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W ith a Greek c ommunity in c risis, B eta reflects on th e one yea r a nniv ersa ry of Tim P ia zza’s de ath — a nd c ha rts the c ourse for its futur e.



Following a $5 million capital campaign led by Theta Delta alumni, the Ohio State Chapter is all moved in to its new home.


© Cory Klein Photography






Beta published several hundred stories on social media in 2017. Check out which headlines ranked in the top 10.

On February 4, 2017, a new chapter of Beta’s story began after the tragic death of New Member Tim Piazza, Penn State ’20.

Beta’s Board of Trustees announces a new strategic plan and six strategies to combat hazing, elevate housing standards and more.




DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Letter .......................................... 4

You Asked ............................................... 48

Archives ...................................................... 5

Campus Life ........................................... 50

Newsworthy .............................................. 6

Opening of the Door ......................... 54

The Inbox ................................................... 8

Chapter Eternal .....................................56

Alumni News .......................................... 10

Bridge Builder ........................................59



“Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson, Author I first heard that quote from now-retired Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and former General Fraternity President Tom Purinton, Kansas State ’63. Longtime chapter counselor at the University of Georgia, and beloved facilitator at Beta’s leadership programs, he would always follow it up with his own twist, “The question remains, will we feast or famine?”




Speaking of consequences, if any year in modern memory served to shed light on the real issues facing Beta Theta Pi and the Greek community of which it is a part, 2017 was it. Experiencing our own heartbreaking tragedy in the death of Penn State New Member Tim Piazza ’20, which was followed incomprehensibly by three other fraternities’ student deaths due to hazing and the forced consumption of alcohol, it’s no wonder 30plus campuses across North America have levied en masse suspensions on their fraternities and sororities. There’s a problem. And it’s systemic. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending upon how you look at it – these incidents only underscore the cultural issues that are at the heart of today’s fraternity and sorority communities. They’re real. They’re serious. And they’re unlikely to solve themselves. That’s why, believing “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and consistent with our approach of trying to report objectively on the Fraternity as opposed to just pushing organizational propaganda, Beta’s editorial team made the decision to document in this issue an expansive summary of the events that led to Tim’s passing. For no generation of the Fraternity should escape such critical lessons learned. Difficult as it may be to read (and accept), it’s now a part of Beta’s history. And we must own it – forever. Yet, we must also look forward. For we cannot change the past, but we most assuredly – and optimistically – must influence the future. So, you will also find in this issue an extensive recap of the Board of Trustees’ strategic plan to combat hazing, address substance-abuse and advance Beta’s men of principle mission. The vast majority have lauded the analysis and the Trustees’ corresponding actions, recognizing that change is never easy. But change we must if we’re to ensure Beta isn’t starved of a promising future. For there is no greater consequence than the health and safety of 10,000 young men who wear our badge and bear our name. Sincerely and yours in ___kai___,



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

EDITOR Martin Cobb, Eastern Kentucky ’96

PUBLICATION SCHEDULE Issue Deadline Winter October 15 Spring January 15 Summer April 15


Mail Date December 15 March 15 June 15

SEND PICTURES, STORY CONCEPTS AND ADDRESS CHANGES TO: Beta Theta Pi Foundation & Administrative Office Brennan Hall 5134 Bonham Road PO Box 6277 Oxford, Ohio 45056 800.800.BETA or beta@beta.org

MANAGING EDITOR Mike Roupas, Iowa ’10

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sarah Shepherd DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA Mike Rodmaker, Cincinnati ’13 PUBLICATION PRINTER The Watkins Printing Company Columbus, Ohio PHOTOGRAPHY Cory Klein Photography Art Lein

WHO GETS THE MAGAZINE? Upon initiation, each Beta is guaranteed a lifetime subscription to The Beta Theta Pi. That commitment by the Fraternity remains, although for a variety of reasons some no longer wish to receive the hard-copy version. So, who automatically receives the Fraternity’s magazine? All undergraduates and parents, current and former Beta volunteers, donors to the Beta Foundation, and any alumnus who documents his preference to receive the hard copy with the Administrative Office in Oxford. One can easily do so at 800.800.BETA, beta@beta.org or my.beta.org. HOW DOES ONE GET PUBLISHED? Content submissions for the magazine are always encouraged and certainly welcomed. While space constraints naturally make it difficult for the editorial staff to include every idea presented, a fair evaluation process is exercised in order to publish the greatest variety of chapters, generations, geographical regions, events and unique member achievements and stories. Pictures should be submitted in high resolution at beta@beta.org.

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 summer 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, 2017. Produced in the USA. WANT INSTANT ACCESS TO A PAST BETA MAGAZINE? Every issue of The Beta Theta Pi since its founding on December 15, 1872, can be accessed in Beta’s online, keyword-searchable digital archive: magazine.beta.org.


In September 1963, Ohio State Pledge Ron Steakley ’67, far right, offered up his 1948 Chevy for his fellow pledge brothers to promote an upcoming ballot initiative funding higher education. The men used white shoe polish to paint Ron’s Chevy (which he purchased for just $100!) before driving it around Columbus, Ohio, donned in Beta clothing. The end result? The Ohio Bonds for Public Improvements Amendment was approved, allowing for up to $250 million in bonds to provide for public improvements.









With the books closed, making official 2,509 men pledged in fall 2017, the Fraternity broke the 2,500-person mark for only the second time in history. The Fraternity’s chapters and colonies worked incredibly hard throughout the summer and early fall to ensure the lifeblood of the Fraternity was nourished with principled young men and leaders. (Above, Carleton’s fall 2017 pledge class.)

As though 10 Betas elected student body president last spring weren’t an indication of the character of Beta Theta Pi, this fall interfraternal peers elevated 19 Betas to lead their IFCs. “The Father of the Interfraternity Movement,” Beta’s own William Raimond Baird, Stevens 1878/Columbia 1881, would certainly be proud. (Above, Henry Poulin, Northeastern ’19; see page 50 for extended coverage.)


The Fraternity is pleased to announce it has been selected to re/colonize the following campuses in the 2018-19 academic year. Contact Director of Expansion David Greis, Kentucky ’14, at david.greis@beta.org to learn how you can support the young men who will build these strong new Beta chapters: 1) University of Colorado Boulder (Beta Tau Chapter) 2) Florida Gulf Coast University 3) James Madison University (pictured) 4) University of New Mexico

General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73, has named lore enthusiast Zac Haines, Miami ’05, as Beta’s sixth General Fraternity Archivist since 1891. betahaines@gmail.com


This year’s undergraduates have access to some slick Beta socks by joining the Sons of the Dragon Club with a gift of $18.39 to the BLF by April 1: beta.org/dragons.

Following an investigation into the chapter’s new member program due to reports of alleged hazing – which was met with resistance, a lack of transparency and no effort to hold individuals accountable – the Board of Trustees announced closure of the Alpha Rho Chapter at Washington and Lee on February 26, 2018. In the days that followed, General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73, shared, “Let there be no misunderstanding, Beta Theta Pi will not condone hazing by any chapter, at any time, on any campus. The choice is clear and the Fraternity’s position is unequivocal.”

Norfolk, Virginia, will play home to the 179th General Convention, and it’s sure to be another one for the history books. Registration is now open at beta.org/convention!


Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnus and actress Meghan Markle, Northwestern ’03, recently became engaged to Prince Harry. The couple will marry at Windsor Castle on May 19.



24 PURDUE INSTALLATION West Lafayette, Ind. kfoelli@purdue.edu 24 QUINNIPIAC INSTALLATION Hamden, Conn. matthew.coughlin@quinnipiac.edu

APRIL 2018

5 WILLAMETTE INSTALLATION Salem, Ore. edlevy@willamette.edu

In the wake of four tragic student deaths in 2017 due to alcohol and hazing, more than 30 universities and colleges to date have suspended the activities of their fraternities and sororities. Above, President John Thrasher announces Florida State’s suspension following the death of Pi Kappa Phi New Member Andrew Coffey.






State Rep. John DeBerry (Memphis) recently filed a bill in the Tennessee House that seeks to remove fraternities and sororities from all public universities in the state. He added, “The assaults, hazing and just bad behavior — you have to force the argument.”

Backing its National Board of Directors, delegates of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s 2017 Grand Chapter passed a fraternity-wide subtance-free housing policy effective August 1, 2020. Sig Ep, one of North America’s largest fraternities, became the third national fraternity to do so, along with Farmhouse and Phi Delta Theta.

JUNE 2018 2-6 WOODEN INSTITUTE (#1-3) 9-13 Oxford, Ohio 23-27 beta.org

JULY 2018 7-11 WOODEN INSTITUTE (#4) Oxford, Ohio beta.org

AUGUST 2018 2-5 179TH GENERAL CONVENTION Norfolk, Va. beta.org/convention 16 52ND ANNUAL NORTHEAST OHIO ALUMNI STEAKOUT Canton, Ohio betathetapi.neoh@gmail.com

Following student deaths at Penn State (Beta Theta Pi) and LSU (Phi Delta Theta), two more fraternity men passed last fall at Florida State (Pi Kappa Phi) and Texas State (Phi Kappa Psi) due to alleged hazing and the forced consumption of alcohol. Charges in all four cases are pending.

Following “an extensive review of its existing policies,” Sigma Chi’s executive committee announced in January five measures to address campus issues, including banning hard alcohol from chapter houses and reducing pledge programs to a maximum of five weeks.


MAY 2018



7 OHIO STATE INSTALLATION Columbus, Ohio kennedy.919@osu.edu 10 NAPLES ALUMNI LUNCHEON Naples, Fla. davidcnordhoff@gmail.com 14 TEXAS INSTALLATION Austin, Texas jacobavillarreal@gmail.com 14 DENVER ALUMNI EVENT (ALPHA ZETA CHAPTER) Denver, Colo. salbertoni@msn.com 21 WESTMINSTER 150TH ANNIV. Fulton, Mo. jmiddlet@charter.net 26 PORTLAND ALUMNI LUNCHEON Portland, Ore. doug.houser@bullivant.com 26-29 MIT 105TH ANNIVERSARY Cambridge, Mass. mike_feinstein@yahoo.com 27-29 BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING Washington, D.C. jeff.rundle@beta.org

“Not sure if you guys keep a digital archive of the vast array of Beta T-shirts, but I did see a memorable one this past weekend at our annual pledge/ alumni vs. active football game.” —Scott Falconer, Western Ontario ’82 g.scott.falconer@gmail.com


“My two-year-old son loved the feature article on #Batman Adam West this month. He couldn’t stop saying, ‘read it, read it.’ Thanks for sending. #legacy —Sam Grefrath, Truman State ’03 Kansas City, Missouri sam.grefrath@gmail.com “Just read through the magazine. Loved the balance you were able to hit between recognizing what is great about Beta and the work we obviously still need to do. Also loved reading the speeches from Convention as well. Great work and send my compliments to the team.” —Bradley de Wet, Virginia Tech ’10 Baltimore, Maryland bradley.dewet@gmail.com

“I loved the feature on “Batman,” as he was my pledge brother and roommate in the Beta house for one semester. Of course, there are a few things you may not know about him: 1) He chose to go by the name “Adam,” since Adam was “first.” (Bill, as we called him, was a bit of an ego guy.) 2) His nickname was “Cosmo,” which stood for “Cosmopolitan.” (He gave it to himself.) 3) Seriously, he was a fun guy and a great Beta. My only regret is that he didn’t get to see this fantastic tribute by the Fraternity. He would’ve eaten it up. Would you mind sending me 20 copies so I can share it with our non-Beta classmates at Whitman? They will love it!” —Frank W. Hagerty, Whitman ’50 Green Valley, Arizona

THEINBOX Take a peek at unfiltered feedback shared with the Fraternity.

“Thank you so much for information on gifts made to the Beta Foundation in memory of my dad, Bob Ragan, Wabash ’49. He wore his Beta blazer to be buried in, along with his Wabash College tie. I grew up hearing nothing but Beta. He loved the Betas. Years ago I got stranded in Vincennes, Indiana, on a Sunday needing a fuel pump. I was barely out of college and was without the funds. My dad got his Beta book out and found a Beta from Wabash he knew who was a veterinarian in Vincennes. That man came to my rescue. Paid for my fuel pump, as well as a room for the night and money for gas and meals home. It truly amazed me at his generosity. My father was remembered as a gentleman and for his integrity. I imagine the Betas had some part of that. I have yet to know a Beta who wasn’t the same type of man.” —Shelly Ragan

PENN STATEREACTIONS “Booze free chapter house a must. (BLF gift enclosed.)” —William W. Jay, Emory ’65 Leesburg, Florida wwjay1@sbcglobal.net “I would like to no longer honor my capital campaign pledge due to the Penn State situation.” —Beta Alumnus

“Recent weeks have shown the urgency of developing principled men. And that’s why I’m a Beta donor.”—Khayree Duckett, Iowa State ’17

For continued coverage of the Penn State tragedy, see page 22.

“I’LL SEE IF HE CAN TAKE A ‘SELFIE.’” Dear Betas, Friends and Family-Want to tell you a Beta story about some of my good University of Dayton brothers. I give a little support to the chapter and, in so doing, I have some of the brothers that need a little gas money help with some well-needed chores around the house and yard. Every so often some of these UD boys travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, and always stop by the “Tri Chi” or Triple X, that’s a long-standing hamburger drivein, not a hundred yards from our old Beta house at Purdue. (Oh, what fond memories.) And the reason they stop is to pick up a 6-pack of “Triple XXX Root Beer,” bottled in West Lafayette, and bring it back to me as a gift, wrapped in clear cellophane (with gold dots) and tied with gold and black ribbon, the Purdue colors!! If only you all could taste that Root Beer!! None better, anywhere in the World!! Now, THAT’S what I call good and great Beta Brothers! Just a little happy story I had to share. Best and love to you all. And of course, Yours in --kai--, John “Jack” Longstreth, Purdue ’51 Dayton, Ohio jwlongstreth@gmail.com P.S. (Have one of my UD brothers, Benton Birch, coming over this afternoon to give ole Jack some needed help. I’ll see if he can take a “selfie” of us with the 6-pack. I’m sure he can.)


