The Beta Theta Pi – Winter 2021

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BETA the beta theta pi magazine

WINTER 2021 when life has other plans | politically speaking | love in lubbock

THE CANNABIS CONUNDRUM Canada legalized cannabis in 2018 and two-thirds of Americans support doing so today. Yet, mixed messages and inconsistent laws continue to leave campuses everywhere in a haze.

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contents inside this issue


DEPARTMENTS 04 | Archives

historical throwback

06 | The Inbox

unfiltered feedback

08 | Newsworthy fraternity updates

12 | Alumni News

lifelong brotherhood

26 | Volunteer Vacancies making a difference

37 | Cut and Polished

refining men of principle

38 | Campus Life student highlights

48 | Chapter Eternal in loving memory

50 | Beta Eponyms worldwide tributes

BETA the beta theta pi magazine


What Good are Fraternities Anyway? New research suggests fraternity men have a leg up on their unaffiliated peers in areas of student engagement, learning and development, and satisfaction with the college experience.

On the Cover WINTER 2021 when life has other plans | politically speaking | love in lubbock

THE CANNABIS CONUNDRUM Canada legalized cannabis in 2018 and two-thirds of Americans support doing so today. Yet, mixed messages and inconsistent laws continue to leave campuses everywhere in a haze.

Today’s students are asked to navigate mixed messages on cannabis use with inconsistent laws and policies.

The Beta Theta Pi Magazine The oldest continuously published college fraternity magazine, The Beta Theta Pi was founded on December 15, 1872, by Charles Duy Walker, VMI 1869.

Publication Schedule Issue Winter Spring Fall

Deadline Jan. 15 April 15 Oct. 15


When Life Has Other Plans A world-renowned spine surgeon, Rex Marco's life turned upside-down following a tragic mountain bike accident.

Mail Date Feb. 15 May 15 Nov. 15

Who Receives the Beta Magazine? All Beta undergraduates and parents, current and former volunteers, Foundation donors, and anyone who requests to receive it in print. Update your subscription and contact info at, 800.800.BETA or


Politically Speaking In the 1840 anniversary address of Beta's founding, John Reily Knox, Miami 1839, rejected partisanship having any place in the Fraternity. Why then do some Betas feel it is acceptable today?

How Does One Get Published? Content submissions and high resolution photos can be sent to or: Beta Theta Pi Administrative Office 5134 Bonham Road Oxford, OH 45056

While space constraints make it difficult to include all submissions, a fair evaluation process is exercised to publish a variety of unique content.

Want Instant Access to a Past Issue? All past issues since 1872 can be accessed in Beta’s digital archive:

The Beta Theta Pi, (USPS 052-000),

official magazine of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, is owned by the Fraternity, edited and published under the direction and control of its Board of Trustees, published winter, spring and fall for a $30 one-time, pre-paid subscription. Standard non-profit class postage paid at Oxford, Ohio, and additional points of entry. Canada Post International Publications Mail (Canadian Distribution) Sales Agreement No. 0397474. Copyright Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. Produced in the USA.

Photo: Alexander Giang

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The Cannabis Conundrum

Canada legalized cannabis in 2018 and two-thirds of Americans support doing so today. Yet, mixed messages and inconsistent laws continue to leave campuses everywhere in a haze. CONTENTS



Love in Lubbock A century-old lavaliere connects a Texas Tech brother and his Beta Sweetheart to their familial and fraternal ancestors.

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Spring Product Guide



Take a look at the top Beta products of the quarter, including gifts for the class of 2021, care packages for your favorite undergraduate Beta, and other essential items perfect for men of principle everywhere.

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archives historical throwback One of the Fraternity’s oldest and most celebrated love stories is that between Pater John Reily Knox, Miami 1839, and his wife, Isabel, with whom he celebrated more than 50 years of marriage. Today, the Beta Theta Pi Museum in Oxford houses two symbols of the couple’s enduring affections – the original 1895 John Reily Knox Loving Cup presented on their Golden (50th) Wedding Anniversary and this circular “Spiral Valentine,” which Knox wrote to his then future wife in the early 1840s. The Fraternity is forever grateful to the tens of thousands of Beta Sweethearts who, like Isabel, have pushed Beta Theta Pi and its men to greatness. See "Love in Lubbock" on page 44 to read about another Beta brother, his bride and the discovery of a special lavaliere that has now been passed down through the generations.

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Believe we as our Fathers say, Birds choose their constant mates today, And still does through the coming year, Their faith and truth and love appear. Now like the bird, I’ve chose a mate, To cheer me in my lonely state; With her to love, and laugh, and play, And pass the merry hours away, Of winter’s eve, and summer’s day. Tis thou, sweet girl, has wrought the spell, And I’m thy captive, Isabelle. As I am true to thee and thine, And as I keep this vow of mine, So help me good St. Valentine. – To Isabel from Reily

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alking about drugs and alcohol is never easy when it comes to young men who are developing both physically and mentally. Their curiosity and predisposition toward adventure can embolden stubbornness when lectured by finger-waggers. It's an even narrower tightrope to walk for a college fraternity given the stereotype, not to mention data that suggests fraternity and sorority members engage in higher risk behaviors than their non-Greek counterparts. Yet, ignoring conversations on matters of consequence doesn't make problems go away. It just buries them and often leads to other deceptive and destructive behaviors.

Martin Cobb, Eastern Kentucky ’96

Creative Director

Sarah Shepherd

Managing Editor | Graphic Designer Mike Roupas, Iowa ’10

Director of Media Relations | Senior Writer

Justin Warren, SMU ’10

Publication Printer

Royle Printing Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

To be sure, most of this magazine's readership are intellectually mature and may have informed opinions on cannabis. That doesn't mean everyone is comfortable (with the Fraternity) talking about it. We respect that perspective and will humbly accept any challenges that result.


Editor | Director of Communication

From my own personal observation, the disparity of approaches toward the research and regulation of alcohol versus cannabis is profound. For someone who grew up on a tobacco farm and enjoys red wine and an occasional Kentucky bourbon, the unequal treatment has certainly been confusing – compounded even further when considering personal freedoms, tax implications and a whole host of issues related to criminality.


foreword editor’s note

With that thought in mind, and recognizing a growing predicament as it relates to conflicts in federal, state and local cannabis laws, The Beta Theta Pi explores in this winter issue the history of marijuana in North America. How we've arrived at a point of legalization in Canada and two-thirds of Americans' support – yet it remains illegal federally – is eye-opening.

"Ignoring conversations on matters of consequence doesn't make problems go away. It just buries them and often leads to other deceptive and destructive behaviors."

What we do hope to do is provide a thoughtful analysis of the issue, recognizing it affects Betas young and old across North America. As you'll see, there's a patchwork of conditions for a substance that continues to increase in usage both medically and personally. For that, we're all big boys and girls and reasoned enough to explore a topic with implications on our members, despite the sensitivity. Maybe we'll learn something new along the way, too. Sincerely and yours in ___kai___,

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magazinefeedback “Thank you for the

great article on Prime Minister Turner. The Canadian Betas really appreciate it. Yours in _kai_,” — Scott Falconer, Western Ontario ’82

“I applaud the


Fraternity’s establishment of the Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I recognize such bodies are often created in the ‘heat’ of an issue and later fade away when it is superseded by some other pressing issue of the day. I hope that is not the fate of this one. This is an ambitious undertaking, to be sure. I’m proud to be a member of a fraternity honest enough to take on the task.” — David Piester, Nebraska ’69


“The openness and head-on way you handled the spectrum of opinions regarding the Josh Owens story was incredible. The courage to open the inbox with transparency from all sides, and fairness to go back to the subject to get his approval, spoke to the high integrity of the organization. And I love the steps the Fraternity is taking to lead the charge for racial justice with real and tangible actions. These are leading cultural issues we can’t ignore and still be relevant. I am damn proud of how they were addressed.” — Mark Myers, Eastern Kentucky ’90

the inbox unfiltered feedback Share your thoughts with Beta’s editorial team at

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“Discouraging to see

all the political correctness, diversity and inclusiveness emphasis at National. This is a social fraternity with each chapter free to choose who they want to pledge and associate with. Beta should not be an outpost of the liberal political agenda. I feel this leftward turn will hurt recruiting in the many conservative regions.” — Bill Ford, M.D., Mississippi ’70

“This small donation is

unreflective of the large amount of pride I have in how Beta has taken hold of the toughest issues our nation has faced. And owned it. Many of the battles to advance American ideals of equality and social justice

have been lonely ones over the decades. I don’t know. Maybe it was George Floyd. Maybe it was an era of divisiveness and incivility which has mercifully ended. What I do know is that the fraternity I love caught up with those issues and has institutionalized decency, very much in the spirit of grand Beta Americans like Dick Lugar. Your goal was to put a time stamp on the sentiments of 2020. You’ve accomplished it well. Truly in ___kai___,” — Avery Friedman, Louisville ’68

“Dr. Melissa Shivers:

Thank you for volunteering to serve Beta’s diversity commission. I was moved by your phrasing of ‘conviction not compliance.’ As a retired engineer from P&G, I saw how compliance creates recognized groups with power struggles and clicks. It elevates some groups over others. It does not lead to one team. This model would be a downfall for Greek society. Please continue to raise your voice for conviction, empathy and enrichment by embracing all walks of life. I want to emphasize the last point. I came from a lower income Irish-Italian immigrant based family. I was the second person in my extended family to complete a four-year degree. My dad was the first. Working for two Fortune 100 companies during my 36 years was an amazing step forward. The highlight was getting to know my talented and diverse

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storyupdate set of coworkers who came from every walk of life and practically every country in the world. I miss seeing these people on a daily basis. My life was enriched through working with them, socializing with them and getting to know their stories.” — Hugh O’Donnell, Penn State ’78

”Thank you for the

”Helping individual

“Wow. You have connected an unknown dot in the history of Beta Theta Pi, Brother Stubbs. Federal war records confirm Jensen (above) was indeed co-pilot of that mission which ended in the death of 10 soldiers, including Graves. Jensen was awarded the Silver Star for his heroism.” —The Beta Theta Pi

havingmyback “As a Black male who is a brother and volunteer

of this fraternity, I’ve experienced a litany of emotions over the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I have cycled through anger, disappointment, frustration and fear on a far too regular basis, and while I have reached the point of exhaustion, it feels like the world gives us something new to be furious about. Today’s Facebook post from MY fraternity surprised me because it presented solidarity and support from my brotherhood in a way I didn’t expect but should have known would come. As a man of color, it is too easy to feel alone when addressing these issues, yet this post is a supportive reminder of how our appreciation of the Beta brotherhood extends to caring for one another, even along lines that may not be common such as race or ethnicity. I respect this commitment as a higher obligation for the General Fraternity, but also as an expression of ‘heart to heart’ among brothers. Thank you for this.” — Rod Kelley, Florida State ’14

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undyingloyalty “One of your fraternity members has passed away and is buried at our cemetery. His name is William Stoddart, Kansas ’63. I am in the process of designing Bill and his wife Martha’s grave markers. Martha would like permission to use the Beta Theta Pi coat of arms on the marker.” — Nancy Wetmore, Memorial Park, Oklahoma City

“Hi, Nancy. What a great idea. We are happy to help, and it’s no problem to use Beta’s coat of arms in this manner. See the attached high-resolution files, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any problems. Please extend our sincere condolences to Martha on the loss of her beloved Beta husband.” — Martin Cobb, Editor and Director of Communication, Beta Theta Pi

“Per the fall magazine’s eponym feature on UVA’s first mascot, ‘Beta,’ there is a follow-on story of note. His successor was a mixed breed black and white pup named ‘Seal.’ He earned his immortality by sidling across the gridiron and lifting a leg on a visiting team’s cheerleader megaphone. Seal died in 1953 so, in the spirit of Beta’s sendoff in 1939 that attracted 1,000 mourners, Grice Whiteley ’53, a Beta who captained the boxing team, organized a farewell that was patterned after Beta’s. It attracted a whopping 2,000 of the bereft and curious!”


chapters is a great show of brotherhood from the Administrative Office and is a great example of how contributing to the Foundation can help today’s undergraduates.” — Jim Engledow, Wabash ’78

familiar about the Vietnam War Memorial tribute to Medal of Honor recipient Terry Graves, Miami ’67, on page 4 of the fall magazine. On February 16, 1968, my pledge class president Paul Jensen, North Carolina ’66, also died while piloting a helicopter in an evacuation mission of fellow soldiers. Could it be that Brother Jensen was trying to save Brother Graves?” — Stan Stubbs, North Carolina ’66 THE INBOX

COVID Relief Scholarship! It came as a huge help after not being able to work for a month and a half.” — Christian Sam, Florida State ’22

“Something sounds

— David Bowes, Virginia ’56

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newsworthy fraternity updates Fall Recruitment Results

As initial recruitment data was shared in the fall magazine with results through mid-October, final chapter reporting proved a virtual-heavy college experience was a true test of the Fraternity’s resilience. One hundred chapters secured fall pledge classes to continue the Beta tradition on their campuses. Typically recruiting around 2,350 new members, they locked in 1,617 men of principle to sustain the brotherhood. On average, the 100 chapters that signed new member classes last fall recruited 19% fewer men year over year, while Fraternity membership overall is down 31.7% since 26 chapters that traditionally recruit in the fall chose instead to focus on the spring term. Thirteen others routinely recruit on a deferred basis.

