Beta Theta Pi’s history is the story of a magnificent movement which, originating in the West, invaded the South, captured the East and in 1879, grasped undisputed leadership of the Greek fraternities.

1850-1900: The Civil War caused the greatest crisis in the history of Beta Theta Pi. The war threatened the life of more than half of the 24 chapters in existence in 1860, with the functioning chapters being reduced by 1864 to those at Miami, Western Reserve, Jefferson, Washington, Indiana Asbury (DePauw), Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash, Hanover, Ohio, Knox, and Indiana. The war threatened the fundamental principle of brotherhood.

1850-1900: By the turn of the century, two important features of Beta Theta Pi had become apparent. The first “Beta character” had already manifested itself in stories such as that of John Holt Duncan and the men of the Michigan chapter who refused to forsake their membership and their badge.

1950-present: With the establishment of the Administrative Office and appointment of an administrative secretary in 1949, the stage was set for spectacular growth and a solid future for Beta Theta Pi and her fraternal colleagues in the years ahead. Almost immediately, however, the Korean War took a tragic toll on the chapters, followed by the emergence of more independent collegians, quick to express themselves over the Vietnam War, often joined by their own faculties. Nonetheless, the Beta spirit endured, grew stronger and, by the end of the 20th century, a renewed commitment to the Beta principles “the Men of Principle initiative” was embraced by Beta Theta Pi, born of necessity and nurtured by yet another evolution of young men who yearn for excellence and thrive on brotherhood.

The Men of Principle Initiative

 “We can look to the future pondering with wide-eyed wonder, but we are here, and it is now, and something must be done.”

Such a concise, compelling quote may do more to explain the impetus for the Men of Principle initiative — and the resulting evolution of Beta Theta Pi over the last 10 years — than any other study, speech, video or personal interview. Interestingly enough, it made its way to an Administrative Office staff member as an email footnote from an energetic, yet frustrated, chapter president.

It was five o’clock in the morning, and he was tired. He was exhausted.

What caused his frustrations is really no mystery. And, at this point — on the 10 year anniversary of the establishment of the Men of Principle initiative — It is really not important. What a young chapter president experienced as he tried to mobilize a group of difficult, uncooperative peers toward a more positive Beta experience, was actually occurring all across North America. It was happening in Beta Theta Pi and in 70+ other inter/national college fraternities across the land, too.

Our Mission
To develop men of principle for a principled life.

Our Vision
Every member will live Beta Theta Pi’s values.

Core Values
To build lasting bonds of friendship and brotherhood, Beta calls for:

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.