“Rather than let our university partners provide the discipline from the outside, we need to step up to the plate and recognize our responsibilities to and for these young men to be!” —John T. Garman, Columbia ’62 Durham, N.C. john@garman.net

“You need to get alcohol out of all fraternity houses now – or give up on the Greek system. Platitudes are outweighed by national action of no alcohol in all Beta chapters, period, starting now. Hard to do? Hard to stay a viable institution if you don’t. -kai-” — John C. Hall M.D., Nebraska ’69 Prairie Village, Kansas spikehall@gmail.com

Benton Birch, Dayton ’18, and Jack Longstreth, Purdue ’51


“From some of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity pictures I have seen on the internet and otherwise, and the local and national information I have on the parties and excessive use of alcohol, and the way that perfectly secure, outgoing, intelligent, young adults are taught to drink, and that drinking too much is a good way to be accepted, popular, etc., I would never, ever consider investing any money in your organization. Please don’t send me any more of your requests for donations or support. I have no respect for your organization.” —Beta Parent

“The loss of the Penn State chapter is enormous. That chapter and that house were so iconic in all the best ways. But they were also vulnerable in ways that are replicated across the nation. The one issue that the national fraternities can address is hazing. There is no place for those activities in 2017. My experience at Ohio University was full of risky behavior that I can only view as juvenile, unnecessary and manipulative. Those days should be long gone and I trust that is true in many locations. These thoughts are offered as a part of the administrative ‘stew’ that you guys are continually stirring. Please add me to the mailing list.” —Dan Williams, Ohio ’61 Fort Myers, Florida danwms@optonline.net


BROTHER SENATOR In one of the most closely watched races of 2017, Beta Theta Pi brother and 1980s district chief Doug Jones, Alabama ’76, was elected on December 12 as Alabama’s next U.S. senator – filling the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


By Martin Cobb, Eastern Kentucky ’96



Jones, a former U.S. Attorney best known for his prosecution of two Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing which killed four African-American girls in 1963, will become the seventh Beta to hold office in the 115th Congress. There, he will join two brothers in the Senate – Bill Nelson, Florida/Yale ’65 (D–Fla.), and Michael Bennet, Wesleyan ’87 (D–Colo.) – and four in the House of Representatives: David McKinley, Purdue ’69 (R–W. Va.); Patrick Meehan, Bowdoin ’78 (R–Pa.); Ami Bera, UC Irvine ’87 (D–Calif.); and Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas State ’84 (R–Kan.). Beta’s longstanding tradition has been to remain apolitical, yet still recognize brothers of all political stripes who take the initiative to run for office and serve the greater good. For his exhaustive efforts to represent the people of the great state of Alabama, the Fraternity celebrates Beta Brother Doug Jones and his Delta Theta Chapter. Joined at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill by three University of Alabama Beta brothers (pictured above), Jones was escorted by former Vice President Joe Biden and sworn in as Alabama’s next U.S. Senator on January 3, 2018. Along with their wives, the Beta delegation was seated in the Family Box of the Senate Gallery. Left to right: Fred Metz ’77, Doug Jones ’76, Rick Tate ’75 and Kent Haney ’75. As shared by Fred Metz, “It was a moving experience we will always remember.”

OU ALUMNUS RUNS FOR STATE SENATE A past chapter president and district chief, Jeff Cartmell, Oklahoma ’09, has announced his state senator candidacy for the 30th District representing the citizens of Oklahoma City. jeffreycartmell@gmail.com


Having survived the Tet Offensive in Vietnam 50 years ago, Paul Pritchard, Missouri ’66, recently completed “A Young Man in War,” which is now available on Amazon. pritchardp@aol.com

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Two-term Mayor Wendell Koontz, Hanover ’83, was recently recognized by his hometown of Hotchkiss, Colorado. wkoontz@bowieresources.com

Never one to rest on his laurels, Lugar quickly established The Lugar Center in 2013 following his sixth and final term in the U.S. Senate. “Focusing on informed debate of global issues” and “enhanced bipartisanship,” The Lugar Center was recently named in the top five percent of all U.S. think tanks by The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. This is the second year in a row The Lugar Center has been ranked so high of the 1,872 that participated in the analysis. In 2014 and 2015, The Lugar Center was recognized as one of the world’s “Best New Think Tanks.”


Andrew Fink, Minnesota ’15, being named the U.S. Army’s 2015 “Best Warrior” and “Noncommissioned Officer of the Year” slipped past Beta’s editorial staff, but documenting his service and achievement for the ages certainly will not.


Largely credited for shaping the state of Indiana’s reputation for fiscal responsibility, State Senator and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Kenley, Miami ’67 (R), stepped down in September to bipartisan accolades after 25 years of public service.



Originally reported by the Indy Star, four former Indianapolis mayors, including Steve Goldsmith, Wabash ’68 (left), joined current Mayor Joe Hogsett (right) on November 13 “to honor Senator and former Indy Mayor Richard Lugar, Denison ’54, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Lugar’s election to the mayoral post. As part of the celebration, Mayor Hogsett announced the renaming of the City-County Building Plaza as the Richard G. Lugar Plaza.”


Tony Valainis of Indianapolis Monthly

DAYTON ALUMNI HONOR FOUNDING CHAPTER COUNSELOR Father Joseph “Teddy” Tedesco, Dayton ’08, may have passed in 2016, but the impact he left on the Founding Fathers of Beta’s Eta Delta chapter at the University of Dayton was mighty. Having been honorarily initiated as a Beta within one year of the chapter’s colonization, 25 of the men closest to him returned for their first homecoming since his passing to congregate at his grave and conduct the Catholic and Beta Burial Services. “Laughing and crying” in Beta roundtable format, they recalled “the beautiful life of our dear brother, chapter counselor, spiritual advisor and friend.”



Homecoming 2017 was a big one for the Delta Alpha Chapter at the University of Western Ontario, as three of its distinguished alumni were honored during the Dean’s Gala for their contributions to the medical community. Pictured right to left: Dr. Cecil Rorabeck ’68, Community Service Award; Dr. David Spence ’65, Professional Achievement Award; and Dr. Paul Romanson ’72, Alumni of Distinction - Dentistry. paul.romanson@gmail.com


Considered the “Father of Battlefield Medicine” for his pioneering approach to medicine in the Civil War, Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Washington & Jefferson 1845, was honored on Veterans Day 2017 by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission with a memorial marker at the site of the Letterman family home in Canonsburg. A co-founder of Beta’s sixth chapter, his Gettysburg battlefield hospital was known as “Camp Letterman,” which treated 14,000 wounded Union soldiers and 6,800 Confederate fighters left behind. A replica of the wheeling ambulance he co-designed for the ambulance corps he established was on display for the ceremony. (Fun fact: Letterman’s brother, William, was an 1852 co-founder of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.)


Dr. Gary Carlson, Oregon State ’74, has transformed OSU’s veterinary college with a $50 million gift – the largest ever received. The school will now be known as the Gary R. Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

EKU BETA HONORED BY USA TRACK & FIELD MASTERS Blake Burchell, Eastern Kentucky ’90, was recently honored with the 2017 USA Track & Field Masters Outstanding Male Long Distance Running Award for the state of Kentucky. blake.burchell@gmail.com

PGA BETA BROTHERS Scott McCarron, UCLA ’89, erased a six-shot deficit to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship last summer. After his win, McCarron caught up with Joe Rotellini, Bethany ’77, PGA tournament executive director. joerote@comcast.net

BETAS FORM “FANWIDE” STARTUP A free website and app that connects sports fans via local watch parties, FanWide.com was started by Duke Betas Harold Hawkins ’04, Symon Perriman ’07, Jeff Sarvas ’07 and John Harris, Texas ’91.


Featured in a recent issue of the Houston Chronicle, Beta brother and former Student Body President Jamey Rootes, Clemson ’88, relishes his role as president of the Houston Texans. Acclaimed for his drive, work ethic and people skills, Rootes “insists the business side and the football will always be joined at the hip, winning and losing together, one for all and all for one. ‘A football team has an offense, a defense, special teams. Each unit has to do its job.’”


UCLAAthletic Director Dan Guerrero ’74, has been named recipient of the 2017 John L. Toner Award by the College Football Hall of Fame, recognizing America’s leading college athletic director. Honored in New York City on December 5, Guerrero becomes the first-ever sitting athletics director from the west coast to receive the honor. In 2006, long-time athletic director at The University of Texas, DeLoss Dodds, Kansas State ’59, also received the prestigious honor. The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame was founded in 1947 by Gen. Douglas MacArthur; journalist Grantland Rice, Phi Delta Theta; and Army football coach Earl “Red” Blaik, Miami 1918.



BETA ALUMNI UNITE IN THE BIG D With 47 attendees from 26 chapters, the Dallas/Ft. Worth Alumni Association’s fall luncheon welcomed (left to right) General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73, Club Secretary Tom McCasland, Oklahoma ’56, Club President Pax Glenn, North Carolina ’58, General Fraternity President Bob Schnese, Wisconsin ’83, and Beta Foundation Director Robert Beall, Oklahoma ’80. ALUMNI NEWS 14



The Fraternity is saddened to report the passing of Dr. John “Bill” Kinsinger, Westminster ’84, a 55-year-old anesthesiologist, pilot and animal lover, whose plane recently went missing in the Gulf of Mexico during an animal rescue mission. Bill was meant to land near Houston to pick up an 11-year-old husky named Masaru that was at risk of being euthanized, but is believed to have suffered from hypoxia mid-air and veered off course. In his three years as a volunteer pilot, Bill saved more than 1,000 dogs. Learn more about the family’s effort to recover his body at beta.org/kinsinger.

BETA’S BROAD DOMAIN Even though he had more than 1,800 photos and videos to process upon returning home from Antarctica, it’s good to know Justin Janaskie, Mississippi ’05, didn’t forget to capture one with the flag of his favorite fraternity. Earth’s southernmost continent never looked better. jjanaskie@gmail.com



Commemorating 50 years since they first came together as pledge brothers at the University of Oklahoma, 35 of that original 50-man pledge class traveled back to Norman last fall from as far away as China to celebrate their Beta bond. As shared by Rich Taylor, Oklahoma ’72, “The group represented all walks of life, a myriad of careers and journeys that started together in the Beta house. This 50th reunion, the stories, the laughter and joy of reuniting will be with us forever.”

Some 140 Betas convened in Indianapolis in November for the 106th Indiana Conclave. With remarks from Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Beta Executive Director Jeff Rundle, Kansas State ’03, a highlight was the welcoming of Butler’s 47 Founding Fathers.

VANDERBILT BETA NAMED CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES In late July, Jon Peede, Vanderbilt ’91, was appointed by President Trump as acting director of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior, he served as senior deputy chairman of the agency, as well as in leadership roles at the National Endowment for the Arts. Peede holds degrees from both Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.

FRANCIS LOTT, Georgia Tech ’58, has been awarded the Dean Griffin Community Service Award by Georgia Tech.

FRED MALIK, George Mason ’93, has been named vice president by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

DAROL RODROCK, Kansas ’66, has been named by the Fraternity’s Kansas City Alumni Association as Beta Man of the Year.

PAUL ROTHMAN, MIT ’80, has been named to a second term as dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

JARED THOMPSON, Centre ’17, has been named to the Central/West Africa, non-partisan, National Democratic Institute.

CHRISTIAN WEST, Virginia ’09, was recently featured by UVA as a firstgeneration college student excelling in all respects.

JOE ZIDLE, Emory ’95, a Crain “40 Under 40” honoree, has been named Blackstone’s new investment strategist.


MIAMI TRIAD TOP BRASS Hailing from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, three men hold a special bond given their service as presidents of their Miami Triad fraternities. Gathering together December 6, 2017, and pictured left to right, this special fraternity of its own includes Bob Joseph (Sigma Chi), Doug Houser, Willamette ’57, (Beta Theta Pi), and Ed Whipple (Phi Delta Theta). doug.houser@bullivant.com


Email specifics and high-resolution photos to beta@beta.org and it may be featured in an upcoming issue of The Beta Theta Pi!


CHRIS CIANCIMINO, Wisconsin-Oshkosh ’00, has been named director of regional development for National Review Institute.

A star tennis player while in college, Duane Lundy, Eastern Kentucky ’91, recently produced and engineered two classic remakes, “Don’t Pass Me By”and “Photograph,” from “Give More Love,” former Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr’s 19th solo album. Vocal contributions included the Lexington/Louisville group Vandaveer and a cameo by Paul McCartney.


DAVID BENTSON, Miami ’05, has been named to the “Top 40 Under 40” in car collection by Sports Car Market magazine.





© Cory Klein Photography


INSIDE OHIO STATE by Mike Roupas, Iowa ’10


A LOOK BACK A student report in the June 1891 Beta magazine describes Theta Delta’s first time living together under one roof: “Our chapter house, which was for the first term a sort of experiment, has proved a success, both socially and financially … We find that chapter house life tends to strengthen the chapter and to promote its best interests in every way, without considering the advantages in convenience.” After one year of calling 1831 North High Street home, Theta Delta students followed up with approval in Beta’s August 1892 issue: “After a year’s trial, the chapter house has proved more than a mere luxury. It is an economical way of living, considering its comforts.” Fast forward 125 years later, and Theta Delta sentiments toward housing remain true. After the chapter recolonized in 2014 following a two-year period of closure stemming from risk management issues, alumni launched its $5 million capital campaign, “The Campaign for Theta Delta: A Return to Principles” to ensure the new Refounding Fathers started off strong.


Since its founding on December 11, 1885, the Theta Delta Chapter at Ohio State has consistently made strides to prioritize safe, competitive housing for its brothers that is conducive to supporting a strong, lifelong brotherhood. With its historic chapter motto, “The spirit conquers,” it’s no surprise that today’s Theta Delta alumni challenged themselves to start from the bottom up to completely overhaul the chapter house — for the fourth time since its founding.