Beta Disbands at the University of Houston

Despite the dedicated efforts of undergraduates, alumni, the university and the General Fraternity, Beta’s refounded chapter at the University of Houston was disbanded on December 16 due to sustainability issues. Multiple hurricane and tropical storm disruptions, in combination with COVID-19 implications, compromised the brotherhood so critical to a chapter’s cohesiveness. The four remaining undergraduate members formally voiced their support for the Fraternity’s decision despite their own natural disappointment.

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The Business of the Fraternity

Given Beta’s canceled 181st General Convention due to COVID-19, a special legislative session was called to review charter petitions and elect Trustees. On January 17, delegates assembled via Zoom video conference and granted four charters and elected four Trustees for three-year terms: • Arizona State – Delta Tau Chapter; founded January 14, 1977. • Butler – Alpha Psi Chapter; founded March 28, 1878. • Sacred Heart – Theta Beta Chapter • Texas Tech – Delta Mu Chapter; founded February 21, 1970. • General Fraternity President Tom Cassady, Cincinnati ’76 • Vice President Justin Rutherford, Northwestern ’00 • Vice President Nick Sexton, Eastern Kentucky ’11 • Vice President Joel Stern, UC Riverside ’94

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betaevents April 2021

21 Foundation Giving Day Challenge Virtual 23 Spring Board of Trustees Meeting Virtual

May 2021

15 Spring Beta Magazine Published

June 2021

5-9 Wooden Institute Session No. 1

Sorority Women Ascend to Highest Levels of U.S. Government

Shelley Moore Capito, Kappa Kappa Gamma, daughter of former West Virginia Governor Arch Moore, West Virginia ’51, was reelected to the Senate on November 3. With six prominent sorority women in the Senate, 25 were elected to the House of Representatives. Twenty-six fraternity men are now represented in the Senate and 86 in the House. Read more on page 12 about Beta brothers’ election results.

Federal Drug Bust

In December, federal authorities announced an extensive drug ring operation linking three universities: UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke and Appalachian State. Twenty-one individuals were charged, including four members of three fraternities. A 2019 Beta graduate from UNC pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and will be sentenced in March. University and fraternity investigations are ongoing.

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AFA Honors Friends of Beta

During this year’s Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting, Claire Dixon, Alpha Chi Omega, was named AFA Foundation Volunteer of the Year. Dixon joined the Beta staff in 2018 and was recently named director of leadership and education. Other Friends of Beta were also honored: 1) Chris Graham, Florida State Incoming AFA President 2) Dr. Emily Perlow, WPI Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award 3) Dr. Melissa Shivers, Ohio State Incoming AFA Board Member 4) Josh Welch, Georgia Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award 5) Dr. Christina Witkowicki, Northeastern, Maryland, George Washington Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award

August 2021

5-8 182nd General Convention Oxford, Ohio 13-14 Washington State 100th Anniv. Pullman, Wash. 19 54th Annual Northeast Ohio Beta Steakout Canton, Ohio

November 2021

5-7 Louisville 50th Anniversary Louisville, Ky. 6 Truman State 25th Anniversary Kirksville, Mo.


Greeks Elected to 117th Congress

26-30 Wooden Institute Session No. 3 NEWSWORTHY

Fall 2020 marked two historical moments for sorority women across America. Amy Coney Barrett, Kappa Delta from Rhodes College, was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, and Kamala Harris, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. from Howard University, was elected vice president. Barrett becomes just the fifth woman ever to sit on the high court, replacing interfraternal sister Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alpha Epsilon Phi, and Harris becomes the first woman ever to serve in the second highest executive position in the land. (Beta Fun Fact: Barrett succeeded Beta’s own Judge John Tinder, Indiana ’72, upon his retirement from the Seventh Circuit Court in 2017, and Beta’s Tom Kirsch, Indiana ’96, was appointed as Barrett’s replacement in December 2020. Read more on page 16.)

12-16 Wooden Institute Session No. 2

15 Fall Beta Magazine Published

Upcoming alumni event? Email specifics to!

WANTED: BADGES AND ARCHIVES No Betas in the family to pass your badge down to? The Fraternity is eager to add it to the museum’s “Wall of Badges” in Oxford. Beta archives and memorabilia are also welcome. Email Fraternity Archivist Zac Haines, Miami ’05, to explore the possibilities:

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by Justin Warren, SMU ’10 designed by Sarah Shepherd


been said that college is the best time of your life. But after a year spent stuck at home or behind a computer screen, today’s undergraduates are struggling to reconcile the fun and adventure they were promised with the debilitating realities of the coronavirus pandemic. New research from Dr. Gary R. Pike of Indiana University, however, suggests fraternity and sorority members may fare better than their unaffiliated counterparts, particularly in areas of student engagement, learning and development, and overall satisfaction with the college experience.

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Pike’s study is one of the largest to ever examine the benefits of Greek-letter organizations. By analyzing data sets from the 2014 and 2017 National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE), each with participation from some 700 institutions and 200,000 students, the researcher could compare students broadly to fraternity and sorority members specifically.


Fraternity membership indirectly improved learning gains, acting through higher levels of student engagement.

Despite being less diverse than students in general, fraternity/sorority members reported higher levels of interaction with people different from themselves than did unaffiliated students.

Membership in a fraternity or sorority is associated with greater involvement in curricular and cocurricular activities, promotes student learning and development, and promotes satisfaction with the college experiences.

The largest positive effects were generally found for first-year students, arguing against deferring recruitment until the second semester or second year.

“There have been several studies, including mine, that find positive relationships between fraternity/sorority membership and student engagement and student learning,” said Dr. Pike. “While specific findings on a scale differ from study to study, the overall results are consistent about fraternities and sororities having this positive effect on students’ engagement in college.” In an industry that has long relied on personal anecdotes to highlight the value of Greek life, the study is one of several related projects sponsored by the North American Interfraternity Conference. Future studies will examine the effects of fraternity involvement on student success, first generation college students and mental health. Attempting to address the dearth of qualitative data, such efforts may prove beneficial in impartially stating the benefits of fraternities and sororities to current and prospective members, alumni, university officials and the public at large.

Areas of campus life where FRATERNITY MEMBERS DISPLAY HIGHER LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT than unaffiliated peers, according to Dr. Pike’s study:

HIGH-IMPACT PRACTICES • Participate in a study abroad program • Join a learning community • Hold an internship

COLLABORATIVE LEARNING • Worked with other students on projects and assignments • Asked another student for help understanding course material • Explained course material to one or more students

STUDENT-FACULTY INTERACTIONS • Talked about career plans with a faculty member • Discussed academic performance with a faculty member • Worked with a faculty member on activities other than coursework

SUPPORTIVE CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT • Using learning support services (tutoring, writing center, etc.) • Providing support for overall well-being • Attending events that address important social, economic or political issues

DISCUSSION WITH DIVERSE OTHERS • People from a different race or ethnicity • People with different religious or political beliefs • People from different economic backgrounds


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B E TA . O R G | 1 1

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Photo: United States Senate

alumni news lifelong brotherhood Former Kansas State Chapter President Elected to U.S. Senate Bera and McKinley Reelected to House of Representatives

On November 3, 2020, Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas State ’84, was elected U.S. Senator for Kansas. Succeeding Pat Roberts, Pi Kappa Alpha, he was sworn in January 3 by former Vice President Mike Pence, FIJI. Serving the 1st Congressional District since 2017, Marshall is married with four children and served in the Army Reserve before attending medical school. Starting at a community college, he transferred and was elected president of Beta’s storied Gamma Epsilon Chapter. He becomes the Fraternity’s 43rd U.S. Senator since election of its first in 1855, Iowa’s James Harlan, DePauw 1845. The 117th Congress also welcomed back Dr. Ami Bera, UC Irvine ’87, who was reelected for his fifth term and will represent California’s 7th District. A first-generation American and 20year internist, he is married with one daughter. Bera is the longest-serving Indian American in Congress. David McKinley, Purdue ’69, was also reelected and will represent West Virginia’s 1st District for a sixth term. A civil engineer, he is a married father of four and grandfather to six. Marshall, Bera and McKinley will be accompanied in their legislative work by Beta brother and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, Wesleyan ’87, who was reelected in 2016.

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alumninews A | Kenyon Names Athletic Center for Lowry


B | St. Lawrence Young Alum: Gone But Not Forgotten



Garrett Dunsmoor, St. Lawrence ’18, passed in 2018 due to an accidental fall while on vacation with his sister in Scotland. But, thanks to the efforts of his family, the foundation in his name supports a variety of youthful causes in his hometown of Oswego, New York – symbolic of Garrett’s multifaceted talents and interests. Now, the basketball courts in Breitbeck Park are helping keep his memory alive.


One of the all-time greatest stories in Beta lore is the 1954 initiation of Bill Lowry, Kenyon ’56, the Fraternity’s first Black member. Under immense pressure, the determined actions of his brothers paved the way for peer fraternities across North America to overcome segregation. Now, in a historic move by his alma mater, the jaw-dropping athletic complex is known as the Lowry Athletic Center. The name of Kenyon’s former student body president, captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams and, yes, Beta brother, is enshrined forever.

C | EKU Scholar House Named for McQuady; Prioritizes Single Parents Pursuing Degrees


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Nestled on the edge of the rolling hills of horse country just a few miles south of Lexington, and becoming the first building at Eastern Kentucky University named for a Beta alumnus, the new Scholar House, which prioritizes accommodations for single parents pursuing degrees, has been named for the project’s driving force: Rick McQuady, Eastern Kentucky ’77, and his Beta Sweetheart, Debbie.

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Forbes Names Two Betas to “30 Under 30” In Forbes’ 10th annual top 30 Under 30, two honorees are Betas from the same chapter. More impressively, the same pledge class.



Dan Leyva, Cornell ’14 (right), a first-generation American recognized in the food category, convinced college friends to invest in a wings franchise he has grown to a $50 million annual business with 37 stores throughout New Jersey. As he remarked to Forbes, “My family has lived the American dream.”


