chapters that signed on to the Men of Principle initiative agreed to four non-negotiables:
- A five-person trained and active advisory team
- Alcohol-free recruitment
- Elimination of the rogue “National Test” (also known as “The Shep Test”)
- Commitment to a 100% "hazing-free" pledge program
Since the start of Men of Principle, Beta Theta Pi has seen improvement in the areas of academics and recruitment. Before Men of Principle, the Fraternity’s average chapter GPA was just above a 2.8. Today the Fraternity’s GPA has risen to a 3.17, the highest out of all fraternities. Average chapter size is 67.1 men, compared to 48.9 in 1997. In 1998 there was an average of 1.95 advisors per chapter. Today, an average of 7.0 advisors work with each one of the chapters.
As a result of the Men of Principle initiative, Beta created several leadership development programs and offers them to their undergraduates and alumni. In 1996, before the initiative, Beta sent four undergraduates to a leadership development program. Last year,[when?] over 1600 Betas attended one of the Fraternity's leadership development opportunities.
The fraternity has sent members to the John and Nellie Wooden Institute for Men of Principle, The Peter F. Greiner Leadership College, the Hugh E. Stephenson Jr. Leadership Summit, the Miller Nichols Chapter Presidents Leadership Academy (CPLA), and the Keystone Regional Leadership Conference.
- Brown, James T., ed., Catalogue of Beta Theta Pi, New York: 1917.