© Cory Klein Photography


A RETURN TO PRINCIPLES Currently located at 165 E. 15th Avenue, House Corporation President Joe Chinnici, Ohio State ’64, says, “We’ve had this location for at least 117 years. There have been three houses at this location. In each case, the houses were demolished and a new house was built. The first and second houses were up for 58 years.” But when Theta Delta alumni learned of university-wide changes that required all first- and second-year students to live on campus in either the residence halls

or in chapter houses within the Greek community that met certain standards, it was clear the house would need major work to remain competitive with the new, state-of-the-art residence halls. “The exterior of the most recent house was beautiful with pillars, but the overall design was so fortified,” said Chinnici. “All the walls were cement block, the floors were poured cement. We couldn’t change the layout of the house to accommodate technology. The house was set up with common restrooms and showers —





A LOOK INSIDE THE OHIO STATE BETA HOUSE A | Beta undergraduates enjoy the entry foyer, featuring a seating area beside the wooden staircase with Beta dragon accents in the banister. The room’s terrazzo flooring is both beautiful and durable, featuring the Beta Coat of Arms prominently to all who walk through the front door.

B | Seated in the foyer, active brothers stand behind Dr. “J” Javaune Adams-Gaston, senior vice president for student life, and University President Dr. Michael V. Drake after enjoying an hour-long house tour the day before the chapter’s official house dedication event.

C | The men enjoy meals that are prepared in their full-service kitchen by Campus Cooks, a firm that specializes in fraternity and sorority meal plans. D | Most bedrooms are two men to a room, with a pair of lofted beds, desks and wardrobes with a “Jack and Jill” connecting bathroom.

we had one big shower on each floor, so there was no privacy. When we estimated what a renovation might cost, we realized it would be comparable to starting over.” BREAKING GROUND With an aim set high to be the premier chapter facility in the Greek Community, a steering committee — led by Capital Campaign Chairmen Dominic Bagnoli ’85 and David Wright ’67 — began to research modern-day properties done well, including Beta’s homes at Missouri and Oklahoma, and enlisted the help of

Dan Pickett ’80, of architectural firm Moody Nolan, to draw up the design for the 24,565 square foot home. One year later, construction on the substance-free chapter house was successfully completed. THE SPIRIT CONQUERS The chapter welcomed alumni and guests to its house dedication ceremony on August 26, 2017. Theta Delta showed its gratitude for a generous $1 million gift by David Brennan ’53, by dedicating the house as “Brennan Hall.” In addition to his bar-setting gift in memory of his brother,


Thomas Brennan ’51, nearly 150 Theta Delta brothers followed suit with gifts of their own to ensure the chapter’s legacy on campus. As for the current 114 active members, the men were excited to move into their new home last fall, operating at full occupancy with nearly 50 live-in members. Successfully earning their charter at the 178th General Convention, Theta Delta brothers across generations have collectively proven that, indeed, “The spirit conquers” in Columbus. 



E | With room to fit 64 men comfortably, the dining room is twice the size of the old one, allowing more brothers the opportunity to enjoy a meal while watching a game together.

G | The design of the house prioritizes academics, with four unique study rooms – each with a different layout and furniture to accomodate varying private and group study needs.

F | The formal living room features display cases for historic artifacts and a grand piano perfect for song practice.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS | The house includes a sprinkler system throughout and is ADA compliant with three

bedrooms and an elevator to support accessibility needs. It features seven prints of famed artist George Bellows, Ohio State 1905 (originator of “The Beta Grip”), a house director suite, a parking lot for 40 cars, a recreation room complete with a TV and pool table, a fitness center and a Chapter Hall dedicated to meetings and ceremonies.



Stories of 2017



Based upon analysis of Beta’s social media data related to engagement and reach – and following the coverage of nearly 400 stories featured throughout the year – here’s a summary of the top 10 Beta headlines of 2017*.

*Certain stories related to the passing of undergraduates, alumni, Sweethearts and friends are not included in the “Top 10” due to their similar natur, however, they are certainly not forgotten. May they all continue to rest in peace. ___kai___ Batman, William (Adam) West Anderson, Whitman ’51; Sweetheart Jan Molter, Widow of General Fraternity Chorister Shelby Molter, Miami ’54; Astronaut Paul Weitz, Penn State ’54; Former District Chief Dick Phenneger, Washington ’58;

Former District Chief Will Bagbey, Mississippi ’75; Fallen Soldier Brian Woeber, Alabama ’98; Film Producer and Shark Conservationist Rob Stewart, Western Ontario ’01; Tony Dellovade, Washington ’18; Henry Rogers, Pennsylvania ’18.




University of Kentucky Betas Unveil Video Featuring House Plans for New Chapter House and Achieve First Student Body President in Chapter History beta.org/kentucky


Central Michigan Betas Host Annual Philanthropy and Dedicate Proceeds to JED Foundation for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Former District Chief and U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, Alabama ’76, Wins Hotly Contested U.S. Senate Seat, Becoming Seventh Beta in 115th Congress [Read more on p.10]


Fraternity Leaders Characterize Sentiments Shared by Betas Worldwide Following the Tragic Death of Penn State New Member Timothy Piazza beta.org/nowords

Nebraska Betas Release Second Annual Holiday Lip Sync Video [Read more on p.53]


Two-year-old Eleanor Claire, Beta Daughter of Brad Kiesling, Westminster ’01, Sings “Marching Along” During Breakfast Routine beta.org/marching

What will be the top stories of 2018? Be sure to follow Beta’s growing social media feeds on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.




Brand New 50-Bed, 3-Story, Georgianstyle Beta House Dedicated at Ohio State [Read more on p.16]



Beta Mom and Pi Beta Phi Historian Fran Becque Stumbles Across Vintage Hat Band Swatch Featuring Fraternity Colors

Ole Miss Betas Fly the Stars and Stripes Front and Center on Memorial Day 2017, Honoring the Men and Women Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice in Defense of Freedom and Liberty

Noah Ohlsen, Miami (Fla.) ’13, Becomes Second Fittest American on Earth and Fifth in the World at 2017 CrossFit Games

a part of

OUR STORY by Justin Warren, SMU ’10


( the beta theta pi: spring 2018 )


or most of its nearly 179 years, the Fraternity has documented its history extensively. Such prolific writers as William Raimond Baird and Francis Wayland Shepardson have produced entire volumes exhaustively exploring Beta Theta Pi’s growth and development. It’s no wonder then that one of the first tangible materials bestowed upon a new member is a book on Fraternity lore – “Son of the Stars.” This ongoing commitment to its history allows the Fraternity to remember and celebrate its moments of strength: the compassion and selflessness displayed by Founder John Holt Duncan, Miami 1840, after his service in the Civil War; the camaraderie and passion shown through the story of The Toronto Chapter Fund; the revolutionary unveiling of the Men of Principle initiative. Yet, many of these tales of achievement were immediately preceded by times of great challenge and despair. These points of weakness are equally a part of the Beta story, important to remember despite how much easier it would be to forget. And so now, a year after the tragic events at Penn State, the Fraternity adds one such difficult chapter to its history. This is the chapter of Timothy Piazza.

February 3, 2017 “. . . You may or may not have already been made aware of this by the chapter or an advisor. There was an incident last night.” The 1:50 p.m. voicemail left by a Penn State official for Beta’s Administrative Office staff in Oxford sounds dark and foreboding. He’s calling to report a serious incident unfolding in State College. The circumstances sound grave – a new member fell down a chapter house stairwell after drinking at a social event the prior evening, suffered injuries and couldn’t be aroused in the morning. The student was being transported to Hershey Medical Center via “Life Flight,” prognosis unknown. Breath is bated, hope is high but expectations are low as the Fraternity awaits updates on the young man’s condition. Soon, Tim Piazza’s name, fate and story will be known across the globe, and Beta Theta Pi will forever be associated with one of the largest criminal indictments ever levied against a fraternity.

this is the chapter of

Timothy Piazza.

“. . . You may or may not have already been made aware of this by the chapter or an advisor. There was an incident last night.”

Associated Press

The Alpha Upsilon Chapter house serves as a backdrop for a journalist reporting Tim Piazza’s story.

February 4, 2017 Beta Theta Pi Executive Director Jeff Rundle, Kansas State ’03, leaves his Oxford home in the morning hoping to meet Tim’s family at the hospital. With tires pointed east, he drives past “Old Main,” the Miami University building where Beta was founded, knowing in the back of his mind that the Fraternity is experiencing another defining point in its history. He leaves Ohio in the rearview mirror. A new father himself, today his head and heart are in Pennsylvania. Along the way, the family informs Rundle there’s nothing left for them in Pennsylvania – Tim was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. – and they are returning home to New Jersey. Jeff resets his final destination to State College, where he


( the beta theta pi: spring 2018 )

joins additional staff, chapter alumni and volunteers to provide support to an Alpha Upsilon Chapter at Penn State that finds itself in uncharted territory. Campus is already abuzz by the time Rundle arrives at the Beta house at 220 Burrowes Street. He works with chapter and campus leadership to arrange counseling services for those undergraduate members left stunned by the recent events. Then, knowing a fullscale investigation will be necessary, he delivers a message to the chapter from the Fraternity Board of Trustees: all chapter activities are to cease and members are to fully cooperate with requests from authorities as it relates to the incident.

Chapter leaders maintained a fairly simple story explaining the tragedy at the time – Tim consumed too much alcohol at a post-induction social event and suffered a freak accident. But, while the revelations of what exactly happened that fateful night were still months away, one question about the story quickly began to surface: Why did it take nearly 12 hours for brothers to call for help? In retrospect, the answer to that question suggests members were struck by more than grief upon Jeff’s arrival, but likely also worry, panic and trepidation. The picture painted by the chapter in those earliest hours after Tim’s fall was far from complete. Within days, the coroner rules Tim’s death accidental, the cause listed as multiple traumatic injuries, including a fractured skull, lacerated spleen and a brain bleed. The State College Police, however, with chapter house video surveillance footage in possession, call the death a “very preventable tragedy.” The General Fraternity, Penn State administrators, and eventually a grand jury, will soon come to agree.

February 17, 2017 It becomes clear to all investigating parties in the days and weeks following

the incident that alcohol was not only present at an in-house social event the evening of Tim’s fall, but forcibly pushed on new members almost immediately after arriving at the house to celebrate their bid acceptance. While full details of the events remained unclear at the time, a feeling grew within General Fraternity leadership – the chapter’s explanation was falling apart. Given the increasing severity of the chapter’s transgressions, the Board of Trustees decided to announce in conjunction with Penn State University officials the closure of its historic Alpha Upsilon Chapter. “While investigations are ongoing, Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity and Penn State University leaders have evaluated enough information to justify a decision to close the Alpha Upsilon Chapter at Penn State,” the closure letter written by General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73, said. “These findings are not in keeping with Beta Theta Pi’s longstanding values of responsible conduct, mutual assistance and integrity. Upon those founding principles, the Fraternity is unequivocal.” The Fraternity immediately begins targeted discussions amongst the Board of Trustees, Administrative Office staff, volunteers, undergraduates and

Penn State Daily Collegian

“While full details of the events remained unclear at the time, a feeling grew within General Fraternity leadership – the chapter’s explanation was falling apart.” prospective partner organizations: Beta Theta Pi’s top priority remains the health and safety of its members, so what went wrong at Penn State, and how can it better identify and proactively guard against similar tragedies in the future? These conversations, long and often contentious, will eventually inspire the initial measures within the Fraternity’s new strategic plan. The chapter’s closure was an important first action, but it is far from the last. The university’s investigation into the events leading to Tim Piazza’s senseless death concludes on March 30, 2017, with findings indicating a “persistent pattern” of alcohol abuse, hazing, and drug use and sales within the former chapter. As a result, and despite the university reinforcing Beta as “among the best fraternity chapters” on campus, the Fraternity is banned forever from returning to campus. Indeed, by virtually all accounts, Beta Theta Pi was considered a model group at Penn State, consistently achieving the “Chapter of Excellence” rank from the university Greek Life Office, and winning the campus Chapter of the Year Award twice since 2010 – most recently in 2015. To most third parties, the men were living up to the chapter’s motto: “The summit of the arch.” What was happening behind closed doors, however, was something entirely different.

A light rain falls over a crowd of approximately 400 students gathered on Penn State’s campus to memorialize Tim Piazza in the days following his death.

a part of our story


NBC News

There’s a lesson to be learned here, one taught by Beta and UCLA coaching legend John Wooden, Purdue ’32: “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

May 5, 2017

Whether in life or in a Beta chapter, one should not obsess over being branded the best, for often the best is not good enough. The true test of a chapter’s character comes in the moments when an advisor isn’t in the room and an award isn’t at stake.

District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller stands at a podium, flanked by Jim and Evelyn Piazza, and a poster-size print of their son, Tim – his face minutes away from household recognition.

Alpha Upsilon has been a driving force in the state of Pennsylvania since its beginnings in 1888 when one of the chapter’s founders, James Beaver, Washington & Jefferson 1856, also occupied the state’s governorship. Since then, several loyal Penn State brothers have gone on to serve in leadership roles and earn prestigious interfraternal honors. The chapter house, with some $10 million in renovations completed in 2010, was widely considered a model for the Greek world. Yet the chapter’s character was tarnished, and now 129 years of history and achievement lay buried. In a story this deplorable, however, the loss of an iconic chapter isn’t even the height of Beta Theta Pi’s shame. That moment came one month later, when the most heinous of Alpha Upsilon’s actions were put on display for all the world to see. 26

“We are here to discuss the outcome of the first Centre County grand jury’s investigation into the death of Timothy Piazza.”