Leyva’s Egyptian-born pledge brother, Ahmed Elsamadisi ’14, of the technology category, founded Narrator, a database analysis software company. He has raised $7.4 million in venture capital since its startup.

Photo: Mamadi Doumbouya/The Forbes Collection via Contour RA by Getty Images

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alumninews G | Alma Mater Taps Kentfield

Investment executive Doug Kentfield, Wittenberg ’78, has been reappointed to Wittenberg’s board of directors. Chair of the endowment committee, Kentfield is head of wealth management for Steward Partners Global Advisory in New York City.

H | AMA Marketer of the Year

Ethan Braden, Willamette ’02, was recently named by the American Marketing Association as the 2020 Higher Education Marketer of the Year. Braden serves as Purdue’s senior vice president of marketing and communications.

I | Do-It-Yourself Video Guru

Brad Jefferson, Dartmouth ’98, was recently featured in a series on “fantastic work cultures” by Authority magazine. He founded Animoto, a leader in do-it-yourself video making for businesses and consumers. Learn more at



D | Alabama Names UMKC Alum Statewide Trauma Consultant

E | Award Renamed for Brant

Founding Father Dr. Jeff Kerby, MissouriKansas City ’89, has been named the first state of Alabama trauma consultant by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Kerby is a trauma surgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of the Division of Acute Care Surgery in the Department of Surgery. When interviewed about the appointment, he shared: “We are hampered by a lack of resources and appropriate coordination throughout the system. One of my roles will be to provide guidance to make sure the state trauma system works effectively and provides the highest level of patient care to our residents.”

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Last June, J.T. Ice, Kentucky ’94, was named the State Department’s deputy spokesperson. A career member of the Foreign Service, he has led multiple roles in Ethiopia, Senegal, Afghanistan, Turkey and Costa Rica.

In November, Beta’s Board of Trustees voted to rename the Fraternity’s Interfraternalism Award for Foundation Director Jonathan Brant, Miami ’75, one of the Greek world’s most recognized interfraternal leaders given his 17-year service as executive vice president of the NIC.


J | New State Dept. Spokesman



K | Gallagher Award to Rogers

Legendary wrestling coach Jim Rogers, Oklahoma State ’66, received OSU’s 2020 Gallagher Award for coaching success.

F | Trustees Honor Warner

Beta’s Fraternity/Sorority Advisor of the Year Award was also renamed for former General Secretary Charlie Warner, Lynchburg ’87, given his 30 years of service as director of Greek life at West Chester University and past presidency of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. Brant and Warner awards will first be presented at the 182nd General Convention.





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alumninews L | Keeping the (Beachside) Beat

Nearing his 94th birthday, Bob White, Iowa State ’48, was recently recognized by the local city council for his founding role in the official band of Manhattan Beach, Hyperion Outfall Serenaders. Upon receiving the tribute via Zoom surrounded by family, brother White remarked, “I want you to know it’s OK for old men to cry.”

M | Maryland Beta Inspires Program for Foster Kids


“Fostering Terp Success” is a new program at the University of Maryland developed by Brian Watkins ’10, to support students who lack a family network and have been homeless or a part of the foster care system. Combating food and housing insecurity among students, the director of parent and family affairs and former Beta chapter counselor characterized the number of students in need as “shocking.”


N | Meteorologist Yeomans Receives Third Lone Star Emmy

Founding Father David Yeomans, Miami (Fla.) ’09, recently received his third Lone Star Emmy as chief meteorologist for KXAN in Austin, Texas. It’s his second for First Warning Weather University, a series of educational videos about how weather works. Following the Fraternity’s recognition of his award on social media, Yeomans remarked, “Thank you for the feature, Beta! You guys no doubt developed me into who I am today.”


O | Kirsch Succeeds Coney Barrett


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Tom Kirsch, Indiana ’96, was recently appointed to fill the vacant 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judgeship resulting from the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, Kappa Delta, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kirsch clerked for Judge John Tinder, Indiana ’72, who preceded Coney Barrett on the appellate court.

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Beta Chef vs. Bobby Flay With an “Iron Chef ” win and an incredibly close loss on the Food Network’s “Beating Bobby Flay,” David Bancroft, Auburn ’06, has taken the Alabama food scene by storm.


A James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist and owner of two restaurants in Auburn, read more about his meteoric rise at chefbancroft.


A storyline brought to The Beta Theta Pi by journalist Alec Harvey, Auburn ’84, Bancroft’s evolution as an executive chef and restaurateur is a testament to pursuing one’s passion in life – after serving as kitchen steward for Beta. “They were smoking Boston butts for chapter events and having catfish fries and shrimp boils,” Bancroft recalled. “I would always take it over. ‘Nah, nah, nah, get out of the way.’”

Photo: Southeastern Conference

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n the shadow of the Bayou City, trails snake through a latticework of elms, oaks and loblolly pines. Up and down, they meander, past prickly vines and hollies, overseeing rain-forged ravines. Tree roots invade the paths like giant arthritic fingers, knobby and gnarled. Mountain bikers take to the Orange Trail in Memorial Park for its winding curves and dips, a welcome break from Houston’s flatness. Rex Marco, UC Irvine ’87, would be one of them this hot, sunny day, 14 months ago. But first, there was work to do. The world-renowned spine surgeon and musculoskeletal oncologist from Houston Methodist Hospital had recently excised a patient’s tumor from their cervical spine, whole, leaving the spinal cord unscathed. That afternoon, he met with his research coordinator to transcribe a medical narrative about the case. “After work was finished, I was really excited for my ride,” recalls Marco, 55, who joined mountain bikers from the 12step recovery group, Cornerstone Team Counseling, most Sundays. The outings were a salve for the senses. He knew the stress and heartache of watching loved ones struggle. The program taught him to meditate and practice mindfulness to destress and clear mental clutter. “When you feel like the world is falling apart, you get out there, and all you think about is what’s 20 feet in front of you and how many roots there are. It’s a very mindful activity,” says friend David Hanson, who biked with the doctor that day. The group played “no dabs,” riding without putting a foot down for balance. For each dab, bikers would do a pushup at trail’s end. Honor-system rules. “I loved pushups, but I also didn’t want to put my feet down,” Marco says. At a fork in the trail, the doctor turned left to avoid a branch. His tire stuck – on

what, he doesn’t know – hurling him over the handlebars. “It happened so fast. I heard a crack. I wasn’t sure if it was from my helmet or my neck.” Hanson, an engineer, arrived at the same fork, noticing a straight-line object glinting from a wooded slope: handlebars. He then saw a bike seat. Feet. Pant cuffs. He knew it was Marco. The methodical surgeon wore long pants and sleeves to avoid scratches from brush. He clambered down the slope to a brambly patch to get to him. “He was basically just dangling there, held up by branches and little trees. If not for the bramble of stuff, he would have slid down the side. He could have gone a long way.”

doctor knew time was critical. “As soon as David touched me, and I couldn’t feel, I knew I probably would never hold my unborn baby,” says the father to four sons whose infant is now one year old. He instructed Hanson to call his ex-wife – in the day of cell phone memory dials, the only full number he could remember. By speaker phone, he informed her there’d been an accident. “Please call his physician assistant Jerry Buchert,” he said. “Tell him to call David Hanson’s number.”


July 21 of last year, 7 p.m. It was Buchert’s birthday. He called Hanson’s number. He remembers the punch of Marco’s words.

C a l m l y, b u t in full doctor mode, Marco instructed Hanson how to support his neck until help arrived. He asked him to touch his hands and feet, see if they were moving.

“He said ‘Jerry, I’m a quadriplegic. My neurologic function is out. I need you to call Dr. Prasarn and see if he will take care of me.’ And they said that the ambulance had been called.”

“Are you touching them?”

Within two hours, he was undergoing surgery at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, surgeon Mark Prasarn at the helm. “We were partners together about eight years ago. He was one of the first people I thought of to help me,” explains Marco, who reviewed his own x-rays, consulting on the surgical plan to stabilize his spine.

“Yes, I’m touching them.” The doctor’s voice grew weak, his breathing more labored. A wave of radical acceptance washed over him. “I knew I had broken my neck, and I was paralyzed,” he says. “It was important to accept that. There was no turning back.” The spinal cord is a delicate bundle of nerve fibers that transmit messages from the brain to the rest of the body and back, regulating sensory, motor and autonomic function. The higher the injury to the vertebral column, the more function is affected. The

For Buchert, his physician assistant of 16 years, the evening was a blur of activity, calling friends, colleagues. They gathered at the hospital, waiting, hoping to wake from what surely was a nightmare. “It’s still a shock to a lot of his patients who come in for a yearly follow-up on their tumor or spine and haven’t heard WHEN LIFE HAS OTHER PLANS I WINTER 2021 I 19

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months.” His eyes well up when recalling his mom, Lily, at the hospital. “I’ve never seen her cry. I’ve seen her sad. But not crying. She cried that day.” The catastrophic nature of Marco’s injury brings enormous expense. He requires 24hour care, approximately $150,000 a year. And certain necessities are called for when a patient’s arms and legs no longer work.

Photo: Robert Seale

what happened to him. Almost everyone cries,” says Buchert, who was trained by Marco. The pair have performed countless surgeries together, including trips to Kenya and earthquake-ravaged Haiti, helping patients with catastrophic spine and neck injuries. “Mindfulness was a major part of his practice in recent years,” Buchert continues. “He would talk about it with patients who had chronic degenerative problems, but didn’t want to have them. The problem is, there’s not a fix to some of those things to make them totally go away. And screws and rods don’t necessarily just change your life for the better immediately, as you can imagine.” Dr. Marco sits in a wheelchair in his apartment, not far from Houston’s Texas Medical Center (TMC) reflecting on his surgical career. Prior to the accident, it was at its peak. As one of only a handful of surgeons in the world with expertise in complex spinal disorders and musculoskeletal tumors, he treated patients with the worst of medical maladies. He draws strength from them. “I clearly have a totally different understanding of how difficult and devastating this injury is, how quadriplegia and paraplegia affect you,” he says, recall-

ing months on a ventilator when panic gripped like a vice. Surgeons had performed a tracheostomy as access-way for the ventilator to do its job. Breathe for him. He was on the machine for nearly three months till respiratory muscles gained strength. His condition mandated a two-week stay in critical care, then rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann’s TIRR until November 6.

Thanks to a February fundraiser and other donations, he’s now in a “standing” wheelchair that allows him to slowly angle from sitting to standing position. The benefits are many, he explains. He can load-bear bones, strengthening them. He operates it by chin to a foam-tipped joystick. The chair can be programmed to help him control his television, computer mouse and cell phone. The wheelchair also allows for better weight-shifting, preventing bedsores and helping lung function and digestion. Violent, involuntary leg spasms that jolted him awake at night have decreased since getting the chair, too.

“In the past, if I was feeling fear or anxiety, I’d take deep breaths until it went away. But I couldn’t breathe after the accident,” he says. “Life took my breath away.” So, he would meditate and pray. “I’d stop, try to breathe, try to smell, listen, taste and feel what I could. It helped me.” In medical terms, Marco is an incomplete quadriplegic. He can’t move his arms and legs, but has regained some feeling in his hands and feet, fingers and toes. His right bicep muscle flickers. His back muscles sometimes twitch. He can feel pain. “I’m grateful to feel pain.” While happy for the sensation he’s gained, walking again is not likely this far out from the accident, he says. “In my experience, I’ve never seen anyone walk again if they don’t gain a lot of motion within six

Photo: LaWell Photography


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He will soon receive a robotic arm that attaches to the chair, assisting in personal grooming tasks, eating, grabbing things. “Maybe walking a dog.” He’s hoping for a service dog one day. And he’s waiting for modifications to be completed on a home he purchased in Highland Village. A one-story, close to TMC. “The fundraiser in February was a packed house,” says organizer Yvonne Spolane, a former operating-room nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital who has worked with Marco. “There’s a lot of things he needs, and insurance doesn’t cover a lot of things. But every time I see him, he’s upbeat. He’s amazing. Driven.”

