Beta Theta Pi
|Beta Theta Pi|
|Founded||August 8, 1839
Miami University, (Oxford, Ohio)
|Mission statement||Beta Theta Pi is dedicated to developing men of principle for a principled life.|
|Motto||Firman Consensus Facit / Cooperation Makes Strength|
|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
|Homepage||Beta Theta Pi Fraternity Website|
Beta Theta Pi (ΒΘΠ), is one of the oldest social collegiate fraternities in North America. It was founded in 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA. The fraternity currently consists of 122 active chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada. Over 190,000 members have been initiated worldwide, with approximately 135,000 living initiated members. There are currently more than 8,000 undergraduate members. Beta Theta Pi is one of three major fraternities that, collectively, form a group called the Miami Triad due to their common founding at Miami University. Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi are the other members.
The fraternity's administrative office is located at 5134 Bonham Road, Oxford, Ohio.
|“||At nine o'clock on the evening of the eighth day of the eighth month of the year 1839, eight earnest young men, all students at Miami University, held the first meeting of Beta Theta Pi in the Hall of the Union Literary Society, an upper room in the old college building (known as "Old Main.")
The eight founders in the order in which their names appear in the minutes were:
"of ever honored memory....."
The purpose of Beta Theta Pi was laid out publicly in 1879, when Beta Theta Pi became the first college fraternity to publish its constitution. The Fraternity continues to guard certain secrets about membership which are reserved for its members; however, it offers wide knowledge of the objects and aspirations of Beta Theta Pi. The Code of Beta Theta Pi lays out the objects of the Fraternity as follows:
|“||It shall be constituted as hereinafter provided and shall have for its objects, the promotion of the moral and social culture of its members, the establishment of confidence and friendly relations among the universities and colleges of the United States and Canada, in securing unity of action and sympathy in matters of common interest among them, and the building up of a fraternity that recognizes mutual assistance in the honorable labors and aspirations of life, devotion to the cultivation of the intellect, unsullied friendship, and unfaltering fidelity as objects worthy of the highest aim and purpose of associated effort.||”|
-The Code of Beta Theta Pi, Article 1, Section 2
The fraternity is guided by its mission statement, vision and 5 Core Values.
Mission Statement: To develop men of principle for a principled life.
Vision: Every member will live Beta Theta Pi's values.
The 5 Core Values:
Mutual Assistance-Betas believe that men are mutually obligated to help others in the honorable labors and aspirations of life.
Intellectual Growth-Betas are devoted to continually cultivating their minds, including high standards of academic achievement.
Trust-Betas develop absolute faith and confidence in one another by being true to themselves and others.
Responsible Conduct-Betas choose to act responsibly, weighing the consequences of their actions on themselves and those around them.
Integrity-Betas preserve their character by doing what is morally right and demanding the same from their brothers.
Men of Principle Initiative 
In the early-to-mid-1990s, Beta Theta Pi was struggling from all angles in terms of academics, recruitment, risk management, housing infrastructure, alumni involvement, institutional support, public relations, etc. In August 1996, E.B. Wilson, St. Lawrence ’53, chairman of the board for St. Lawrence University, wrote a “Letter to the Editor” challenging Beta’s leadership to be more active in the identification of Beta’s true mission and vision, and work aggressively toward actually implementing policies and programs to achieve both.
“I would strongly urge that Beta Theta Pi take a position of fraternal leadership with the publicly stated objective of reforming the Greek presence in the academic community,” noted Wilson. He advised that Beta should pursue at least five initial goals:
1. Define in contemporary language the base case for membership in a Greek society
2. Make academic performance an explicit commitment and find ways to demonstrate that membership in a Greek society enhances academic achievement
3. Establish and self-enforce a code of conduct which makes the Greek societies the paradigm of responsible social behavior
4. Build a program that encourages broad-based opportunity for leadership training, within the Fraternity and in service to the community at large
5. Connect these attributes of Greek membership to the outcomes of professional careers and in lifelong participation in a global society as an engaged citizen.