On a normal day, a press conference assembled in small town Pennsylvania may attract a spattering of local reporters. But this is no ordinary day. In front of Parks Miller is a bevy of microphones, the air around her filled with the flashes and clicks of cameras. Local, regional and national reporters – from the student newspaper to CNN and the Associated Press – pack the room, many live-tweeting what will be become the night’s leading headline. “When our community loses a child, we all grieve together,” she continues. “What is important to us now is that it not be in vain.” She then unveils an 81-page grand jury presentment on Piazza’s death, recounting in gruesome detail the events of February 2, 2017. According to the report, shortly after his induction Timothy Piazza began “the ( the beta theta pi: spring 2018 )

gauntlet” – an alcohol-fueled course designed to “get pledges drunk in a very short amount of time” – where he was told to chug wine, beer and liquor. As it turns out, there was plenty of alcohol to go around, as receipts showed more than $1,000 spent using a chapter “slush fund” to buy vodka, beer, wine and more for this night alone. By 10:45 p.m., surveillance footage shows a visibly intoxicated Tim on the first floor trying and failing to open the front door, before stumbling to and falling down the basement stairs – his first traumatic injury of the night. Approximately two minutes later, members carry Tim back upstairs, his body limp with a noticeable bruise on his abdomen. The situation becomes more grim with each passing moment, but 30 minutes later there is a glimmer of hope. A recently initiated member enters the camera’s view and pleads with others in the room to get Tim the help he needs. A chapter brother dismisses the Samaritan, shoves him against the wall and instructs him to leave. The brother says he’s following the advice of the biology and kinesiology majors in the group, and that the situation is under control. Was the member who tried to help Tim the only person who recognized the severity of the incident? At 11:53 p.m., a group message is sent via the

“They have destroyed so much. They have destroyed our joy. ” – Evelyn Piazza

As a result of the months-long grand jury investigation, District Attorney Parks Miller announced more than 1,000 initial charges recommended against 18 members and the Alpha Upsilon Chapter. Eight of the men face felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, while 10 others are charged with misdemeanor offenses such as hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors.

Penn State Daily Collegian

“No parents should have to deal with this,” Jim Piazza said after the charges had been read. His wife, Evelyn, would later say: “They have destroyed so much. They have destroyed our joy.”

The Piazzas grieve at a May 5 press conference announcing grand jury findings.

communication channel GroupMe: “Also Tim Piazza might actually be a problem. He fell 15 feet down a flight of steps, hair-first, going to need help.” Unfortunately, the call for help Piazza needed remained almost 11 hours away – too late to make a difference. Tim spends the rest of his night in agony, making several attempts to save himself. Standing and falling, standing and falling, often witnessed then ignored by others in the chapter house. It’s around 10 a.m. the next morning when Piazza is found once again in the basement, this time breathing heavily, with blood on his face, feeling cold to the touch and appearing pale with his eyes half-opened. Forty-five minutes

later, after brothers try and mask Tim’s condition, they call 911, never mentioning to the dispatcher that he had fallen the night before. The graveness of the situation was of course undeniable as chapter members stared at the broken young man that morning; however, the grand jury report concluded that, given the night’s events, “the severity of Timothy Piazza’s condition was obvious and noticed by the fraternity brothers and pledges around him that evening.” Finally, an answer to why Tim’s brothers-to-be waited all that time to call for help: When faced with the likelihood of disciplinary action, they put their self-interests ahead of their humanity.

a part of our story

Summer 2017 The brutality laid out in the presentment shocked the world. In the 24 hours immediately following the grand jury’s report, Beta Theta Pi was mentioned in more than 7,500 news stories and social media posts. Brothers and friends from all corners of the globe wrote and called the Administrative Office to express their anger, disappointment and sorrow about the tragedy. The General Fraternity itself was both stunned and overwhelmed by the case’s findings. The truth is, any number of policies and laws – Beta, Penn State, local or otherwise – were broken that night. Members distributed mass amounts of alcohol to minors, then consumed it in a supposedly dry facility, drinking games


Art Lien

Former Beta Theta Pi members appear as defendants in a Centre County courtoom.

were played, funds were pooled, new members were hazed. The list goes on. And still, a life would have been saved if the brotherhood Alpha Upsilon so proudly proclaimed was anything more than a facade. “To think that young men could possibly behave in such a manner is beyond comprehension,” the General Fraternity wrote in a statement following the grand jury report. “There are no words to describe the pain we feel for Tim and his family. We are so deeply sorry. We are heartbroken. We are outraged.” Tim’s story endured, and the Fraternity remained in the media spotlight all the way through June 12, 2017, when pretrial hearings for the members charged in Piazza’s death began. As a single prosecutor sparred with the counsels of 18 different defendants, the hearings originally scheduled over two days ultimately carried on for three months. Then, on September 1, District Judge Allen Sinclair ruled that 14 of the 18 men originally charged would stand trial, although he dismissed the most serious felony charges.


( the beta theta pi: spring 2018 )

While these battles played out in the courtroom and on the nightly news throughout the summer, Beta Theta Pi leadership focused internally on making the Piazza tragedy a central component of the 178th General Convention in Salt Lake City. Dialogues surrounding the Penn State tragedy were omnipresent throughout the Fraternity’s annual reunion, from formal programming to special guest speakers and in the legislation hall. Executive Director Jeff Rundle implored the more than 700 Convention attendees to recommit to better loving and caring for one another; Oxford Cup recipient and NFL Owner Shad Khan, Illinois ’71, shared that he, too, at one time saw his home chapter stray from the organization’s founding principles; and Retired Senator Richard Lugar, Denison ’54, emphatically called for the complete elimination of alcohol and hazing from chapter houses. While the masses heard these words from Beta’s foremost voices, the Fraternity’s Board of Trustees worked in the background, moving to expel the memberships of those accused of a crime connected to Tim Piazza’s death.

fall 2017 Updates on the Piazza case fell unexpectedly quiet until late October, when District Attorney Parks Miller refiled many of the previously dismissed felony charges, then days later scheduled another press conference to announce new charges against 17 members, 12 not previously named in the lawsuit. How could the prosecution suddenly pinpoint 12 new defendants in a case that had been ongoing for almost six months? Since the beginning, only a portion of the home’s surveillance footage was considered available since the chapter told authorities (and the General Fraternity) that cameras capturing the basement were not functioning at the time of the incident. With help from the FBI, however, law enforcement officials learned that was not true, and recovered basement footage that had been manually deleted by chapter leaders before turning the digital equipment over to the investigation – an act thought to have been calculated just as Tim Piazza was being rushed to the hospital. The recovered video allowed the defense to largely piece together the entire night’s events, including drinks handed to Piazza before, during and after the gauntlet. After careful examination, officials witnessed Tim receiving 18 drinks in less than 90 minutes, an

amount a doctor estimated put his blood alcohol concentration between 0.28-0.36 percent at the time of his last drink – approximately four times the legal limit to drive. With the Pennsylvania Attorney General expected to lead the prosecution when proceedings resume this spring, a total of 26 former brothers now stand charged with a crime in relation to the death of Timothy Piazza. And still, additional questions linger. What will happen to the Alpha Upsilon Chapter house, which is at the heart of a separate lawsuit between benefactor Don Abbey ’70, and the Alpha Upsilon House Corporation? How will Tim’s death, and the incomprehensible deaths of three other fraternity men in 2017, have a long-term impact on fraternities across North America? Although the events at the center of these questions are now more than a year removed, there’s no doubt that the public will continue to watch as this story unfolds.

February 2, 2018 Much has changed for the Fraternity in the year since Tim’s passing, but one thing has not – the Piazza family’s unimaginable loss remains top of mind for all who wear the Beta badge. On the one-year anniversary of the tragic and unforgettable events that

“Much has changed for the Fraternity in the year since Tim’s passing, but one thing has not – the Piazza family’s unimaginable loss remains top of mind for all who wear the Beta badge.” occurred at Penn State, Fraternity leadership said, “It’s time,” and announced a new strategic plan with six initial measures aimed at combating hazing, substance abuse and more within Beta’s chapters and colonies. Readers can learn more about this announcement on the following pages. Will Tim’s death continue to have ripple effects throughout the organization? Most certainly, and very likely for years to come as events continue to unfold. Timothy Piazza is now an important part of Beta’s story, arguably as much as our founding. The Fraternity’s choice is whether to passively view the Penn State tragedy as an outlier and stain on the organization’s reputation, or to actively lead itself out of this period of despair, using lessons learned from Tim’s untimely passing as a guide. The Dalai Lama once said, “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” With a public commitment to fighting hazing and alcohol abuse at a national level, the Piazza family is choosing the latter. If there’s any hope for a productive conclusion to this dark chapter in the Fraternity’s history, so must Beta Theta Pi. 

a part of our story


“One Year ago . . .” a letter from Jim and Evelyn Piazza First published by the Washington Post Dear Parents: One year ago today, on Feb. 2, 2017, our son Tim was excited and anxious to begin his initiation into the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Pennsylvania State University. Of the three fraternity bids he received, he accepted Beta Theta Pi. It was self-described as an alcohol-free, hazing-free fraternity and allegedly placed a high emphasis on academics. He felt like Beta Theta Pi shared his values.


The Beta Theta Pi — BETA.ORG

Two days later, we watched as our son was taken off life support at Hershey Medical Center as a result of the injuries he sustained in connection with the egregious hazing he experienced on that night of initiation. The cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries, including a fractured skull, lacerated spleen and a severe brain bleed. He just wanted to join an organization. How could this happen?

The nation, and much of the world, one year later knows that Timothy J. Piazza, our amazing, caring, goodhearted 19-year-old son — the strapping redhead from western New Jersey known for his love of life and desire to help those in need — was the victim of violent, organized fraternity hazing and brutal neglect. That’s not on his death certificate, but that’s what we get to live with every day.

Tim’s death was a slow, painful passing that was graphically captured on videotape by the fraternity’s unmonitored security system.

advocate-parents — we can help bring an end to senseless, preventable hazing deaths in America.

To this day, we have not watched the videotapes when they have been played in the preliminary court proceedings, but we have urged Penn State officials, including the president and his board of trustees, to do so. That has yet to happen.

Tim’s death was the first hazing fatality in 2017, but by no means was it the last. We now belong to a national club no parent should ever aspire to join. On Feb. 23 and 24 we, along with other parents who have lost children to hazing, will come together for our inaugural conference in Greenville, South Carolina.

Eventually, it is our hope that a jury will have the opportunity to watch the videos (including the recovered basement video) and hear all of the evidence in the criminal case brought by prosecutors after an extensive Centre County grand jury investigation. Despite our never-ending sorrow and pain, we have faith in the justice system and hope for the day when all those responsible for Tim’s death will be held accountable. We also continue to hope and pray that once and for all — working with other

The media and other parents repeatedly ask us what to tell their children who are thinking of joining a fraternity or a sorority. First, we urge them to have the conversation. We discussed pledging with Tim and he assured us that if he joined a fraternity, he would pick the right one. Tim and the other pledges were deceived and a darker side of that fraternity was revealed, as forced

alcohol-fueled hazing intensified in the “dry” house run by “Men of Principle.” Never would Tim think his soon-to-be “brothers” would abuse him and then leave him to die. It is important to talk openly about what has transpired this past year, and over many years, and to remind your children that they are important to you. Tell them to take nothing at face value, be cautious, guard against peer pressure. And should they decide to pledge, pledge as a group. Make sure somebody your son or daughter trusts always has their back. If at any time they are concerned for their safety or the safety of others, they need to follow their instincts, leave before it’s too late and call for help. It is too late for Tim, but it is not too late for your son or daughter. 

It Starts With You A year after the untimely death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, Beta Theta Pi Executive Director Jeff Rundle, Kansas State ’03, penned a letter to fraternity men in the Washington Post, signaling change for the organization and calling on all fraternity brothers to display love and compassion for their fellow man. One year ago, horrific actions carried out in direct contradiction to Beta Theta Pi’s core principles resulted in the tragic death of Tim Piazza at Penn State – a senseless loss of a young man of incredible promise; more than 1,000 criminal charges against some 20 former members; countless expressions of anger, disappointment and sorrow from Betas, friends and others around the world; and the closure of a once-historic chapter, justifiably so. Those actions devastated a family forever, a reality that unfortunately cannot be changed. And they shine a light on the stark effects of alcohol in chapter houses, and what happens when new member education is twisted into something it was never meant to be. In the coming days, after a year of critical evaluation and careful analysis, Beta Theta Pi will announce its commitment to initial strategies that will chart the organization’s future to confront these realities as an institution.

To those interested in joining a fraternity, heed the Piazza family’s advice: talk to your parents and friends openly about your experience, and don’t settle for anything less than a positive and authentic brotherhood — if you encounter otherwise, get help and get out. To those who already call a fraternity — any fraternity — home, it has been a tumultuous year for Greek organizations across the continent. While our institutions will continue to push for true cultural change, the first and most important line of defense against a tragedy rests squarely with you and your brothers. Bring honor to yourself, your family and your organization through all of your actions. For love and compassion of your fellow man is most certainly at the heart of your fraternal obligations. And more importantly, your obligation to mankind.

The Beta Theta Pi — Spring 2018 31

“It’s Time.” In a February 2 letter to all Betas, parents and friends in the higher education and interfraternal communities, General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73, announced the Board of Trustees’ new strategic plan, including the continued denouncement of hazing and adoption of a fraternity-wide substance-free housing policy.