“Not an option,” says Marco, who is eager to get back to clinic one day, seeing patients. He’d also like to help in some capacity with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, supporting its mission to find cures for spinal cord injuries. “For me, Rex is larger than life. It was hard to adjust to the thought of him being a quadriplegic. But he’s the same person,” says Adrianne Morse, who did a residency in orthopedic surgery years ago,


It surprises no one that Marco is back doing work while quarantining during the Covid-19 pandemic. He’s nothing if not driven, say colleagues. “Why me?” doesn’t cross his mind. Life has a plan, the doctor says. “I know there’s a plan for me. I don’t clearly know what it is yet, but I’m getting more clarity.” “We do bi-monthly conferences in which we do case studies, and Rex had been coming to those in his wheelchair before the pandemic,” says spine surgeon Christoph Meyer, a faculty member with the TMC Spine Fellowship, a training program Marco founded 18 years ago to train physicians as specialists in spine surgery. “Here he is a year out, totally dependent on other people, yet giving talks, continuing research projects. We had a research symposium back in June of this year, and he had his name on three papers, I think. He’s not giving up, and he never will give up.”


Rhonda Johnson thinks back to a time when she put her life in Marco’s hands. A cancerous tumor in her right pelvic floor had destroyed her hip socket, causing 52 hairline fractures. It could not be treated or replaced. Marco proffered two surgery options. One was a hemipelvectomy, the removal of her leg, hip and half her pelvis. She’d have less of a chance of recurrence with that option. But he sent her home to contemplate. She met him a week later with her decision. Amputation.

Marco as her mentor. “He’s always been strong of mind. It’s crazy when you think about the horrible irony of all of it.” He no doubt will continue to accomplish great things, says the Rev. Linda McCarty, president and CEO of Faith in Practice, a Christian non-profit that brings medical, surgical, dental and other health-related services to the poor of Guatemala. “We treat the whole person, not just the body. It’s not just your hands, it’s your heart. Rex has a unique specialty, but he also has a very special heart. He was a natural fit for us,” she says of the doctor who had become a team leader for the group. Before the accident, he’d been organizing another Guatemala trip. She recalls something his mother said at the hospital. “She said, ‘God has always done beautiful and wonderful things through Rex, and I know that’s going to continue to be the case.’ And she’s right.”

The day of surgery, she was surprised to find that the doctor had gone out and purchased red scrubs, the “positive energy color” she chose to get her through her cancer battle. During chemotherapy treatments, prior to ever meeting the doctor, she’d taken a red blanket to chemotherapy treatments; clipped a short, red hair extension as bangs to her head scarves and hats. “He heard about it and wore those scrubs for me. And in all my office visits with him, he’d be wearing a red tie. That’s the kind of compassion he has.” She spoke at the February fundraiser, Marco beaming. “I wanted him to know that we are all there for him,” Johnson says. “He saw me through it. I’ll see him through this. I’ll never forget what he told me when I said I wanted him to take my leg. He hugged me and said, ‘I would only hope that if something happened like this to me, I could be as brave and strong and courageous as you.’” Marco remembers that conversation. But most of all, her courage. “It inspired me throughout my career,” he says. “Especially now.” 


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POLITICALLY SPEAKING AN OP-ED ON PARTISANSHIP IN BETA THETA PI by Martin Cobb, Eastern Kentucky ’96 designed by Mike Roupas, Iowa ’10

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n his 1962 book “Toward a Psychology of Being,” Abraham Maslow modernized the “Law of the Instrument.” That is, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Applied to today’s politically charged social environment, the same can often be said for virtually every topic discussed on TV and via social media. If all you have is an ideological lens, everything looks political.

ready to give the ‘All Hail’ of welcome, the open hand of friendship, to all who wear the badge and bear the name of Beta Theta Pi.”

Unfortunately, Beta Theta Pi is often swept up in that politically toxic undercurrent. Brothers who run for office are blasted by Betas of a different political persuasion when recognized by the Fraternity, and most storylines other than Greek Week trophies and intramural wins are conflated with politics and barraged with cheap-seat criticisms thanks to the comforts of the couch and the courage of the keyboard.


It’s draining for most, no doubt, yet echo chambers ring loud, fueling the fires of negativity that roar from the oxygen and kindling they’re fed.

“We have no political objects in view. Nothing can be more the reverse . . . We go forth in the common cause of our country, every man to the polls to forward – as seems fit to him – the success of his own candidate. That is between him and his country, his conscience and his God. With that, as a society . . . we can have nothing to do.” – John Reily Knox, Miami 1839


One can’t help but ask, why is it that people – Betas included – feel so comfortable lashing out at others online when they would almost never behave that way in person? It hasn’t always been this way, of course. In fact, on August 8, 1840, Pater Knox returned to Oxford to deliver the Fraternity’s first anniversary address. Speaking passionately to young brothers about the purpose of Beta Theta Pi, he also opined on the importance of setting aside political differences that could undermine the very camaraderie that gave life to their mighty band. “When we come together as members of the Beta Theta Pi, all political differences are dropped – all our political feelings are forgotten,” he remarked. “We are no longer politicians, but friends; no longer candidates, but brothers, and we are

Again, with a position so clearly articulated and adopted so early in the Fraternity’s origins, why is it today that so many Betas find it hard to resist the temptation of public gotcha-ism and political ridicule? Knox clearly understood the pitfalls of mixing business with pleasure and talking politics over the dinner table. Recalling George Washington’s farewell address to the American people, which discouraged partisanship in favor of “country first,” Knox proclaimed emphatically in his keynote: “We have no political objects in view. Nothing can be more the reverse . . . We go forth in the common cause of our country, every man to the polls to forward – as seems fit to him – the success of his own candidate. That is between him and his country, his conscience and his God. With that, as a society . . . we can have nothing to do.” To put it simply, Knox, an eventual Republican and elector for Abraham Lincoln, and Founder Marshall, a devout Democrat, believed Beta Theta Pi existed for two singular purposes: “Next to the cultivation of friendly feelings, the advancement of science and literature is the mainspring of our exertions.” Period. There was no need to position the Fraternity as an arm for political persuasion. There were plenty of associations already in existence to further those aims. There still are. CONDUCT UNBECOMING

That is not to suggest Beta’s founders didn’t have strong political beliefs. Quite the opposite. Their leanings are well documented. But, in modern times it seems there are swaths of Betas who POLITICALLY SPEAKING | WINTER 2021 | 23

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“It means something more than banquets and a good time; it means fellowship and friendship. It binds heart to heart, and every one of our number is a brother to all of the rest. We ask not whether he be from Texas or Tennessee, from New Jersey or New Hampshire. It is enough that he is a Beta Theta Pi.”

feel the Fraternity should take political positions on any number of issues or not recognize certain brothers who run for office because their viewpoints differ from their own. Maybe worse, that it’s acceptable to mock fellow Betas online without the slightest care for what that type of commentary-culture is breeding within the brotherhood.

election in 2017, a member commented, “Too bad he’s a lib.” Twenty-seven Betas piled on.

Or, what it says about our brotherhood.

Such decorum not only runs counter to our founders’ guidance and violates Beta’s charge to “be urbane in deportment and courteous in expression,” but it also creates a sharp, double-edged sword. If taking policy positions or endorsing some candidates over others became the norm within Beta Theta Pi, eventually one’s own preference would not be the selection of collective favor. The partisan reaction isn’t hard to predict: “It’s only

When the Fraternity highlighted the presidential run of Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, Wesleyan ’87, a Beta tagged the post with the handle of his preferred candidate: a fellow Democratic party competitor.

For example, the credibility of newly elected Republican Kansas Senator Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas State ’84, was recently questioned by a fellow alumnus on the Fraternity’s Instagram post that recognized his victory, drawing dozens into the fold. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when Alabama Senator Doug Jones, Alabama ’76, won the special

– A. Josiah Brewer, Wesleyan 1855 Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

! # @


A BIPARTISAN BETA THETA PI U.S. and Canada Federal Office Holders and Judges, Governors and Province Premiers Since 1839



Democrat/Liberal Politicians


Republican/Conservative Politicians

Independent/Other Politicians

1 1


U.S. Vice President 2



U.S. Senate




U.S. House of Representatives



Canada Prime Minister

Canada Senate



Canada House of Commons



U.S. Governor


U.S. Supreme Court



Canada Premier

Canada Supreme Court


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@ *% Historic covers of The Beta Theta Pi magazine demonstrate the Fraternity’s longstanding a-political tradition. Void of advocating for any one party, candidate or policy, brothers of all political persuasions are celebrated for assuming the mantle of leadership and taking the initiative to serve the greater good. Left to right: October 1956, October 1958, June 1969 and Winter 1985.

right the Fraternity recognize my candidate, but how dare it spotlight the evil on the other side.” As Shakespeare inspired, “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” It’s just not a place the Fraternity should rest its head. From a pure brotherhood perspective, it’s not how fraternity brothers treat one another. Ever. AN A-POLITICAL TRADITION

One need look no further than the Fraternity’s Oxford Cup roll of honor that bestows Beta’s highest award on giants of industry to understand the Beta way. On it you will find the names of Republican greats like Senator Lugar, Minority Leader Rhodes and Ambassador Cooper. You will also find prominently featured Democratic and liberal leaders like Prime Minister Turner, Governor Mabus and Supreme Court Justice Douglas. They have all brought credit to Beta Theta Pi, and they are proudly recognized as such. Yes, some fraternities are activist-oriented. They aren’t necessarily wrong, nor must they adopt Beta’s precedent.

This simply recognizes our Fraternity’s longstanding a-political tradition, which has been to respect the deeply personal nature of politics and elevate at all times the notions of brotherly respect and brotherly love, confidence and trust in one another, and a ritual that has in no unequivocal terms enunciated a primary Object: “I will never see calmly, nor without earnest and decided efforts to prevent it, the ill-treatment, slander or defamation of one who worthily wears the badge of Beta Theta Pi.” Instead of our brothers following the social media herd where trolling and unfiltered personal attacks have become no big deal, maybe the rest of the world can learn from Beta Theta Pi’s historic gentlemanly posture and be reminded of what our parents and grandparents taught us long ago: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you;” “Praise in public and criticize in private;” and, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.”

“Banishing all worldly cares, forgetting our ages, politics, creeds, nationalities, varied or conflicting interests, and laying aside even diplomacy, we come here to have a good time together simply as brothers in the bonds of Beta Theta Pi . . .”


— Japan Amb. Aimaro Sato, DePauw 1881 1917 Dinner Meeting of the Beta Club of Washington, D.C.


After all, looking at the Fraternity through the lens of brotherhood is what Beta Theta Pi is all about. POLITICALLY SPEAKING | WINTER 2021 | 25

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volunteer making vacancies a difference

Denison Financial Advisor Member Education Advisor Recruitment Advisor Risk Management Advisor DePauw Recruitment Advisor

Beta has long been known for its deep bench of volunteers who tirelessly serve the Fraternity they love. It's a hallmark characteristic of one of North America's greatest college fraternities. VOLUNTEER VACANCIES


Yet, the need to enlist talented individuals to coach Beta undergraduates is constant. As of January 7, some 65 chapters have at least one advisor opening, representing 118 volunteer vacancies. Are you interested in getting involved, or know a rock star who should be recruited? Email today!