With the help of the suggestions from Wilson, the fraternity decided that changes were necessary. Fraternity leadership went through a year long strategic planning process to decide its next steps. What resulted was the Men of Principle initiative. During the 1998-99 academic year, three chapters, Nebraska, Georgia and Pennsylvania were used at 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.
Eventually, more and more chapters signed on and embraced the tenets and expectations of the Men of Principle initiative, which were essentially nothing more than a contemporary restatement of the Fraternity’s founding principles, obligations and public objects of the 1800s. Chapters that signed-on to the Men of Principle initiative agreed to four non-negotiables:
1. A five-person trained and active advisory team
2. Alcohol-free recruitment
3. Elimination of the rogue “National Test” (also known as “The Shep Test”)
4. Commitment to a 100% hazing-free pledge program
Since the start of Men of Principle, Beta Theta Pi has seen dramatic improvement in the areas of academics, risk management, chapter size and volunteerism. 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.
Leadership Programs 
As a result of the Men of Principle initiative, Beta created the following 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, over 1600 Betas attended one of the Fraternity's leadership development opportunities.
The Wooden Institute 
The award-winning John and Nellie Wooden Institute for Men of Principle is an opportunity for initiated Betas that focuses on the ritual of Beta Theta Pi and becoming a better leader. The Wooden Institute allows Betas to interact with brothers and Friends of Beta from across North America. Participants share ideas, dissect Fraternity ritual, partake in challenging activities that focus on leadership skills, learn more about the history of Beta Theta Pi and reflect on the Fraternity’s heritage.
Leadership College 
The Peter F. Greiner Leadership College provides leadership and personal development training and education for undergraduate members of Beta Theta Pi. Conducted during the Fraternity's General Convention, the Leadership College curriculum aims to provide participants with time-tested concepts and skills that can be put to use in college and beyond.
Leadership Summit 
The award-winning Hugh E. Stephenson Jr. Leadership Summit provides an opportunity for all district chiefs, assistant district chiefs and regional directors to meet annually to focus on the future of Beta Theta Pi.
Thanks to the generosity of James J. Ellis, Missouri ’55, and his wife Van, the Beta Theta Pi Foundation is able to provide this educational opportunity. The curriculum will include activities with an emphasis on facilitation techniques, methods of recruiting and assisting volunteers and strategies for working effectively with university students. Participants will be given training and practice in utilizing all available resources of the Fraternity.
The Presidents Academy 
The award-winning Miller Nichols Chapter Presidents Leadership Academy (CPLA) provides an opportunity for all chapter and colony presidents to visit the Fraternity's founding site in Oxford, Ohio. What follows is three days of intense leadership training and networking with other undergraduate presidents. This program concentrates on personal and chapter leadership.
Presidents learn to become more effective leaders, develop personal officer goals and design a framework for chapter success. The curriculum also includes reviewing Standard Chapter Operating Expectations and networking with top university professionals, General Fraternity volunteers and Administrative Office staff.
The Presidents Academy was named and endowed by the Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation in memory of Miller Nichols, Kansas '33.
This program received the HRH Fellow for Educational Program Development Award from the Fraternity Executives Association (2005), the Most Outstanding Use of a Foundation Grant Award from the North-American Interfraternity Conference (2005) and the Excellence in Educational Programming Award from the Association of Fraternity Advisors (2006).
Keystone Conferences 
Keystone Regional Leadership Conference is a regional education experience focusing on chapter officer development, principled leadership and volunteer training. 2009 marked the final phase of Keystone's expansion as it now services all chapters of the Fraternity. Currently, the fraternity offers six Keystone programs. The session a chapter attends is based on their location.
The conference is divided primarily between officers attending their officer tracks and meetings with the chapter's executive team. During the individual officer tracks, officers learn how to be effective in the position and how to address any problems that may occur. During the executive team meetings, officers discuss with their chapter about goals for their chapter and how they can lead the chapter together. Each chapter sends the following eight officers: president, vice president, treasurer, risk manager, recruitment chair, pledge educator, alumni relations chair and ritual chair.
Famous Betas 
- Brown, James T., ed., Catalogue of Beta Theta Pi, New York: 1917.