Brothers and Friends:

T “More is needed from all fraternities and the universities they call home. So, it is the basis for Beta’s courageous leadership now.” — Senator Richard G. Lugar, Denison ’54 (Ret.), Men of Principle Spokesman

his year will mark the 20th anniversary of Beta alumni and undergraduates launching the Men of Principle initiative to advance Beta’s position of interfraternal leadership. Hailed across the higher education community as one of Greek life’s most successful cultural change efforts, one need look no further than our Fraternity’s historic performance in leadership programming, GPA, recruitment, volunteerism and accountability to understand the thoughtfulness that has gone in year after year to support our undergraduate chapters and the adult men and women who mentor them. The impact of the Fraternity’s policies and programs undertaken since Men of Principle’s formulation is truly remarkable. Despite the Fraternity’s achievements on so many fronts, however, Greek life across North America continues to grapple with serious issues that run diametrically counter to the founding principles and values upon which our organizations were founded. From the outside looking in, many argue a common thread in these ongoing campus concerns is the role fraternities and sororities play, notably in the social arena related to drugs and alcohol, as well as in matters of hazing and sexual assault. Most objective minds find it difficult to disagree. Not surprisingly, as our own Fraternity confronts the heartbreaking and tragic death of Penn State New Member Timothy Piazza ’20, fraternities and sororities everywhere find themselves at an important crossroads in both the eyes of their host institution’s boards of regents and the administrations charged with carrying out their directives – not to mention fraternity and sorority alumni and parent bodies who are watching closely for meaningful action. For this Fraternity’s leadership, two questions – among many – certainly rise to the top: “Will Beta deal with the challenges before it?” And, if so, “How?”




s shared in the most recent issue of The Beta Theta Pi magazine, in the two years preceding Tim’s death, the Board of Trustees was engaged in an extensive exercise aimed at developing a long-term plan to guide the Fraternity in the coming decade. Poised to advance a three-pronged strategy focused on Brotherhood, Personal Growth and Home, Tim’s death only underscores the conviction your Trustees feel about the honorable role Beta Theta Pi should play in young men’s lives, not to mention reshaping Greek life as we know it. Of course, difficult as it has been throughout the emotionally exhausting and painful past 12 months, especially as we recognize the excruciating grief and pain of the Piazza family, the Board of Trustees has remained steadfast in thoughtful evaluation and sincere, open-minded listening. To be sure, consequential decisions must be made for the betterment of the Fraternity, but they must be rooted in objectivity in order to produce the greatest chances for success and sustainability. Having now concluded a series of feedback-seeking activities focused on garnering the greatest amount of quality data possible, and having listened to an array of suggestions and comments from Beta alumni, undergraduates and parents – including engagement of dozens of Beta house corporation members – the Board of Trustees has adopted the following initial strategies with the primary goal of protecting the health and safety of our members, and advancing Beta’s mission to develop men of principle for a principled life:



Hazing Prevention and New Member Education – By August 15, 2018, Beta will pilot a model new member education program that is available for all chapters. Having reaffirmed the Trustees’ complete and total opposition to hazing in any form, the Fraternity will begin an important march toward all chapters and colonies offering consistent and quality new member education with programs held to the same standard of performance as other important areas of fraternity life, like academics, finances and risk management. A Fraternity task force consisting of undergraduates, alumni and student development experts has been charged with making recommendations to the Board of Trustees, and a number of chapters have already chosen to pilot an early version of the program this spring.

2. Housing Standards – By August 15, 2020, all Beta homes will be substance-free. Recognizing the coordination that will be required among a multitude of parties and at all levels of the organization, a policy background and two and-a-half-year transitionary plan has been adopted, in addition to a Frequently Asked Questions document that provides rationale for this important decision (see pages 36-47). Elevated housing standards relative to house directors, fire safety and professional facility oversight and management will also unfold in the coming months and years, as additional analysis concludes and final recommendations are evaluated. 3. Risk Management Education and Accountability – Effective immediately, the Fraternity has renewed its commitment to ongoing risk management policy education and accountability for all chapters and members. Believing that all brothers must understand and own the Fraternity’s risk management policies – and the “why” behind them – added emphasis will continue to be placed on policy education at Beta leadership programs, as well as in the print

“The Board of Trustees is convinced Beta Theta Pi cannot be tepid on these matters of consequence. The stakes are simply too high. Beta must lead.”

— S. Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73 General Secretary


“Our fraternity has been conservative. She has also been progressive. Most of the great reforms and improvements in fraternity matters have originated in Beta Theta Pi. We must realize the difficulties which surround us, and determine to face them with loyalty worthy of the Beta of old days.” — John Calvin Hanna, Wooster 1881 General Secretary

and digital media mediums routinely provided to all members and volunteers.

4. Chapter Cultural Assessment – Beginning in Spring 2018, Beta will launch a chapter cultural assessment initiative aimed at understanding and improving the health of our brotherhood. Through a strategic partnership with a professional assessment firm that specializes in Greek organizations, our brothers and volunteers will have an ability to explore the true nature of their brotherhood. The Fraternity will partner with our brothers to both evaluate the assessment results and use the information to capitalize on chapter strengths and address chapter deficiencies that may not be apparent based on more surface-level indicators.

5. Volunteer Training and Engagement – Effective immediately, the Fraternity redoubles its efforts to train and engage the alumni, volunteers and Friends of Beta who support our chapters and have been instrumental in the success of the Men of Principle initiative. Continuing Beta’s successful in person trainings during chapter visits, Leadership Summit and Keystone Regional Leadership Conferences, the Fraternity will enhance volunteer onboarding resources and deploy online trainings where volunteers can self-learn at a time and location that is most convenient. A blended training approach strikes the right balance between building volunteer competency and capacity, with the ultimate goal of fostering the mentor relationships undergraduate Betas both need and deserve. 6. Interfraternal Collaboration – Beta will continue to collaborate with peer organizations that seek meaningful change in fraternity life across North America. A driving force in its 1909 founding, and throughout the rebirth of the North American Interfraternity Conference and the NIC 2.0 movement, Beta has been at the forefront of interfraternal leadership. As such, Beta believes fraternities have a unique responsibility and duty to raise the standard of student behavior on the campuses they lead – and all fraternities will grow stronger if they commit to higher shared standards. Beta will challenge itself and continue to press NIC-member fraternities to eliminate rhetoric expressing desire for cultural change, and instead back action oriented strategies that go to the heart of issues undermining the fraternity experience across North America. Beta will adopt a Good Samaritan Policy and also continue to support the NIC’s new Enhanced Health and Safety Standards and important federal legislative efforts like the REACH Act to address hazing on college campuses.

To the last point, Beta’s Board of Trustees believes strongly that we


are not an island unto ourselves. As young men learn about Beta’s reputation of interfraternalism early in their membership process, our Fraternity exists in a community that relies on others, and should be counted on when others are in need. To that end, we call on all of our peer fraternities to enact similar measures – specifically as it relates to substance-free housing and new member assimilation – knowing together our organizations have arguably the greatest ability to influence local campus behaviors than virtually any other student organizations on campus. With Farmhouse, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Phi Epsilon having already stepped forward on this matter, imagine if all 70 other inter/ national fraternities took this same substance-free housing step we all know is inevitable and needed. It’s time. Further, we also call upon all university and college presidents who oversee Greek communities on their campus: fraternities need a stronger helping hand in dealing with the substance abuse that is plaguing hundreds of thousands of young college men and women. Requiring all of Greek life to restore its original and longstanding tradition of substance-free housing would have one of the greatest and most immediate impacts in addressing this chronic problem campuses continue to battle. While there are of course no silver bullets, no greater medicine exists at this juncture than to address the environmental conditions that are incubating the very issues causing harm to our young students, the chapter houses they occupy and the campuses of which they are a part. University and college presidents have unique authority and leverage


to influence significant change in this arena. No doubt there will be a spectrum of thoughts and opinions on the measures Beta’s Board of Trustees is taking at this pivotal moment in our Fraternity’s history. We have invited and heard a multitude of them, and in a variety of forms and tones. Thankfully so, as it has been our members’ perspectives and the data that addresses their concerns that has reinforced our commitment to objectivity throughout these deliberations. Ultimately, we know that any such measures we take must be grounded in the hard but true realities we face, which is why the Board of Trustees is convinced Beta Theta Pi cannot be tepid on these matters of consequence. The stakes are simply too high. Beta must lead. In closing, it is important that I express personally how much I believe in our 10,271 undergraduates and the more than 2,000 volunteers

who support them on a daily basis. It is because of the character I have observed that I know together we are up for the tasks at hand. As General Secretary John Calvin Hanna, Wooster 1881, so eloquently put it in “A Decade of Fraternity Reconstruction”: “Our fraternity has been conservative. She has also been progressive. Most of the great reforms and improvements in fraternity matters have originated in Beta Theta Pi. We must realize the difficulties which surround us, and determine to face them with loyalty worthy of the Beta of old days.” As today marks the one-year anniversary of the actions that led to the death of Tim Piazza, we are reminded of the stark realities that accompany alcohol in chapter houses, and what happens when new member education is twisted into something it was never meant to be. In what will be a long-term commitment to the Men of Principle

initiative – with strategic emphasis on Brotherhood, Personal Growth and Home – I ask you personally to understand and empathize with the critical choices your Board of Trustees is facing and, with humility and determination, making for the long-term welfare, viability and existence of our Fraternity. Certainly, a lot of important work is ahead of us. And, for that, you have a commitment by the Board of Trustees to ongoing collaboration with our undergraduates and volunteers – coupled with what will become a historic allocation of resources, time and attention to see the work through. I ask you to support us as Beta brothers as we deal with so many challenging matters. Your trust and confidence is needed now more than ever. Sincerely and in ___kai___ , S. Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73 General Secretary

Anti-Hazing Statement T


he Board of Trustees of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity reaffirms its complete and total opposition to hazing in all forms.

The Fraternity is committed to fostering and maintaining a culture across all of its chapters that honors the values upon which the organization was founded and promotes the dignity and safety of its members, friends and guests at all times. The Fraternity believes the entire Greek community must act with urgency to ensure that the behaviors and conditions which led to the tragic deaths of Timothy Piazza and other undergraduate fraternity men are not tolerated. As such, Beta Theta Pi renews its commitment to hazing-prevention education, resources and strong accountability within our brotherhood. Likewise, the Board of Trustees will do all within its authority to advance Beta’s mission of developing men of principle for a principled life.



Substance-Free Housing Policy


Betas have long believed that the Fraternity should provide a sense of home and belonging that flows from the alignment of our environments and organizational values. Betas also believe that true brotherhood is fostered through shared social experiences that facilitate trust and deep, meaningful relationships. Our homes, be those chapter houses or a sense of belonging within the brotherhood, shape our cultures. In this critical and defining moment within our Fraternity, as well as the Greek movement, it is essential that we do everything within our power to promote the safety of our members and guests and the health of our chapter cultures. To advance Beta’s strategic priority of Home, the Fraternity has formed a General Fraternity House Corporation and is pursuing the creation of comprehensive housing standards to promote the safety and proper management of our Beta homes. While these standards address many best practices, the impact of drugs and alcohol in our homes is significant and requires immediate attention. Alcohol and properly used legal substances are not inherently harmful, however, the Board of Trustees has studied the impact that substances have on the performance of our members and chapters under the Board’s current substance-free housing policy that has been applied to all new and re-established chapters over the last 15 years. The data clearly indicates that the 64% of our housed chapters that currently reside in substance-free housing achieve better grades, attract more members, have significantly less risk management incidents and account for substantially fewer chapter closures and reorganizations than their peers who live in houses that allow substances. Grounded in this thoughtful consideration and in feedback from our brothers, the Trustees have concluded that a substance-free housing standard is foundational to the remaining housing standards as Beta pursues environments that promote a culture reflective of men of principle. The Trustees have long been tasked with the safety and welfare of our brotherhood, as evidenced by their administration of Beta’s risk management policy, insurance program and current substance-free housing policy. They are also required to be responsive to the challenging environment that Greek life operates in on today’s college campus. Increasing suspensions of campus-wide Greek activities, student injuries and deaths associated with Fraternity events, and increased public and legal scrutiny require that Beta, and our peers, take courageous action to protect the future of our brotherhood.



During the Trustees’ annual fall 2017 planning meeting – following several months of critical analysis, they affirmed their intention to expand Beta’s existing substance-free housing policy and committed to seeking broad and diverse feedback from members, volunteers and peer organizations to inform its focus and overall approach. The following policy represents the product of those labors and seeks to again position Beta Theta Pi as a champion for the safety and welfare of our members, as well as an interfraternal leader in the Greek world.

Substance-Free Housing Policy of the Board of Trustees (2003)

All colonies and re-established chapters that are started after 2004 will reside in substance-free housing in perpetuity. – Adopted by the Beta Theta Pi Board of Trustees in 2003

Substance-Free Housing Policy of the Board of Trustees (2018) 1.

In furtherance of providing safe homes that promote the cherished values of our Fraternity, all Beta Theta Pi chapter housing1 shall be substance-free2 by August 15, 2020, per the following stipulations:

A. B. C.

Existing Chapters and Colonies: That all existing chapters and colonies that reside in substance-free housing as of August 15, 2018, under campus, alumni or Board Substance-Free Housing policy3 shall remain so and without the transitionary considerations outlined below. New Chapters and Colonies: That all new colonies or re-established chapters that are started after August 15, 2018, shall reside in substancefree housing and without the transitionary considerations outlined below. Transitioning Chapters: That those chapters that do not reside in substance-free housing under campus, alumni or Board Substance-Free Housing policy on August 15, 2018, shall transition to substance-free housing by August 15, 2020, per the schedule and considerations below:

i. That by August 15, 2018, all transitioning chapters shall: 1. eliminate the presence, consumption and use of hard alcohol4 within chapter housing at all times. 2. limit the presence, consumption and use of beer and wine to the private bedrooms of members who are of the legal drinking age. 3. limit the presence, consumption and use of beer and wine in the common areas5 of chapter housing to a maximum of six Alumni Hosted Events6 per calendar year. Alumni-Hosted Events must: a. be planned and approved by the Alumni Corporation or Alumni Association president, the chapter counselor and the chapter president on behalf of a chapter in good standing using the established Event Planning Checklist for hosting an event with a third-party vendor. b. follow all campus, IFC, local and federal rules, regulations and laws, including the Beta Theta Pi Risk Management Policy. c. be approved by the district chief at least 14 days in advance of the event per an established event approval process7. ii.


“In this critical and defining moment within our Fraternity, as well as the Greek movement, it is essential that we do everything within our power to promote the safety of our members and guests and the health of our chapter cultures.”

That by August 15, 2020, chapters will complete their transition to substance-free housing – including removal of all alcohol and substances from private bedrooms – with the continued ability to host up to six approved Alumni-Hosted Events per year.