American Chapter Counselor Financial Advisor Member Education Advisor Recruitment Advisor Risk Management Advisor Arizona State Recruitment Advisor Baylor Financial Advisor Bethany Risk Management Advisor Bowling Green Chapter Counselor Chapman Financial Advisor Risk Management Advisor Cincinnati Financial Advisor Recruitment Advisor

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Baylor brothers at Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado. Pictured: Sergio Mendoza ’21 Scott Phillips ’22 Grant Rosen ’22

In the world of 50 years from now, as in that of 50 years ago, as in that that lies around us today . . .


BETA SPIRIT . — Willis O. Robb, Ohio Wesleyan 1879

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Now, more than ever, young men need the brotherhood, personal growth and sense of home unique to Beta Theta Pi. Help a young man begin his Beta journey at BETA.ORG/RECOMMEND.

1/26/21 10:11 PM

THE CANNABIS CONUNDRUM Canada legalized cannabis in 2018 and two-thirds of Americans support doing so today. Yet, mixed messages and inconsistent laws continue to leave campuses everywhere in a haze. by MacGregor Hill, William & Mary ’04 • designed by Mike Roupas, Iowa ’10

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am was both confused and livid. “What do you mean you can’t live in the chapter house next year!? I thought we would room together.” He tried to understand what his little brother Justin was saying. Something about needing his medical marijuana — used to help reduce the risk of epileptic seizures — which meant that he still had to live off campus. Sam knew illegal drugs weren’t allowed in the Beta house, but this was different. Justin had a valid medical marijuana card, plus their state had voted to completely legalize marijuana last year. Sam threw up his hands, “I just don’t understand.” Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, is a psychotropic drug classified by the U.S. federal government since 1970 as a Schedule I illegal drug – the most restrictive class – more dangerous than cocaine, meth and oxycodone. Meanwhile, in recent decades numerous U.S. states have voted to legalize cannabis for either medical or personal use, driven by shifts in popular opinion with two thirds of Americans now favoring legalization, up from less than one third in the early 2000s. In 2018, Canada also became only the second country in the world behind Uruguay to legalize and regulate marijuana nationwide. This evolution of drug policy and social acceptance, coupled with limited existing research, makes for a confusing landscape for Beta undergraduates seeking to keep each other safe and in compliance with Fraternity, campus and legal guidelines. DRUG POLICY ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION The United States first began regulating addictive drugs in the early 1900s with a series of laws focused on consumer protections and public health. The first in 1906, The Pure Food and Drug Act, included cannabis among several substances required to be disclosed on food and drug labels. As the practice of smoking cannabis plants in cigarettes or pipes gained traction in the first few decades of the 20th century, public awareness of the drug grew. By the late 1920s, more than a dozen states had passed laws banning or regulating the plant. Canada also added cannabis to the schedule of illegal drugs in 1923.



is a psychotropic drug classified by the U.S. federal government since 1970 as a Schedule I illegal drug — the most restrictive class — more dangerous than cocaine, meth and oxycodone."

The U.S. federal government became more involved via the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (early spelling used “h” instead of “j”), levying a tax on the sale of cannabis. While it did little to raise revenue, the act effectively introduced federal criminal penalties on many who produced and sold cannabis. This effort also coincided with a public campaign by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) against the drug, dubiously conflating the use of cannabis with violent crime and stirring racist and xenophobic prejudices. Harry Anslinger, head of the FBN, is credited with saying at the time, “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing results from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”


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Emphasizing the term “marijuana” was also part of the campaign. While it is often used interchangeably with cannabis today, prior to 1937, the term was slang and not widely known. Many medical professionals did not even realize cannabis was affected by the tax act. Representing the American Medical Association (AMA) at a related hearing, Dr. William Woodward said, “Marijuana is not the correct term …” Some argue that the FBN painted cannabis with the new foreign-sounding name to make associations with Mexico, and appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment at the time. In 1944, the New York Academy of Medicine published the first in-depth study into the effects of cannabis use in the U.S., undercutting many of the claims regarding marijuana use from the FBN. This angered Anslinger, who personally commissioned an AMA study to discredit their findings. Concerns about the links between marijuana to violence, health problems, sex crimes, addiction or other drug use persisted in the public sphere for years with little change.

CANNABIS DRUG POLICY Origins and Evolution 1906

The Pure Food and Drug Act requires food and drug labels to disclose cannabis.

By the 1960s, attitudes toward marijuana use had become more lenient and use of the drug (among others) more widespread. In response, President Richard Nixon urged Congress to consolidate federal laws to better meet


Canada and 29 states in the U.S. pass laws to ban or regulate cannabis.


Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 established, taxing the sale of cannabis and introducing federal criminal penalties.

President Nixon after signing the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.

the growing drug challenge. The resulting legislation in 1970 included the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), establishing the foundation of federal drug policy that remains today. While the CSA was being drafted, lawmakers temporarily placed marijuana on Schedule I (the most dangerous and restrictive category of drug with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse) pending the report of a commission appointed by President Nixon to study the use and effects of cannabis. The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, also known as the Shafer Commission, issued its findings in 1972. The report titled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding” found that cannabis did not constitute a major threat to public health and it proposed the decriminalization of marijuana possession of minor quantities. “[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate.” Despite being cited by policy reform advocates as evidence for full legalization, the report did not go that far. It instead urged a policy seeking to discourage marijuana use, focusing on reducing supply and preventing heavy use. The report noted: “Any psychoactive drug is potentially harmful to the individual, depending on the intensity, frequency and duration of use. Marihuana is no exception.” President Nixon and Congress opposed, and ultimately ignored, the commission’s report, leaving marijuana as a Schedule I drug in the U.S. At the same time in 1969, the Canadian government formed the Royal Commission into the Non-Med-


In-depth N.Y. Academy of Medicine study undercuts Federal Bureau of Narcotics claims on cannabis.


Attitudes toward cannabis use become more lenient and its use is more widespread.


U.S. federal drug policy established placing cannabis on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.


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ical use of Drugs, commonly known as the Le Dain Commission, to study the non-medical use of cannabis in Canada. The commission came to similar conclusions in 1972, recommending the decriminalization of cannabis possession and further study of health consequences. As in the U.S., the Canadian government did not enact any legislative changes to implement the recommendations. THE EFFECTS OF CRIMINALIZATION The subsequent decades have not vindicated the efficacy of U.S. federal drug policy. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, both usage rates and public support for legalization have steadily increased since President George H.W. Bush first announced the “War on Drugs” in 1989. A 2017 Marist poll found that 52% of American adults (age 18+) admitted to having tried marijuana and estimated that nearly 55 million had used it in the past year. A large outcome of federal drug policy appears to be ensnaring more Americans in the criminal justice system. According to the FBI’s data, more than half a million Americans were arrested for marijuana possession, sale or manufacturing in 2019 alone. This constituted more than a third of all drug-related arrests and more than all violent crimes combined. Of the marijuana arrests, 90% were for possession only. Much of the impact of these convictions is not incarceration (of which only 40,000 people are locked up today), but often loss of child custody, public housing, occupational licenses, future job prospects and more. Notably, the American Civil Liberties Union has uncovered large racial disparities in these arrests. Looking from 2010 to 2018, they found that Black people are 3.6 times more likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar usage rates. In some states, namely Montana and Kentucky, the arrest rate is nine times higher for Black people. MOVEMENT TOWARD LEGALIZATION Since adoption of the Controlled Substances Act, local drug policy has trended toward liberalization. In the 1970s a dozen U.S. states decriminalized cannabis, largely favoring fines, not


U.S. and Canadian governments ignore individual commission study recommendations to decriminalize it.


A dozen states in the U.S. decriminalize cannabis, largely favoring fines instead of jail.


California becomes first state to vote to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes.


according to a 2017 Marist poll that also estimated nearly 55 million people used it in the last year.

jail, for marijuana use. California later became the first state, via ballot initiative in 1996, to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes. In the next decade, 10 more states followed suit and by 2012 there were a total of 19 states with legal medical marijuana. That November, both Colorado and Washington also legalized the recreational use of cannabis via ballot initiative. In deference to state policy, the Obama administration announced in 2013 that it would ease federal enforcement by discouraging prosecutors from pursuing criminal cases related to cannabis in states that had legalized use in some form. Despite the Trump administration rescinding the Obama era policy in early 2018, several more states proceeded forward with decrim-


Obama administration eases federal enforcement in 19 states that had legalized cannabis use in some form.


Canada legalizes cannabis through the Cannabis Act. Trump administration rescinds Obama-era policy.


U.S. House of Representatives passes bill to legalize cannabis on the federal level.


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inalization or legalization. By November 2020, 15 states had voted to legalize cannabis for personal use and 35 states had authorized medical use. Despite the closely contested 2020 election, all cannabis related ballot measures won by five or more percentage points. These policy outcomes follow large shifts in U.S. public opinion reflected in recent polling. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that opposition to legalization had fallen to 32%, down from 81% in the late 1980s. Only 8% of Americans feel that marijuana should not be legal for medical uses. Similarly, a 2016 poll showed that nearly 70% of Canadians supported or somewhat supported legalization. This public backing empowered Canada in June 2018 to become the second country in the world to legalize a nationwide marijuana market via Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act. Prime Minister Trudeau said, “It’s been


too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today we change that.” In December 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives even passed a bill to legalize marijuana on the federal level. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would, among many things, remove cannabis from the federal drug scheduling system, eliminate penalties and expunge prior federal convictions for marijuana. It would not legalize marijuana nationwide as states would retain latitude to regulate marijuana locally. As of this writing, the bill is not expected to become law given a divided Senate and tepid support from President Biden. CANNABIS RESEARCH LIMITATIONS Another consequential outcome of federally classifying cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance is the lack of conclusive evidence regarding the short-term and long-term health effects. Unlike alcohol, the subject of extensive and federally funded study, the limited scientific research on cannabis puts public health at risk as there are no accepted standards to shape behavior like when, where, how or how much cannabis may be safe to use. Instead, 35 U.S. states are pressing forward with legalization despite insufficient evidence-based research and zero federal quality control or product testing done by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Numerous barriers exist to cannabis research. Researchers studying any Schedule I drug in the U.S. must pass a rigorous and lengthy approval process for trials by the FDA and Drug

CANADA LEGALIZED CANNABIS USE. WHERE DOES THE U.S. STAND? Legal for medical and recreational use. Legal for medical use only. Legal for medical use (CBD; limited THC content). Illegal for medical or recreational use. Source: "Legality of cannabis by U.S. jurisdiction," Wikipedia


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More research and federal guidance is needed here to protect public health as usage increases.

The U.S. federal government has an exclusive contract with the University of Mississippi to cultivate cannabis for use by researchers in the U.S. for various studies, including FDA-approved clinical trials.

Enforcement Administration (DEA). However, marijuana is the only Schedule I drug that the DEA prohibits private laboratories from producing for scientific research. As a result, a single facility at the University of Mississippi grows all cannabis supplied for federally approved research (although a new rule announced in December 2020 will allow for licensing new growers). Lastly, the facility at Ole Miss is contracted with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which focuses on studying the harms of marijuana and must approve all research. That results in less than 20% of NIDA funding going to studying any potential medical benefits of marijuana. The Drug Policy Alliance argues that “DEA and NIDA have successfully created a Catch-22 for patients, doctors and scientists by denying that marijuana is a medicine because it is not FDA approved, while simultaneously obstructing the very research that would be required for FDA approval.” On December 2, 2020, the U.N. Commission for Narcotic Drugs' 53 member states narrowly voted to remove cannabis for medicinal purposes from the category of the most dangerous drugs, potentially enabling expanded global marijuana research and medical use. In the absence of U.S. research, countries with government-sponsored cannabis research programs (such as Canada, Israel and the Netherlands) or others empowered by this U.N. action may help provide more answers about the safety and efficacy of cannabis use. Despite these barriers, there is some existing evidence from doctors and researchers supporting therapeutic effects of medical marijuana. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a 2017 report as a comprehensive review of existing scientific evidence, called “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.” The report found conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis can be effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea,

or multiple sclerosis spasticity. It found inconclusive evidence related to a series of other conditions, including dementia, epilepsy, glaucoma and others, prompting the need for further study and clinical trials. The report notes that “smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances” and “is an important risk factor in the development of respiratory disease.” Beyond medical uses, there are millions of people using cannabis personally with little information on the health implications. Unlike other commonly used substances, like alcohol or tobacco, users of cannabis are largely left in the dark regarding risks. These include consuming while pregnant, operating a motor vehicle under the


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Photo: Wirestock Creators

Dispensaries sell cannabis in a variety of forms including flower to smoke and cartridges to vape. Other options without associated risks of smoking are available such as edibles, topicals, extracts, tinctures and pills.

influence or consumption at a young age, which may impact brain development or increase risk of dependence. Despite there being no recorded deaths ever caused by marijuana alone, some users do end up in the hospital. This is often prompted by acute panic attacks, acute psychosis or vomiting associated with ingesting large quantities of marijuana edibles – as users are unaware it may take longer to feel the effects. More research and federal guidance is needed here to protect public health as usage increases.



regardless of state or local marijuana laws.

CONTRADICTORY POLICY ON THE LOCAL LEVEL For students attending a college or university in the U.S. (and in Canada prior to late 2018), the use of cannabis is still illegal regardless of state or local marijuana laws. Any school accepting federal funds (more than 2,200 in 2018) must recognize the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I illegal drug and align campus policy with this view.

Most notably, these schools must prohibit the possession or use of cannabis on campus, and often off campus as well – via the student code of conduct. Further, students receiving federal financial aid are barred from using cannabis, as an offense could revoke their eligibility. This confusing policy landscape can be further muddled when trying to gauge compliance with Fraternity policy. Section 1.15 of the Beta Theta Pi Risk Management Policy regarding events states: “The possession, sale, distribution or use of any illegal drugs or controlled substances while on chapter premises or during a fraternity event is strictly prohibited. This includes the abuse or distribution of otherwise legal drugs.” Does this mean it is OK for a Beta chapter member to use cannabis in a state where cannabis is legal – even during a Fraternity event – as long as they don't abuse or distribute the drug? Or does the federal classification as an illegal controlled substance supersede state law? Some clarification can be found in the preamble to Section 1: “Each individual bears the personal responsibility to know and abide by federal, state and local laws regarding alcohol and drugs.” Regarding chapter housing policy, section 4.1.a details, “Substance-free is defined as the elimination of the possession, use, distribution or consumption of all illegal and illicit substances, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or controlled substances without an appropriate prescription issued to the user by a licensed professional.” PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE Beta history far precedes this legal and policy quagmire, and the Fraternity has always advocated for the promotion of the moral and social culture of its members. This has meant THE CANNABIS CONUNDRUM | THE BETA THETA PI | 34

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working to make our members better men individually and better community members, to instill responsibility and accountability. As Seth Brooks, St. Lawrence 1922 opined: “The best fraternity is best because it has the best record of persons of the best character. The fraternity should build this in its members. The fraternity man shall give this testament in the name of his fraternity." A careful review of Beta incidents related to cannabis in recent years (to which this author was granted) reveals a meager tapestry of possession, paraphernalia ownership, consumption and distribution among small groups often resulting in arrest or local discipline. Conspicuously missing are tales of immense personal harm, property destruction or sexual misconduct so common with alcohol consumption. More often, chapters face disciplinary action or closure for incidents of legal or campus policy violation, like the Rutgers chapter in 1998, which was found growing 30 marijuana plants in the house attic, or more recently the UNC chapter's implication in a high-volume, 21-person drug network that included four men from three fraternities at three North Carolina schools. That said, drug use can potentially have devastating consequences, especially when combined with mental illness, like with the tragic suicide of Max Fulfer, Idaho ’21, as detailed in the winter 2020 issue of The Beta Theta Pi. It is incumbent upon every member to act responsibly, care for their fellow members and hold others accountable for their actions. Dr. Brooks noted, “There is no human organization or society which is any better than the people who compose it.” THE CANNABIS CONUNDRUM Excessive consumption of alcohol is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., with more than 95,000 deaths per year, yet it remains legal and widely available. Conversely, cannabis is directly attributable to zero deaths while touting several promising therapeutic applications. It remains highly illegal on the federal level with limited research about the appropriate uses, benefits and risks. This reality, plus growing availability via state legalization, puts Beta undergraduates (in the U.S.) in a difficult position. To further mix messages, Beta alumni have even entered the commercial cannabis industry, including brothers from Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic and Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and even a former Beta staff member, among others. Meanwhile, U.S. federal government officials, Betas included, maintain their reasonable disagreements. U.S. Senator Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas State ’84, said in 2017 regarding legalization, “I'm not convinced that it's medically proven and a good idea ... I think there's a



including brothers from Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic and Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and even a former Beta staff member, among others.

path there, but I just haven't seen enough scientific data to say it's a good thing.” In 2019, U.S. Representative Ami Bera, UC Irvine ’87, noted: “We ought to study the harmful effects of marijuana, etc. and make sure we really understand this. But at some juncture, you can’t have 20 or so states have one set of laws and the federal government have a whole different set of laws. Let’s figure out how to have this debate.” Meanwhile, Betas today must navigate legal conflicts, diverse social views, burgeoning medical uses, campus officials charged with drug enforcement, a growing commercial cannabis industry and risks to fellow members' health and safety. This is a lot to ask of Beta volunteers and 18 to 22 year olds seeking an education and a start in life. 


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The hallowed grounds of

OXFORD are calling you home.

THE 182ND GENERAL CONVENTION August 5-8, 2021 | Oxford, Ohio

Beta brothers, Sweethearts and guests will gather this August to carry on one of the Fraternity’s greatest traditions – the 182nd General Convention. Be among the hundreds in attendance to fill your spirit with the rich history of Miami University and ring in Founders’ Day in the birthplace of Beta Theta Pi. Early bird registration ends April 15


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cut and polished refining men of principle LET’S TALK ABOUT SKINCARE Taking care of yourself and “being a man” aren’t at odds. Looking and feeling your best is easy as 1-2-3.



Start and end each day with a clean slate. Use a face wash – not the bar of Irish Spring already in your shower – in the morning and evening to remove dirt and oil. You’ll get that cool, fresh feeling afterward as an attaboy which, come on, is hella satisfying.


As you get older, your skin loses its ability to retain moisture. The result? Wrinkles. Delay these effects by applying a facial moisturizer after your morning wash. Play offense and defense by picking one with SPF 15 or higher to fend off harmful UV rays year-round. Skin cancer sucks.


The best time to fight aging is overnight, so whether you’re 25 or 52, an anti-aging product should be the cherry on top of your evening skincare routine. Not only will it help hydrate for the nighttime hours ahead, but also further battle folds and fine lines to stay looking good as new.



READY TO REALLY UP YOUR GAME? Adapted from Brickell Men’s Products. Order a free sample kit at

This minimal but effective routine can be expanded in a number of ways, like adding a body moisturizer and anti-dandruff shampoo to remain itch- and flake-free during the dry, harsh winter months, or a lip balm with SPF for the dog days of summer. Above all, consistency is key. Skincare isn’t about personal vanity or obsession. Sure, staying forever young is a nice bonus, but it’s really about boosting your confidence, realizing the long-term health and professional benefits of good grooming habits, and presenting your best self to the world. That’s just the Beta way. Illustrations: Alexa Chmura

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campus life student highlights The Good Samaritan of Silicon Valley

Every other week throughout the summer, Quinton Markett, Loyola Marymount ’22, prepared and distributed 150-200 bagged lunches to homeless communities in Northern California. His organization, Good Samaritans of Silicon Valley, also tutors K-12 students struggling with virtual learning. Markett is well versed in the Jesuit tradition and values the rich history of service. "The COVID-19 pandemic has left many unable to provide for themselves," Markett said. "Personally, I believe it is our duty to do what we can to help the marginalized members of our society." Markett's organization made local headlines and garnered enough support to hold additional service days in the fall and winter. In doing so, he provides another inspiring example of the goodness that embodies Beta undergraduates everywhere.

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campuslife A | Texas Tech Triumphs

Betas at Texas Tech worked tirelessly throughout the summer and fall to overcome recruitment challenges posed by COVID-19. Their efforts yielded a spectacular 40-man new member class, which included a 3.8 class-wide GPA, two valedictorians, a salutatorian, an Eagle Scout, eight allstate athletes and 37 varsity athletes.

B | To the Rescue


C | Life Savers



Michigan State Betas partnered with the American Red Cross to hold a blood drive for COVID-19 relief. Donations from over 75 participants helped patients battling the virus and other life-threatening illnesses. That’s mutual aid and assistance at its finest!


Ray Chan, Cal Poly ’23, sprang into action when he witnessed a bystander caught in a riptide in December. Chan paddled out on his surfboard to rescue the individual and safely bring him back to shore.


Now boasting 155 brothers – Beta's sixth largest chapter – the good news kept rolling in for Delta Mu as they were one of four colonies granted a charter at the first-ever virtual legislation session in January. More information on the other newly chartered groups can be found on page 8.

The walls of Beta's historic home at the University of Illinois have been razed, making way for a new building destined to house the soon-to-be-reestablished Sigma Rho Chapter.

thebetahouse The latest housing news from across Beta’s Broad Domain

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MIT undergraduates and house corporation members pulled together a successful application to become one of only three pilot organizations housing students this spring. South Carolina welcomed 31 new members last fall and returned to the campus Greek Village, entering into a four-year lease with hopes of later buying the home themselves. Brothers at William & Mary – the birthplace of Greek life – moved back into the university’s fraternity housing complex last fall.

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campuslife D | Homecoming Hat Trick

After two other Lone Star State brothers were crowned homecoming king at TCU and Texas Tech, SMU Betas certainly weren’t going to be upstaged. Congratulations to Patrick Marasco, SMU ’21, who claimed the honor for Gamma Omega Chapter a jaw-dropping third year in a row!

E | Beta's Newest Chapters CAMPUS LIFE




Although the 180th General Convention granted seven charters in 2019, the vast majority of these accomplished colonies experienced delays in their installation events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, with an eye toward additional in-person celebrations in the future, two groups – Eta Chi at Rochester and Eta Omega at Loyola Chicago – took part in the Fraternity’s first-ever virtual Installation Ceremonies last fall. Established on November 20 and 22, respectively, the Zoom video conference events brought together undergraduates, alumni and volunteers to welcome these newest chapters to the Beta fold.

F | Up in Lights


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The Beta house at Georgia Tech went up in lights for the month of December, with wreaths and strings of lights in red, white and green bringing holiday cheer to students across campus as they prepared for final exams. Make no mistake about it, the Beta Spirit is alive and well in Atlanta.

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Newly Named Commissioners In December, General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech '73, appointed the newest class of Undergraduate Commissioners, tasked with providing perspective, advice and guidance directly to the Board of Trustees:


Jeff Pioquinto, Iowa State '22 Ian Ross, Michigan '21 (L) Andrew Weiss, Bethany '21 (R)


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Mission Accomplished Congratulations to Ryan Fernandez, Florida International ’20, and all Betas who earned their diplomas last December. See page 46 to grab your own Beta graduation gear in time for spring commencement.