2. “No doubt action of this nature may be perceived as difficult in a civilization that gives a ‘wink-wink’ to college-oriented behavior – until things go wrong. While certainly not perfect, Beta has historically been known as a Fraternity that does the hard but important work. This is the time. We simply must.” — Tom Cassady, Cincinnati ’76, Former General Secretary, District Chief and House Corporation President; Current Beta Insurance Commissioner


To support our brothers and volunteers as they rise to this elevated standard and commitment to safety, the Board of Trustees commits to the following:

A. The ongoing study and evaluation of the new policy during and beyond the transitionary process to ensure that it is advancing the safety and values of our brotherhood. B. The development of financial, educational and communications resources related to substance-free housing that will support chapters in their recruitment, member education, social event planning and alumni relations activities. C. The ongoing coaching and mentoring through committed volunteers and staff to assist chapters and volunteers through the transitionary process. D. The establishment of a tiered risk management fee schedule that better allocates costs and provides incentives to chapters based on performance and risk profile. E. For competitive parity, the consistent and strategic advocacy for the adoption of similar substance-free housing policies among all Greek letter organizations and by all university and college administrations that oversee Greek life across North America.

“Chapter Housing” is defined as any facility and affiliated property owned, operated or leased by the chapter directly, by its host institution for the purpose of housing chapter members or by a Beta Alumni Corporation.


“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.


“Board Substance-Free Housing Policy” is defined as the 2004 substance-free housing policy that applies to all colonies and re-established chapters in perpetuity.



“Hard Alcohol” is defined as any distilled beverage containing more than 0.15 alcohol by volume (ABV).

“Common Areas” are defined as communal or dining spaces within a chapter facility that are open for common or public use, and all outdoor space or parking lots associated with or adjacent to chapter housing.


6 “Alumni-Hosted Events” are defined as events within common areas of chapter housing that are primarily aimed toward socialization with alumni, parents or faculty. Alumni Associations or Corporations must contract with a licensed third-party vendor to sell and distribute alcohol to members and guests of legal drinking age. 7

“Event Approval Process” will be established by the Administrative Office staff per the Trustees’ direction.




As the Fraternity focuses on the safety of our members and guests, the Board of Trustees made the thoughtful and courageous choice to expand their substance-free housing policy to include all Beta chapters. This decision was grounded deeply in the feedback and questions of our brothers. The following list of frequently asked questions has been compiled to document the consistent rationale that led to this decision and to help our brothers join the conversation at any point in their Beta experience.


Rationale Q: Why has Beta adopted this policy change now? A: Beta is committed to the safety and welfare of our members and guests, and our Trustees have reinforced that commitment by adopting “Home” as a strategic priority for our Fraternity. While creating a sense of home and belonging is not exclusive to a chapter house, many Beta experiences are influenced significantly by the environments in which they occur.

“One common thread exists in the vast majority of fraternity incidents related to hazing, sexual assault, fighting and injuries: alcohol and drug use in the chapter house.”

To advance the priority of Home within our Fraternity, the Trustees have authorized the creation of a General Fraternity House Corporation (GFHC) and are exploring elevated housing standards that would establish baselines for health, safety and sustainability in every Beta home. Substance-free housing (SFH) is a critical component of these housing standards and is a strategy that has proven its worth over time in minimizing risk, attracting high caliber men into our chapters and promoting the safety of our members and guests. Beta has implemented a substance-free housing policy in 64 percent of its housed chapters to date and, for a number of reasons, now is the right time to complete the transition for our remaining Beta homes.

First, the timing aligns with Beta’s strategic priorities and the necessary steps that bring them to life. Second, insurance costs have continued to rise in relation to incidents that almost exclusively involve alcohol in Beta’s chapter houses, and policy adoption can place the Fraternity back on the path toward fewer and less severe incidents that will drive down premiums, thereby freeing up precious local chapter and General Fraternity resources for more valuable and worthwhile purposes. Finally, there is important recognition that one common thread exists in the vast majority of fraternity incidents related to hazing, sexual assault, fighting and injuries: alcohol and drug use in the chapter house. This is an important moment for our Fraternity to demonstrate true leadership to the entire Greek community through thoughtful and strategic action aimed at keeping our members and guests safe.

Q: What is the general housing snapshot of Beta’s 138 chapters and colonies? A: • The Fraternity currently has 2,848 bed spaces available to its 10,271 undergraduates (27.7 percent). • At any given time, more than 60 percent of Beta’s undergraduate membership is under the legal age to consume alcohol. • 99 active chapters or colonies (72 percent) reside in some type of Fraternity housing. • 55 active chapters reside in alumni-owned properties; 53 percent (29) of alumni-owned properties are substance-free. • 44 active chapters reside in rented or University-owned properties; 77 percent (34) of those are substance-free. • 63 active chapters reside in substance-free housing, or 64 percent of housed chapters.




Q: What impact has substance-free housing had on the Fraternity over the last 15 years? A: Given Beta’s substance-free housing expansion policy of the last 15 years, a litany of data has been researched and analyzed that summarizes Beta’s success in this space when comparing wet and housed chapters to those that are housed substance-free: NON-SFH CHAPTERS










Closed Chapters (Since 2005)

38 (88%)

5 (12%)

Reorganizations (Since 2005)

15 (83%)

3 (17%)

25 (63%)

14 (37%)

$1,247,681 (95%)

$69,839 (5%)



$3,581,317 (94%)

$232,032 (6%)


INSURANCE PAYOUTS No. of Insurance Claims (2013-17) Total Payouts (2013-17) Average Per Claim Total Payouts Since 1998

Beta’s liability insurance premium has doubled since 2013.

Q: What is the rationale behind the two-and-a-half-year window to reach adoption? A:

True cultural change is slow and difficult, and it often requires education, conversation and buy-in for it to have staying power. By announcing a future date of adoption, the Trustees are taking an important position of principled leadership and then providing appropriate time to work with all chapters and house corporations that would be impacted by the policy to create a strategy to achieve successful adoption. We realize that each path to adoption will be unique and that this policy will touch many aspects of chapter and alumni life including recruitment, alumni relations and operations of the chapter house. The two-and-a-half-year window will also create opportunity for early adopters to move more quickly, as well as allow a generation of men who chose the wet chapter house experience to complete their undergraduate years in the spirit by which they joined. We will provide coaching and resources to chapters and volunteers to assist them as they recruit to a new chapter house experience and market the benefits that come from safer and more sustainable homes.


FACTS Since 2005, 88% of Beta’s chapter closures – and 83% of chapter reorganizations – have been wet-housed chapters.



Q: Is this an overreach? Not every chapter operates like Penn State did.

“We have a duty to protect the future of this Fraternity.” — Bob Schnese, Wisconsin ’83 General Fraternity President

A: The Fraternity has nearly 20 years of experience dealing with substance free housing given the Board of Trustees’ decision to require all expansions to operate as such beginning in the late ’90s and early ’00s. This policy simply improves alignment within the Fraternity. Our former Penn State undergraduate members violated a number of policies flagrantly, including the anti-hazing and substance-free housing policies and in many ways reinforced the case for strong and consistent standards across the Fraternity. While this housing policy is not a silver bullet, Beta’s own data is clear that removing alcohol from Beta homes makes our chapters, members and guests safer. Q: Does the Board of Trustees have the authority to make this policy? A: Yes. The authority to make housing policies that support the safety and well-being of the Fraternity is provided for in The Code of Beta Theta Pi. This is also consistent with the Board of Trustees’ precedent examples of enacting Beta’s insurance program in the 1980s (which included eliminating kegs and little sister programs, scavenger hunts, etc., among other high-risk behaviors), launching the Men of Principle initiative and its programmatic and policy initiatives in the late 1990s, adopting the early 2000s’ forced-consumption chapter closure policy, and implementing the substance-free housing policy in 2003. Q: Penn State was supposed to be substance-free and that didn’t work, so how would this policy respond to that situation? A:

Like laws in society and rules within any organization or institution, adherence is not utopic. One need look no further than Beta’s existing policies on academics, social activities and financial obligations to know that, even though every individual and chapter doesn’t live up to every standard with perfection and at all times, rules and expectations are necessary if we’re to be an organization worthy of our name. No different than the workplace, family life or one’s existence in society, having rules of behavior and conduct requires individual sacrifice, but it is for the good of the order and necessary to live together in harmony. In Beta, chapters on a rolling basis and in a multitude of areas do live up to the standards set by the Fraternity, but it’s not hard to understand that their performance would likely be much different without our policies in place.

Ultimately, the outlier reality of Penn State being a “substance-free” chapter cannot overcome the summary data collected over 15 years that verifies substance-free chapters are safer than those that are not. From a policy standpoint, “perfection” cannot be the enemy of “really, really good.”

Q: Are we punishing chapters that have managed alcohol well in their houses by implementing this policy? A:


The Fraternity’s data suggests that virtually every housed, wet chapter has or is struggling with the responsible use of alcohol in its chapter house. This is not a punitive step but rather a decision to support our brothers with both policy and resources that will increase the safety and sustainability of their Beta experience.



Q: Do Phi Delta Theta and Farmhouse have difficulties enforcing this? How would Beta’s policy or approach be different? A:

Enforcement of any policy requires leadership at the General Fraternity level, and support and buy-in at the local level. While those fraternities’ histories both chronicle successes and challenges, their level of struggle isn’t any greater than that which we spend reactively responding to crisis and fallout from incidents occurring because of alcohol in our facilities. Similarly, we should be careful over-weighting their “difficulties” through second- and third-hand commentary, as predisposed feelings of competitiveness and male comparison are natural but oftentimes not fully informed. While enforcement concerns should continue to be explored with alumni and undergraduate leaders of those two fraternities (soon to also include Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity), Beta’s data validates the benefits of SFH and the fact that enforcement requires ongoing and diligent attention. We already know that enforcement of any policy, no matter the topic (academics, finances, attendance, risk management, etc.), requires effort, but the results can be significant and positive for our members and the larger Fraternity.

Q: Prohibition didn’t work and I don’t see how SFH is any different. How will the Fraternity deal with the unintended consequences of the party moving to other locations? A:

This policy expansion isn’t prohibition, as chapters are still fully empowered to host social events with alcohol. It’s simply a decision to remove alcohol from Beta homes. Any individual who chooses to consume alcohol can do so at the litany of establishments that serve alcohol legally. Compare the data of Beta chapters that are already substance-free against those that are wet: substance-free chapters outperform in virtually every metric, including risk management issues outside their chapter houses.

Q: What about the 21-year-old guy who wants to have a beer in his room on Sundays while he watches a ballgame? A:

If young men “having a beer in their room while watching a ballgame” was a big issue, it’s fair to say SFH wouldn’t even be on the table. Likewise, regardless of the divergent opinions on the federal drinking age, the fact is that more than 60 percent of our chapter members are underage, and those same men make up the vast majority of occupants in our facilities. Simply put, fraternity houses have become incredible shields for underage men and women to get easy access to alcohol, all the while transferring enormous risk to the organization, undergrad- uate chapter officers and the volunteer men and women who support them. The Fraternity cannot turn a blind eye to this reality with the belief that “having a beer calmly and quietly in one’s room” is the real issue at hand.

The misgivings of this question also rest in the fact that most alumni through the ’70s could only buy 3.2 percent beer, while today’s alcohol content in beer has more than doubled and is now closer to seven percent. Couple that with the pervasive hard-alcohol culture now on campus, and the suggestion that drinking today is modest in nature just doesn’t square with reality.


FACTS 94% of the Fraternity’s insurance losses over the last 20 years have come from Beta’s wet-housed chapters, causing premiums to more than double in the last four years.



Q: How is Beta’s approach to this topic aligned with the early days and steps taken to launch the Men of Principle initiative?

“This is also so directly tied to sexual assault. We must do all we can to eliminate the risks. And after all of the analysis, hand-wringing and fear of failure, we just have to do the right thing.” — Ted Haile, Georgia Tech ’75 Vice President, Board of Trustees


Similar to how the Fraternity took a hard stand in the late 1990s by eliminating alcohol from recruitment, prohibiting the Shep Test and mandating five-person advisory teams, the rationale for launching Men of Principle in the first place was to restore regular order to the Fraternity that had, at least for the prior 20-30 years, been run somewhat loosely with egregious levels of accountability. In our earliest days of observing the cultures of Beta’s first three Men of Principle pilot chapters – which was an enunciated goal of the Fraternity: that we would learn best practices from our undergraduates and adopt them into our policy and programmatic formula – it became evident that, overall, Nebraska’s substance-free chapter house was superior in the type of Beta experience it fostered. In addition, the progress we have made the last 15 years toward SFH in our Fraternity has been intentional, methodical, scaled over time and the result of a blended approach of education, policy and resource allocation – all things that were key ingredients of our early efforts with Men of Principle.

Q: Is the Fraternity ignoring the reality of college life today with this type of policy? A:

This SFH policy has been driven by consistent data and experience over 15 years and Beta’s results are mirrored by peers who have implemented SFH in their own organizations. Given today’s on-campus culture, most argue we would be sticking our heads in the sand if we believe the Fraternity (and Greek life in general) can continue on its current path and all will be OK. With more than 30 Greek community-wide suspensions currently in affect – and growing daily – many of our host campuses are pursuing similar policies and enforcing broad restrictions on the role that substances play in the Greek experience and student living environment. The reality is that our educational emphasis and substance-free housing policy for expansions have taken us as far as they can. Alcohol in our remaining chapter houses presents a significant threat to the safety and viability of our Fraternity and we continue to risk more injuries, sexual assaults, deaths and Beta headlines if we don’t take a principled stand. We must be willing to recognize – based on years of our own data and experiences – that our biggest vulnerabilities are wet, housed chapters.

Q: Won’t this policy drive things underground? A:


Fortunately, that hasn’t been the case with Beta’s 63 substance-free housed chapters. In fact, an analysis of Beta’s substance-free housed chapters suggests just the opposite: high-caliber men are recruited who manage their personal and chapter risks outside the chapter house far more maturely and successfully than their wet-housed chapter peers. In addition, moving the social events out of the chapter house either drives them to registered third-party vendors who provide much safer and more controlled environments, or to much smaller venues such as apartments or rental homes within the community that naturally limit the size and scope of social gatherings, while also providing greater transparency than a fraternity basement. Finally, transitioning social events away from



a chapter house with large common spaces immediately proximate to many private bedrooms minimizes the likelihood of sexual assault occurring in our Beta homes.