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ifcpresidents An astounding 17 Beta brothers earned the respect and confidence of their peers and will rise above their affiliation to work on behalf of all fraternities as Interfraternity Council president in 2021.



G | Delicate Shades

As Alpha Pi brothers scattered for winter break, Jack Gille, Wisconsin ’21, learned that, whether on campus at the Beta house or along the Tomahawk, Wisconsin, waterfront, delicate shades of pink and blue are never far away.

H | Campus Pioneer

When the Ole Miss IFC went looking for the perfect fraternity man to fill its newly created vice president of

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diversity and community engagement post, it found Beta Beta Chapter’s Devan Williams ’22, to be the perfect man for the job.

I | Brotherhood Battle

An outdoor, socially distanced activity where face masks are mandatory? The men of Alpha Chi Chapter at Johns Hopkins might be onto something: building brotherhood over a "friendly" game of paintball.











1 | Justin Colman, American ’23 2 | Callum Rhodes, Central Michigan ’21 3 | Josh Hieneman, Eastern Kentucky ’21 4 | David DeRosa, Elon ’22 5 | Sam Palmisano, Florida Gulf Coast ’19 6 | Nick Pastrana, Florida International ’22 7 | Ian Cox, Georgia Tech ’21 8 | Tommy Nardicchio, Indiana ’22 9 | Tyler Naughtrip, Iowa State ’22 10 | Josh Ruminski, John Carroll ’22 11 | Ian Ayres, Loyola Marymount ’21 12 | Mark Hoyt, Maine ’22 13 | Jasper Scheiber, Michigan ’22 14 | Will Bulkowski, Michigan State ’21 15 | Erik Goodwin, Nebraska ’21 16 | Nick Mallari, San Jose State ’23 17 | Andrew Kendall, Saint Louis ’22











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→ A Beta's Sweetheart ←


☞ A century-old lavaliere connects a Texas Tech brother and his Beta Sweetheart to their familial and fraternal ancestors.

Above: Robert Ringo, Oklahoma 1925, and Beta Sweetheart, Mary Isabel

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n the summer of 2017, a gold chain bearing the Greek letters of Beta Theta Pi made the 350-mile westward journey across Texas from Dallas to Lubbock. The recently discovered heirloom was being hand-delivered to Matt Moreland, Texas Tech ’18, by his mother, Marcia. The nearly 100-year-old lavaliere’s safe arrival was critical not only because of its age, but because it linked together this Delta Mu brother’s past, present and, soon thereafter, his future. Matt first noticed Lydia Wilke from across the dining hall his freshman year, her beauty drawing him in until he suddenly and unexpectedly found himself seated at her table. Minutes of conversation turned into hours and the beginning of a year-long friendship before the couple’s relationship began in earnest.

Matt extended the gesture during a candlelight steak dinner. “I had her close her eyes while I removed the jewelry box from my suit jacket and recounted my family’s decades of brotherhood in Beta Theta Pi,” he said. “As I placed the lavaliere around her neck, I explained that it was once my great grandmother’s and had been passed down unused through the generations, and now my family wanted me to bestow this memory-filled piece of jewelry upon her.” An engagement followed that same year, and the couple later married on June 29, 2019. Some 30 Beta brothers attended the ceremony, including Matt’s great uncle, Bob Ringo, Oklahoma ’61. Matt jokingly refers to the group as a “large, unruly mob” that gave an impromptu performance of "The Loving Cup,” which he says was a truly special moment.

Since then, Matt and Lydia grew closer to Beta Lydia have started three as she grew closer to Matt. businesses, bought a home, “She became highly involved traveled Europe, survived and was always around,” a pandemic, given birth Matt said. “No matter what, to their first daughter and Lydia treated my brothers learned they now have like her own and actively twins on the way. “Our first Matt Moreland, Texas Tech '18, supported their endeavors.” year and a half of marriage his wife, Lydia, and their By summer 2017, Matt knew has been jam-packed with a 9-month-old daughter, Blair his future would be with lifetime’s worth of adventure Lydia. Although he had already designed and experiences,” Matt said. “We would and ordered an engagement ring, however, not be where we are today without the he thought it important to first honor her outstanding men and women in our lives commitment to Beta with a lavaliere. that surround us, many of whom we met through my involvement in Beta Theta Pi Lavaliering, or a brother’s presentation at Texas Tech.” of a fraternity-branded pendant to his partner symbolizing his intent for a serious When Robert Ringo first placed the gold dating relationship, has a storied history lavaliere around the neck of his Beta in the Greek community. And although Sweetheart, Mary Isabel, 48 years of marital Matt would partake in this time-honored bliss followed. Nearly a century later, the tradition like many generations of Betas pendant now lives with Lydia Moreland, before him, he would do so with a special and this new family hopes the good fortune pendant in hand – the same one his great continues for another generation. grandfather, Robert Ringo, Oklahoma 1925, had made for his own Beta Sweetheart, Mary Isabel Parker, in the early 1920s.

The Moreland family lavaliere, passed down through the generations, sits alongside Matt's Beta badge.

"My Beta SweethEART"

By John Williams, DePauw ’55

My Beta sweetheart You will always be. Soft as the starlight Kissing the sea bewitching me. We’ll go on together But if we may part. You’ll remain forever Deep within my heart. So wear this pin, my darling It keeps my love only for you My Beta sweetheart You will always be You will always be.

BETA THETA PI | Winter 2021 → 45

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For the graduate


A. Beta Grad Bundle - $99.95

B. Beta Certificate Frame - $139 C. Graduation Cord - $10


D. Graduation Stole - $20

C. D.

Send a care package F.

Beta essentials

F. Metal Gift Bucket - $58.42



G. YETI Drinkware - starting at $39.99



E. Wooden Gift Crate - $56.03




H. Fabrizio Junior Blue Portfolio (Engraved Beta Logo) - $26.13 I. Beta Crewneck Sweatshirt - $34.95 J. Beta Coat of Arms Tie - $30 K. Coat of Arms Cufflinks - starting at $99.50 L. Face Mask - $20 M. Nike Dri-FIT Hat - $45.01 Left: Nima Malekpour, Florida Gulf Coast ’20 | Graduation Stole - $29.95,

J. M.


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chapterineternal loving memory



Kansas State

Matthew N. Barfield ’02, March 15, 2020 William S. Fleming VI ’94, Jan. 8, 2021

Thomas K. Davis ’50, Jan. 14, 2021

G. V. Mahler ’53, April 10, 2019

Ralph D. Hinst ’57, Jan. 13, 2021 Tod L. Thorpe ’86, Aug. 2, 2020

Robert L. Baker ’62, Dec. 23, 2020 Charles K. DeForest ’54, Nov. 8, 2020 C Richard D. Ewy ’62, Sept. 8, 2020 James H. Kyle ’54, May 4, 2020 C James D. Smith ’56, Dec. 28, 2020



A. Jordan Santiago ’16, Oct. 6, 2020

James A. Briggs ’54, Nov. 4, 2020 Fredrick K. Martin ’71, Dec. 16, 2020 Roger Naus ’54, Oct. 22, 2020 Norman D. Nelson ’62, May 14, 2020 James J. O’Brien ’55, June 22, 2020 John P. Rudy ’51, Jan. 8, 2021 Donald J. Runyon ’50, Nov. 4, 2020






Forever Remembered Notices of Beta brothers and Sweethearts who passed within the last two years and were reported to the Administrative Office between October 7, 2020, and January 20 are included in this listing.

Blair P. Bremberg ’76, Sept. 30, 2020

Report a Beta’s Death Please contact Receptionist Phyllis Bowie at 800.800.BETA or to report a death.

W. L. C. Campbell ’80, Sept. 25, 2020 Douglas D. Graham ’67, June 25, 2020 Manivalde Vaartnou ’69, Oct. 8, 2020


Donate to the Archives Ask loved ones to donate your Beta badge and important Beta artifacts to the Fraternity’s Archives and Museum in Oxford. Memorial Gifts The Fraternity is often asked how to memorialize a dearly departed Beta. Memorial gifts can be made at or with Director of Development Laura Lednik at 800.800. BETA. In lieu of flowers, consider naming the Beta Leadership Fund in your own obituary.

Bethany Michael R. Barrett ’61, Oct. 31, 2020

Bowdoin Charles W. Howard II ’54, Nov. 5, 2020 Robert B. Mason ’50, May 1, 2020 Laurence E. Pope II ’67, Oct. 31, 2020 C

Bowling Green Kenyon H. Sangdahl ’96, Sept. 25, 2020

British Columbia

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Dickinson John E. Person ’40, July 29, 2019

Duke Richard G. Cornwell ’59, May 30, 2020 Chester S. Giltz Jr. ’59, Sept. 19, 2019 L. W. McLain Jr. ’57, Nov. 11, 2019 Thomas H. Melton ’64, Sept. 3, 2019 Peter I. Sheft ’77, Aug. 28, 2019 Kenneth E. Vincent ’46, April 18, 2019

Eastern Kentucky


Troy L. Mullins Jr. ’95, Nov. 28, 2020

Robert E. Kresko ’59, April 21, 2020 C


Carnegie Mellon

Bryant L. Day ’67, Dec. 15, 2020 C

Cecil J. Minor ’51, Oct. 10, 2020 C Robert E. Templeton ’53, Nov. 28, 2020

Georgia Tech

Case William J. Cobb ’53, Jan. 6, 2020

Cincinnati George Benzing III ’50, May 29, 2020 C Thomas W. Brotherton ’47, Aug. 29, 2020 Mark H. Paul II ’77, Jan. 4, 2021

John A. Neal ’56, Dec. 27, 2019 C

Idaho John B. Drips ’53, Oct. 9, 2020

Illinois Calvin L. DeWeerdt ’64, Nov. 3, 2020

John T. Palmer ’48, Aug. 31, 2020

Louisville Gary R. Haseker ’72, Oct. 11, 2020

Maryland Todd D. Emde ’90, Jan. 5, 2021 Tyler P. Hawkins ’93, Nov. 16, 2020

Miami Theodore C. Hardy ’56, Jan. 22, 2020 Donald J. McGinley ’53, Dec. 11, 2020 C William J. Schewe Jr. ’71, May 18, 2020 Kenneth M. Strader ’58, Nov. 4, 2020

Michigan Richard A. Conover ’53, April 9, 2020

Michigan State Duane K. Roskoskey ’79, Sept. 13, 2020

Minnesota John W. Greenman ’44, July 5, 2019 C David T. Hoffman ’64, Dec. 22, 2020 Bradford S. Lewis ’70, Aug. 27, 2019 James B. Stoltman ’57, Sept. 11, 2019 C Gerald R. Wilson ’52, Nov. 4, 2020 C David M. Ziegenhagen ’58, Jan. 29, 2020

Mississippi Ronnie L. Bethay ’76, Jan. 14, 2021


Robert R. Foster ’50, Nov. 15, 2020 Robert L. Hedges ’63, Oct. 5, 2020 Edward R. Karrmann ’66, Oct. 9, 2020 C Charles H. Welch ’55, Dec. 17, 2020 C

Michael W. Bennett ’71, Oct. 5, 2020 David E. Eden ’62, Sept. 18, 2020 C Mark A. Gibbs ’77, Nov. 14, 2020 Bill C. Healey ’57, March 7, 2019 Joe Jackson IV ’56, Oct. 12, 2020 C James B. Judd ’60, Sept. 2, 2019

John L. Hatcher ’54, Sept. 25, 2020 C

Iowa Clark A. Colby ’52, Dec. 12, 2020 Howard P. Myers ’59, Dec. 31, 2020 John D. Swanson ’51, Dec. 14, 2020 C



Clemson Brian P. LaBombard ’88, Nov. 22, 2020


Jack S. Rook ’46, Nov. 18, 2020 C

Colorado Mines Richard G. Martin ’50, May 1, 2020 C

Columbia Vincent C. Gerosa ’59, Nov. 20, 2020 C


Robert A. Brenner ’52, Jan. 12, 2021 Flags indicate Betas who served in the United States or Canadian armed forces.