Q: Will substance-free chapter houses create more drunk driving? A:

Unlike prior decades, it has never been easier and less expensive to be transported while impaired, simply by using one’s phone to order an Uber or Lyft. Not surprisingly, beyond the fact that responsibility for one’s choices and decisions goes with being an adult, the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that from 2002 to 2014, there has been a dramatic, steady decline in the rate of drunk driving across America. That same time period mirrors the increasing prevalence of substance-free housing among campuses and fraternities across North America. Interestingly, the greatest declines in drunk driving have occurred in males between the ages of 16 and 24. So, the theory and concern is reasonable, but the facts don’t support substance-free housing in fraternity houses as a contributor to drunk driving.

Q: Don’t we just need to focus more on education and the responsible use of alcohol? Why won’t that work? A:

Undergraduates have been bombarded by alcohol and drug education classes since they were in middle school. They are also required to participate accordingly as a part of their general education health classes as freshmen, not to mention most campuses and/or IFCs require them of their new members. While education is a part of the solution, we do not believe that students are binge-drinking based on their lack of knowledge about the effects of alcohol on their bodies. Facilities in our name that shield chapters and members from any normal state of legal responsibility continue to threaten our organization, and adoption of a SFH policy is a common-sense approach to help shape healthier cultures within our homes.

Q: Won’t substance-free housing put Beta in a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruitment and social life? A: Thankfully, our Fraternity doesn’t have to speculate on this matter because Beta’s own data over the last 15 years indicates our substance free housed chapters are wildly successful in recruitment, as well as their social life on campus. In fact, the average chapter size of Beta’s substance-free housed chapters is 83 as compared to Beta’s 79-man average chapter size for all chapters. In talking with any number of Betas whose chapter house is substance-free, they will argue that their chapter is one of the tops on campus in terms of character, reputation and social calendar – without all of the downsides of a wet house, like being chronically dirty, dealing with never-ending property destruction, being hard to study in, increased risks for hazing and sexual assault, parents not wanting/allowing their son to live-in, etc. Finally, this is the direction campuses are headed. Assuming a position of leadership on the matter – consistent with Beta’s historical reputation – actually gives Beta a competitive advantage.


FACTS With 60% of Beta’s undergraduate membership below the legal drinking age, fraternity houses have become shields for underage men and women to get easy access to alcohol, all the while transferring enormous risk to the organization, fellow undergraduate chapter officers and the volunteer men and women who support them.



Q: Why is tobacco included in this policy?

“The overwhelming sentiments from those who have concerns about Beta’s substancefree housing policy center around the difficulties associated with change, not that it isn’t the right thing to do.”


Consistent with campus policies that have been in place for more than a decade, the primary concern regarding tobacco relates to damage caused by cigarettes due to fire and smoke. As cited by Beta’s insurance carrier, Holmes-Murphy, the two primary drivers of catastrophic destruction to our Beta homes are frozen pipes and open flames. Cigarettes landing in trash cans and couches, among a litany of other possibilities, create harmful circumstances for our chapters, and the Fraternity must do all it can to protect the safety and well-being of all who reside in and visit our facilities.

Q: Are you kidding me? Our alumni and chapter members will never support it. A:

While any reform measure like this may invoke similar initial reactions, the reality is that dozens of Beta chapters and Greek communities already operate with similar SFH policies and they do so with considerable success: Cornell, Florida State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, MIT, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Southern California, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington State and Wichita State, among others.

If there’s any consistent theme of individuals refusing to support the Fraternity, the trend has been in terms of alumni refusing to volunteer and offer financial support to their chapters because they do not want to assume personal risk being associated with the volatility of a wet house, nor do they and/or their Beta Sweetheart want to “throw good money after bad” given the toll substances and related behaviors take on the chapter house. The general insinuation of alumni and parents across North America seems to indicate that more of them would be involved as volunteer advisors and house corporation members – and provide more financial support – if our Beta homes were substance-free.

Q: Doesn’t the timing of the SFH announcement seem conspicuous given the deadline to submit Convention legislation just one day earlier?

—Jeff Rundle, Kansas State ’03 Executive Director



While the timing of the announcement in relation to the legislative deadline may have caused confusion, it had no impact on the ability for Convention delegates to weigh in on the Trustees’ decision. The Trustees adopted a policy in the name of the health and safety of our members – as they have been empowered to do by both The Code and Convention – but did not modify The Code in any way. Only Code amendments are required to be submitted by February 1st annually. In fact, the Trustees were prepared to make a decision during their fall board meeting in early November based on the feedback provided by Beta brothers throughout Convention and the fall term, but decided to hold off in favor of conducting additional feedback calls with some three dozen house corporations to gauge their perspectives and concerns. That data was then woven into the Trustees’ deliberations in late January during



the winter board meeting. Given the timeline necessary to prepare announcement materials, it was deemed fitting and important symbolically to share the Trustees’ larger strategic plan on February 2, the one-year anniversary of the events that led to Tim Piazza’s death.

Q: How can we be sure the Board of Trustees didn’t make this decision in a vacuum? A: With nearly 20 years of experience since the Men of Principle initiative was launched, including 15 years of data related to substance-free housing, two years of strategic planning, and a full year of reflection and analysis since the tragic death of Tim Piazza, it is safe to say that the 12-man Board of Trustees has had access to a voluminous amount of data from which to draw their conclusions. Including men from all regions of the continent, and hailing from chapters large and small, housed (10) and unhoused (2), substance-free (5) and not (5), current and former chapter counselors, house corporation presidents and district chiefs, young and old, singles, husbands and fathers, the blend of

perspectives and experiences is wide and deep within the Trustees’ make-up.

Just as importantly, these men have made extraordinary personal sacrifices and commitments in both time and treasure for the welfare of our Great and Good Fraternity, as their primary two objectives are the safety of our 10,000+ undergraduate Betas, and a rewarding brotherhood they believe all undergraduates deserve. While some may criticize the Trustees simply because of the leadership and governing role they serve, others have argued that Beta has not acted quickly enough in the wake of Tim Piazza’s death. The Trustees have resisted making any knee-jerk reactions in order to fully study the campus climate, our Beta culture and the future of the North American fraternity community. In the end, they believe substance-free housing is where Greek life continues to move and Beta needs to play a leadership role in its transition.

Q: What next? A:

A lot of work is ahead of the Fraternity on this and so many other matters. While brotherly patience is needed by all as plans, programs and resources are developed, the Board of Trustees is committed to ongoing collaboration with Beta undergraduates and volunteers as the Fraternity addresses the significant challenges before it. A historic level of human and financial resources will be required of the organization as it makes this substance-free housing transition, and the Board of Trustees is determined to meet those responsibilities.

“As a house corporation president who was skeptical of the General Fraternity and an original opponent of substance-free housing, I’ve seen the positive results first-hand in my own chapter. That’s why I cannot in good conscience be a part of the leadership of our Great and Good Fraternity if we choose to ignore the very-telling data and facts before us. Bottom line? It works. We must do it for the safety of our young men and their friends. It’s not just the right time; it’s the right THING to do.” – Cary Wood, Purdue ’88 House Corporation President; Vice President, Board of Trustees

FACTS The average chapter size and GPAs of Beta’s substancefree housed chapters outperform the Fraternity’s wet-housed chapters with a fraction of the risk for injury to Beta undergraduates and their guests.




YOU. ASKED. The script has flipped on “You Asked.” Instead of General Fraternity leaders responding to student questions, chapter leaders weigh in on this issue’s hot topic . . .


William Durr, SMU ’18

Dan Ford, Elon ’18

“Be open to having the tough conversations to make sure that every member is doing his part to ensure the safety of every member, new member and guest of Beta Theta Pi.”

“The most important thing the Fraternity can do is to recruit active advisors to help out all chapters and colonies with chapter development and operations.”

Ali Akbar, George Washington ’19 “I think member education should have a consistent focus on the simple concept of how one should treat others the way we want to be treated.”

Miles Smith, Willamette ’18 Zachary Patton, Wabash ’18

Kyle Lange, WisconsinOshkosh ’17 “We should focus on the individual. Anybody who interacts with a Beta should be met with sincerity and open arms, but that doesn't happen without putting in the work first. I believe that challenging the cultural norms of masculinity and allowing our members to have conversations about what they may be going through is an effective first step.”

Dakota Lakes, Eastern Kentucky ’18 “Understanding that any action you take not only resembles the kind of man you are, but it now places that same representation on your Fraternity. Wear your letters with pride and understand what they truly mean. Don’t live by the stereotypes, and defend yourself when they are expressed toward you.”

Tristan Hollenbaugh, Stevens ’18 “In the current state of Greek life, it is important for us Betas to realize that we have inherited a responsibility to be leaders in our communities. Now, more than ever, we must live by our values and set aside any superficialities that keep us from truly caring about one another.”

“THINK. THEN ACT.” —Jason Patrick Grimm, UC San Diego ’18

Matt Karcher Georgia ’18 “The Fraternity and all active brothers have the responsibility to hold each other accountable in both easy and difficult times. We must continue to live the Men of Principle life in order to truly represent Beta.”


“All Betas must be constantly aware of and learn from the Penn State tragedy.We must learn that there is no place in Greek life, nor any benefit to hazing; we must demonstrate the strength to stand up for what every Beta knows in his heart to be right. What happened at Penn State cannot be dismissed by chapters, rather we should educate young members on what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent anything like it from ever happening again. While the actions of Penn State Betas were disgraceful and personally embarrassing for all Betas, facing the tragedy is the best way to ensure that Timothy Piazza did not die in vain.”


“Responsible conduct can often be seen as a restrictive idea, an idea that conflicts with our desires to have fun and enjoy ourselves. [But] that is not what responsible conduct is or what Beta’s core value is meant to represent. To conduct yourself with responsibility is not to stop making mistakes, but rather to address the consequences of your mistakes. To learn from our mistakes, to grow from them, to address them as and after they happen, is to act responsibly. If the whole Fraternity remembers this idea and learns from the mistakes of the past, we will become a stronger and safer organization.”

Left: Sean Murtha, Florida '18




Two-thousand seventeen will forever be remembered as the year of Beta presidencies. By the end of the spring semester, the Fraternity was celebrating 10 young Betas elected by their peers to serve as student body president (see The Beta Theta Pi, Summer 2017, page 12), and last fall, another 19 Betas were chosen to lead their respective Greek communities. Recognizing Beta's own William Raimond Baird, Stevens 1878/Columbia 1881, is long considered "The Father of Interfraternalism," congratulations to the following 19 Beta IFC presidents.

Griffin Baumberger Loyola Marymount ’19

Kyle Bilyeu Louisville ’19

Nick Esposito High Point ’19

Sean Finnegan Rockhurst ’19

Venu Gopal Texas at Arlington ’18

Siddharth Hariharan Case Western Reserve ’19

Val Huerta San Diego ’19

Kellon Jones George Mason ’18

Jackson Laterza Indiana ’19

Kevin Le Puget Sound ’19

Tyler Linnebur Denver ’18

Kyle Lopez Quinnipiac ’19

Greyson McDonald TCU ’20

John Nowak Truman State ’19

Jason Pierce-Vazquez Iowa ’19

Henry Poulin Northeastern ’19

Marty Sedlacek Kansas ’20

Shane Thomas Wisconsin-Oshkosh ’19



Top 10 score leader. Thirty-six points (14 goals, 22 assists). Player of the Game. Beta brother. All of these describe Brennan Martin, Central Michigan ’20, whose division leading Chippewa Hockey team is firing on all cylinders with 20 straight wins (all stats at time of writing).



Connecticut isn’t a state typically known for its prowess on the gridiron, but don’t sleep on the Sacred Heart University Pioneers – or the three Beta brothers who helped lead the team to a stellar 2017 season! Not only did the team finish with a perfect 7-0 record, but they charged through the National Club Football Association playoffs and came out on top at the National Championship Bowl. From left to right: Joe LaRocca ’20, Andrew Crookes ’19, and Mario Cimino ’21.


Beta Nu hearts are rejoicing after four Cincinnati brothers – Chad Archdeacon ’18, Zach Barsala ’22, Maxwell Miller ’22, and Ben Daley ’21 – helped lead the Bearcats to a College Game Day Championship at the College Cheerleading Nationals in Orlando, Florida. That’s Beta Spirit at its finest!


Serving as the football team’s holder is often a thankless job, that’s why the Mortell Holder of the Year Award was created in 2015. Presented (and accepted) through light-hearted videos and jokes, the Mortell Award is about more than celebrating individual achievements of an overlooked position — it provides a platform for each year’s recipient to give back to the community. In December, Connor McGinnis, Oklahoma ’19, became the first Sooner and Beta to receive the honor. Accepting the award on his behalf, quarterback Baker Mayfield joked about McGinnis: “He holds everything. He holds water bottles. He holds pencils the correct way. Shout out to Connor. He deserves it.” McGinnis, who was also named to the 2017 Academic All-Big 12 Team, has chosen the nonprofit Fields & Futures as his charitable cause for the coming year.



The Beta undergraduate experience may be winding down for Refounding Father and two-term Chapter President Jacob Villarreal, Texas ’18, but the family name will remain commonplace within the chapter for at least a few more years, as Jacob recently had the honor of initiating his biological brother, Jared ’21, into the Beta family. He said of the moment: “Two years ago, I was initiated into an idea and appointed president of it. I gave a speech in which I said that, for me, being a Beta meant building a bridge for those who come after us – even those we may never meet. Little did I know that I'd have the chance to initiate my own little brother into the fraternity I'd served and poured [my heart] into for the past two years. I couldn't imagine a more poetic ending to such an important, challenging and influential chapter of my life leading these men. ___kai___”

How does a chapter celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding? If you’re Delta Kappa, you take a 580-mile road trip to initiate the next generation of Tennessee Betas back where it all started in Oxford, Ohio! The Fraternity congratulates the chapter on reaching this major milestone, and hopes for nothing but continued success for the next 50 years.