Davidson George W. Gunn ’47, Oct. 5, 2020 William C. Pollard ’47, March 27, 2020 C


Iowa State Daniel B. Guernsey ’56, March 22, 2020

Johns Hopkins Lyle F. Gulley Jr. ’72, Nov. 6, 2020

Kansas John D. Cleland ’58, Nov. 7, 2020 C Charles L. Foster Jr. ’59, Dec. 11, 2019 Nation Meyer ’43, Nov. 12, 2020 C Wallace A. Richardson ’58, Nov. 19, 2020 C

Donn W. Barber ’42, Oct. 16, 2020 Bruce G. Brown ’62, Jan. 1, 2021

Nebraska William C. Duven ’79, Nov. 15, 2020 David K. Karnes ’71, Oct. 25, 2020 Charles P. Meehan ’56, Nov. 13, 2020 Gale M. Olmsted ’60, March 2, 2020 Richard M. Reische ’57, Dec. 2, 2020 C

North Carolina John R. Bender Jr. ’59, Oct. 15, 2020 C

North Dakota Thomas A. Bonneville ’62, Nov. 5, 2020 C Jaryl P. Hanson ’61, May 23, 2020

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South Dakota


Joseph W. Ruklick ’59, Sept. 17, 2020

Darrell J. Buckmeier ’60, Sept. 25, 2020 James T. Lewis ’65, Nov. 30, 2020 Avery P. Long Jr. ’58, Aug. 30, 2020 W. W. Smith ’50, Nov. 5, 2020 C Norman F. Torrison ’56, Aug. 1, 2020

James J. Goubeaux ’58, Oct. 5, 2019

Nova Southeastern Christopher D. Cronin ’96, Dec. 2, 2020


Walter M. Haas ’67, May 30, 2020

Thomas C. Abbott ’74, April 8, 2020 Frank T. Elieff ’48, May 5, 2019 Charles W. Lee ’78, Feb. 2, 2020 Robert R. Lynch Jr. ’81, Nov. 13, 2020 Arthur H. McKean ’65, Oct. 14, 2020

Southern Illinois

Washington and Lee

Matthew G. Scheffler ’02, Nov. 26, 2020

Charles M. Patrick Jr. ’55, Dec. 22, 2020 C John R. Tobyanson ’51, Jan. 31, 2019 James W. Yursik ’74, March 7, 2019

Donald R. Czech Jr. ’79, Sept. 6, 2020 Jeffrey S. Davidson ’81, July 6, 2019 Randall V. Greig ’53, Oct. 27, 2019 John F. Kroner Jr. ’58, Nov. 28, 2020 C Donald C. Watson ’48, Aug. 14, 2020

Southern California

Ohio State

St. Lawrence

Thomas M. Forsythe Jr. ’49, Aug. 2, 2019 Robert M. McNair ’65, Nov. 5, 2020 Daniel B. Menerey ’77, Jan. 15, 2021

David R. White ’62, Dec. 21, 2020 C

Ohio Wesleyan

Stanford Peter H. LaChapelle ’58, Nov. 3, 2020



Paul E. Farley ’52, Nov. 5, 2020

Oklahoma State

Oregon State Rodger G. Bekooy ’64, Nov. 13, 2020 C Dennis C. Brundage ’59, Dec. 14, 2020 Vernon E. Cook II ’58, Oct. 12, 2020 C James B. Gordon ’60, Nov. 24, 2020 C Alfred A. Loeb Jr. ’48, July 5, 2020 William B. Schultz ’66, Oct. 1, 2020 C Paul A. Workinger ’75, March 7, 2020

Penn State Phillip J. Craul ’54, Dec. 17, 2020 C David H. McNaughton ’66, Oct. 8, 2020 Scott W. Remmey ’83, Sept. 18, 2020 James B. Smith ’50, Dec. 27, 2020 C William J. VanPelt ’48, Sept. 28, 2020 C

Purdue Brian Morgan ’88, Oct. 25, 2020

Rutgers Roy S. Bauer ’64, Dec. 3, 2020 C L. D. O’Brien ’64, July 10, 2020 C William J. Speranza ’62, March 8, 2020

San Diego State David K. Ball ’91, Oct. 15, 2020

Sewanee John R. White ’67, Nov. 24, 2020 C

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Syracuse Texas

J. P. Biesterfeldt ’45, Dec. 5, 2019 Allan E. Brennecke ’49, Sept. 25, 2020 C C. R. Nash ’44, Oct. 5, 2020 C

Washington State Myron D. Hawkes ’58, Sept. 24, 2020 C Robert A. Kramer ’51, Aug. 14, 2020 Carl A. Lippert ’69, Dec. 8, 2020 C Clifford H. Rankin ’43, Sept. 4, 2020 C

Donald E. Baty ’63, Dec. 16, 2020 James M. Brown ’71, Oct. 20, 2020 Samuel D. Dibrell ’63, Jan. 4, 2021 Jack K. Larsen Jr. ’71, Feb. 14, 2020 Thomas S. Underwood IV ’63, Nov. 6, 2020 Thomas R. White ’46, April 6, 2019

Weber State

Texas Tech

Clarence R. Burdette ’42, Aug. 3, 2020 Kent S. Hall ’49, Oct. 16, 2020 C C. A. Heyl ’74, April 29, 2020 William N. Stadler ’58, Nov. 1, 2020

Lucas G. Alstatt ’21, Nov. 6, 2020 William T. Snuffer Jr. ’71, Nov. 29, 2020

Tulane Brooke H. Duncan II ’52, Jan. 13, 2020

UC Berkeley

Steven R. Smout ’94, Jan. 10, 2021

Wesleyan Robert C. Buckingham ’49, Dec. 10, 2020

West Virginia

Western Ontario Robert M. McClelland ’55, Dec. 6, 2020

Robert L. Coleman ’49, Jan. 8, 2020 George G. Hall ’49, Sept. 1, 2020 C John P. McNicholas ’12, Nov. 15, 2020 John H. Milliken ’50, Nov. 22, 2020 C

Western Reserve


William H. Danforth II ’48, Sept. 16, 2020 C Robert C. Hunter ’49, Aug. 2, 2019

Richard S. Atlas ’65, Nov. 12, 2020 Leroy L. Carver Jr. ’48, Sept. 24, 2020 C Phillip L. Friedman ’64, Oct. 22, 2020 Roy E. Gaunt ’49, March 6, 2020 Robert T. Osborn ’46, Sept. 16, 2020 C

Charles W. Kitchen ’48, Nov. 7, 2020 C Robert T. Palko ’69, Nov. 28, 2020


Wichita State James E. Driscoll ’62, Sept. 28, 2020 C Lawrence E. Lallement ’63, Dec. 5, 2020 C



Don F. Bradshaw ’47, Dec. 3, 2020 C Richard D. Monson ’49, Jan. 22, 2019 G. R. Pearson ’66, Oct. 17, 2020 C

Larry C. Thompson ’57, Sept. 15, 2020

Vanderbilt Henry D. Jamison III ’52, Dec. 5, 2020 C

Virginia J. R. Martin Jr. ’52, Dec. 4, 2020 C

Williams John P. Lovell III ’50, Nov. 22, 2019 Jay O. Sikes ’48, June 21, 2020

Wisconsin Kenneth W. Kloehn ’63, Oct. 9, 2020 Elliott A. Meisenheimer ’54, March 15, 2020 Albert L. Winegar ’54, Oct. 23, 2020 C

Fallis A. Beall Oklahoma ’55 November 10, 2020 A longtime house corporation volunteer and Foundation donor, Fallis had a successful career establishing several companies in the concrete and construction industries. Dr. William H. Danforth II Westminster ’48 September 16, 2020 Serving as chancellor for 24 of his more than 65 years of service to Washington University in St. Louis, Bill was also an emeritus trustee and led the university into an era of remarkable accomplishment.


Bryan P. Curtis ’05, Dec. 11, 2020 Frederick F. Drummond ’53, Oct. 18, 2020 C Larry R. Herring ’66, June 1, 2020 Rolland A. Nash III ’68, Dec. 16, 2020

Carmelo V. Pernicone ’49, Aug. 9, 2019

Washington in St. Louis

David K. Karnes Nebraska ’71 October 25, 2020 Appointed U.S. Senator of Nebraska (1987-89), David was also the president and CEO of The Fairmont Group, a merchant banking and consulting company.


Rogers J. Johnson ’80, Nov. 12, 2020 Gardiner S. Lawrence ’92, Nov. 1, 2020 David B. Weisman ’57, Dec. 14, 2020

Fallis A. Beall ’55, Nov. 10, 2020 Bruce W. Collier ’67, Oct. 6, 2020 Virgil B. Medlock Jr. ’59, Dec. 11, 2020 Edward K. Norfleet Jr. ’75, Jan. 7, 2021 Harry V. Worten ’54, Oct. 17, 2020 C


Col. James H. Kyle Kansas State ’55 May 4, 2020 Retiring as a colonel following a distinguished 30-year career, Jim served as director of special operations for the Pacific Air Forces Headquarters.

James E. Driscoll Wichita State/SMU ’62 Sept. 28, 2020 A loyal Beta Foundation donor, Jimmy established J. Driscoll & Associates and revolutionized the collection and reconciliation processes for the banking and business sectors.

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beta eponyms worldwide tributes “Per the company’s famous employee handbook, ‘Rule #1: Use good judgment. Rule #2: Refer back to Rule #1.”

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Withdrawn from school by his mother at just 11 years old to work the family farm after the death of his father, Johan Nordstrom emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 from a small village in Sweden. He landed in New York with just $5 in his pocket and worked his way across the country wherever he could get a job: railways, mines, lumber yards and shipyards. By 1896 he settled in Seattle and eventually opened a shoe store in 1901 with close friend Carl Wallin. Retiring in 1928 with seven stores, he and Wallin sold the business to Nordstrom’s University of Washington Beta sons, Everett ’23, Elmer ’26 and Lloyd ’33. A classic rags-to-riches American story, Nordstrom has grown to 100 department stores and 248 Nordstrom Racks thanks to the leadership of Nordstrom sons, grandsons and great-grandsons – 10 of whom wear the Beta badge. Former CEO Bruce Nordstrom, Washington ’55, and his Beta sons Blake ’82, Pete ’84, and Erik ’85, have led the company since 1968. Known for impeccable customer service thanks to the cult-like culture of its 68,000 employees, Nordstrom is routinely ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Per the company’s famous employee handbook, “Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Rule #1: Use good judgment. Rule #2: Refer back to rule #1.”

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SAVE THE DATE | APRIL 21, 2021 Last year, a staggering 1,900 brothers, parents and friends from across the globe participated in the inaugural Giving Day Challenge. Now, the Beta Foundation is shaking things up and making this year even bigger and better than before. Follow along on April 21 when leaderboards go live and chapter competitions kick off for the 2021 Giving Day Challenge! Are you ready to show your Beta Spirit?

ONE DAY. ONE BROTHERHOOD. b e t a . o r g /g i v i n g c h a l l e n g e

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ON YOU. It’s not too late to participate in the Beta Census 2021 project. A 10-minute phone call is all it takes for you to help your fraternity: Create an updated member directory Increase support for career networking

Enhance alumni engagement opportunities Call 877.741.5936 and verify your member record today.


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