High Point’s newest members are losing their hair for a good cause, celebrating their hard work on behalf of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation with fresh buzz cuts and a $23,888 check to fight childhood cancer.

In January, the young men at Indiana initiated 25 new brothers. With a total membership of 166 men, Pi Chapter is now the third largest in Beta’s Broad Domain. Combined with their brother's election as IFC president and $25,000 raised during IU's Dance Marthon, it's been quite a year for Beta in Bloomington!


Each year, families across the world exchange greeting cards during the holiday season. But that’s not enough for a “go big or go home” chapter like Nebraska. In 2016, the men’s holiday lip-sync video to The Eagles' "Please Come Home for Christmas" became an instant classic, so anticipation was high … could they top that performance in 2017? Go to beta.org/yuletide to watch Alpha Tau’s take on "Wonderful Christmastime" by The Shins, and judge for yourself.


Ready to be wowed? No doubt you’ve seen “impossible” basketball trick shots before, but one attempted last fall by Lev Akabas, Cornell ’19, is sure to leave you speechless. This isn’t a shot taken from half court or over the shoulder. No – Akabas was thinking bigger. In what he dubbed the “Schoellkopf Field Shot,” Akabas sets his goal in the Cornell football field’s parking lot, climbs to the top of the stadium and goes for it. Check it out for yourself at beta.org/trickshot.


When people use the term “networking,” it’s often in conjunction with job searches and professional endeavors, but Zeta Phi at Missouri had a different idea: create an opportunity for local children affected by Down syndrome (and their families) to come together, learn from and bond with one another. To do this, the men – who founded the campus organization Mizzou Down Syndrome Advocates last year – coordinated a Breakfast With Santa, which featured arts and crafts and a visit from Old St. Nick himself (better known as Nate Nagy ’20)!





In November 1937, Bill Eyres, Toronto ’41, was initiated into Beta Theta Pi. To celebrate his 80 years of brotherhood, Carleton Betas paid a visit the now 100-year-old Bill at his Ottawa retirement home. As a keepsake, the men brought a photo of the Toronto Chapter's undergraduates who couldn’t be a part of the momentous occasion in person.


For AJ Staudt, Iowa State ’19, winter break wasn’t about receiving gifts, but giving back. Staudt spent 10 days in Haiti on a mission trip, installing a new roof on an orphanage and building almost 70 desks for schoolchildren. Way to model the Beta way, brother!

 LEADING AFTER TRAGEDY Three brothers from Florida State recently met with University President John Thrasher to help craft new norms for the Greek community following a campus tragedy last fall. While there, Thrasher appointed Jimmy Kropelin ’20 (center left), to a campus advisory board overseeing implementation.











After nearly 20 years, Beta has recolonized Delta Tau at Arizona State with a strong and diverse class of 31 exceptional Founding Fathers supported by an expansive network of alumni and Friends of Beta. Including a 10-person advisory team and 4-person house corporation. the colony is focused on recruitment, creating a sustainable operations structure and integrating their colony in the community. With an 11-man spring pledge class and the development of fraternity and sorority partnerships for homecoming and Greek-led philanthropy projects, the colony is well on its way to success. This winter, undergraduate leaders and advisors attended three of the Fraternity’s leadership programs: the Presidents Academy, Keystone Conference and Wooden Institute. Combined with the recent incorporation of the house corporation, it’s clear the colony is making serious investments in its future.

2017 Beta Graduates from the University of California, San Diego





Royal Graduation Stole $47.82

Red Graduation Stole $47.82

Navy Graduation Stole $47.82

Royal Honor Cords $4.49

Red Honor Cords $4.49

Navy Honor Cords $4.49



Flags indicate those who have served in the United States or Canadian armed forces.


Forever remembering these men and the love they had for Beta Theta Pi and their fellow brothers, notices of their passing were reported to the Administrative Office between November 1 and February 5, 2017. To report a brother's death or for assistance locating an obituary, please contact Phyllis Bowie at 800.800.BETA or phyllis.bowie@beta.org. Asking loved ones to donate your Beta badge and important Beta artifacts to the Fraternity's archives and museum in Oxford is always welcomed and appreciated.

Arizona Bert E. Trentham Jr. '65, Oct. 27, 2017

Colorado Frank A. Gerhardt '64, June 20, 2017 C

Duke Robert D. Cook '51, Nov. 12, 2017 C

Arizona State Jeffrey D. Novak '89, Nov. 4, 2017

Cornell William C. Cornelske '64, March 23, 2016 Hans Peter P. L'Orange Jr. '55, March 27, 2017

Florida Edward B. Knight '38, Aug. 28, 2016 C

Bowling Green John D. Yacos III '70, Jan. 1 C British Columbia Thomas H. Bennett '57, Dec. 30, 2017 C James W. Jardine '72, Nov. 29, 2017


Brown Kenneth R. Allen '53, Jan. 21 C Cal State, Chico John F. Corry '87, Jan. 14 Cincinnati Philip H. Hendrickson '56, May 16, 2017 C Paul A. Kuhn '50, Jan. 4 Raymond G. Laubenthal '61, Jan. 15 Dale H. Whitford '51, Jan. 1 C

LEROY J. MARX JR. C Denver '49 Following service in the U.S. Navy during WWII, Marx attended the University of Denver where he joined Beta and served as chapter president. With a professional career in education, Marx volunteered as Beta’s Assistant General Treasurer (1957-65), and district chief (1962-67).

Dartmouth Gene J. Bokor '48, May 19, 2017 Denison Thomas A. Creager '53, Dec. 20, 2017 William E. Deeds '41, Feb. 6, 2017 Denver Byron H. Hasstedt '51, Nov. 13, 2016 LeRoy J. Marx '49, Jan. 1 C Lloyd C. Steinmann '51, Jan. 9 C DePauw Richard P. Best '48, Aug. 26, 2017 C Thomas L. McCormick '69, May 17, 2017 Robert F. Reckman '44, Aug. 27, 2016 Scott E. Stacke '86, Oct. 30, 2017 G. B. Stewart '52, Nov. 8, 2017 C

WILLIAM E. HUNT JR. Maine '82 A past chapter president of the Beta Eta Chapter, Hunt volunteered in dual roles as his chapter’s house corporation president and chapter counselor (1992-93) before serving the General Fraternity as district chief (1993-96).

Georgia Tech Thomas H. Herrington Jr. '61, Dec. 8, 2017 C Hanover John K. Cozier Jr. '58, Jan. 4 Michael K. Jones '64, Dec. 6, 2017 Idaho William M. Agee '60, Dec. 20, 2017 Hallvard Grosvold '62, Dec. 23, 2017 John M. Kirtland '77, Nov. 26, 2017 Charles S. Knox '42, Oct. 24, 2017 C Charles L. White Jr. '55, Nov. 23, 2017 D. R. Wyatt '60, Oct. 13, 2017 C Illinois Jack W. Carlson '57, Jan. 1, 2016 John V. Christiansen '49, Aug. 16, 2017 Donald F. Stewart '50, Jan. 17 C

FRANK C. GIERHART C Oklahoma State '58 Upon graduating from Oklahoma State where he served as his chapter’s vice president, Gierhart served in the Army for two years as a photographer at the Pentagon. An active member of his community, Gierhart also volunteered as the Fraternity’s district chief (1960-63).

The Foundation is often asked how one can memorialize a dearly departed Beta while also supporting the goals of the Fraternity. In lieu of flowers, consider naming the Beta Leadership Fund in your own obituary. Memorial gifts can be made online at beta.org/gift or by phone at 800.800.BETA.

Indiana Robert J. Wright '81, Nov. 26, 2017 Iowa State James D. Benson '69, Dec. 10, 2017 C

MIT C. M. Adams '49, Sept. 14, 2017 Robert R. Boye '88, Jan. 9 Frederick K. Glick '62, Nov. 12, 2017 C

Kansas State David W. Choplin '62, Nov. 23, 2017 William L. Fawcett '49, Oct. 25, 2016 Robert O. McDowell '58, Oct. 22, 2017

North Carolina Harold J. Bowen Jr. '53, Jan. 4 C Braxton Glasgow III '75, Nov. 13, 2017 Josiah S. Murray III '57, Jan. 1

Knox James E. Roberts '57, May 6, 2017

Northwestern Robert S. Baker '45, Nov. 24, 2017 Kenneth D. Eskey Jr. '52, Nov. 29, 2017 C Robert W. Scholler '48, Nov. 28, 2017

Lawrence Robert B. Buchanan '47, Aug. 6, 2017 Budford L. Curry '47, March 31, 2017 Lehigh A. B. Borgeson '49, Dec. 22, 2017 C Edward J. Mahoney '53, Jan. 18 Maine Jefferson D. Ackor '62, Nov. 14, 2016 C William E. Hunt Jr. '82, Nov. 18, 2017

Miami (Fla.) Brian N. Grant ’08, February 13, 2018 Michigan William R. Montgomery '63, Nov. 28, 2017 Minnesota Richard L. Jesperson '46, Nov. 20, 2017 Willis C. Kildow '48, Oct. 2, 2017 C Charles B. Webber '53, Aug. 6, 2017 Mississippi Larry J. Whitener '68, Oct. 20, 2017 Missouri George D. Finlayson MD '50, Oct. 14, 2016 Harold S. Hook '53, Jan. 14 C Stowell T. Kidder '03, Nov. 1, 2017 Peter A. Lamy '63, Dec. 7, 2017 Ernest W. Schmidt '44, Dec. 12, 2015 Ralph W. Scott Jr. '57, Dec. 5, 2017

Ohio Wesleyan Michael J. Treman '68, Oct. 1, 2017 C Oklahoma David W. Dreisker '60, Dec. 6, 2017 Denzil D. Garrison '51, Jan. 15 C Jay D. Magness '56, Dec. 2, 2015 Oklahoma State William J. Cooper '50, Aug. 3, 2016 Frank C. Gierhart '58, Nov. 30, 2017 C Earle W. Stanley '50, Oct. 30, 2017 C Oregon Stanley A. Boyd '46, June 24, 2017 Craig R. Norton '46, Jan. 31, 2016 Pennsylvania Lawrence H. Peterson Jr. '46, Oct. 1, 2017 C Purdue John R. Manhart '59, Dec. 9, 2017 Roger F. Marsh '48, Jan. 7 SMU Robert H. Wellborn '59, Oct. 29, 2017 C

Including student body president and a three-year tour of duty in the Navy's Atlantic Fleet, Harold's professional career was marked by high point upon high point. Becoming the youngest national insurance company president by the age of 31, he quickly ascended to the role of chairman, CEO and president of American General Insurance Company, coupled with board of director roles for Chase Bank, Continental Airlines, Duke Energy and Sprint, among others. An Eagle Scout, Harold also served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America. Recipient of Beta's 18th Oxford Cup, the Fraternity's highest honor for professional achievement, he was modest and unassuming by nature, but a brilliant tactician and lifelong learner and thinker about the greater good. Lead donor to Beta's early '90s campaign to build its breathtaking new Administrative Office in Oxford (for which the John Reily Knox Library is named in his honor), Hook stepped forward in 1998 and provided onefifth of the total funding needed to launch what would become Beta's award-winning Men of Principle initiative. His beliefs in the tenets of the Men of Principle initiative were so passionate that he would lead successive capital campaigns and become one of the Beta Foundation's largest lifetime donors in the ensuing 20 years. At his heart, he believed most passionately in education, “devotion to the cultivation of the intellect,” and the role learning plays in the development of a civilized society. Certainly his impact on Beta Theta Pi speaks to a life well lived. Hook is survived by his Beta Sweetheart Joanne, daughter Karen, Beta sons Tom, Miami '81 (Laura), and Randy, Westminster '83 (Martha), and five grandchildren. May Brother Hook rest in peace as a grateful Fraternity honors his lifelong loyalty and dedication. ___kai___


Miami Edward D. Golterman '47, April 16, 2016 Dominic L. Mancuso '53, Oct. 23, 2017 C Minor M. Markle III '56, May 30, 2017

Ohio State James R. Brandon '56, Dec. 5, 2017 Don E. Fuller '50, Jan. 9 Thomas K. Kreakbaum '60, June 2, 2017 Robert E. Newell '48, July 25, 2017 Robert L. Prouty '47, Jan. 6, 2016 Francis J. Shields '50, Dec. 3, 2017 Charles P. Shriner '50, Nov. 19, 2017 Gerald S. Strauss '68, Dec. 14, 2017

Missouri '53 One of Beta's most loyal and longstanding ambassadors, Harold Hook, Missouri '53, was once the undergraduate president of his beloved Zeta Phi Chapter, and served as district chief, vice president on the Board of Trustees and director of the Beta Theta Pi Foundation Board.


Kansas John M. Prosser '54, Nov. 20, 2017

Nebraska Terry R. Carpenter '62, Jan. 19 C John W. Gibson '62, Dec. 29, 2017 Steven W. Hilgenfeld '02, Nov. 7, 2017 John E. Lahiff '64, Dec. 3, 2017 Stuart V. Reynolds Sr. '53, Sept. 3, 2017

Johns Hopkins Roland C. Blantz MD '62, Oct. 29, 2017 C


IN LOVING MEMORY South Dakota Matt C. Peery '94, Nov. 18, 2017 Monte G. Scholten '62, Jan. 10 James M. Senftner '58, Dec. 4, 2017

St. Lawrence Mark J. Brown Jr. '40, Nov. 19, 2017 C

Wabash Thomas R. Cassady '50, July 18, 2017 C Jon C. Finley '83, Dec. 24, 2017 O. L. Nell '56, Nov. 9, 2017 John R. Price '63, Jan. 7, 2017 Robert R. Ragan '49, Dec. 24, 2017 C Frederick C. Scott '60, Aug. 13, 2017

Syracuse Jordan D. Feldstein '99, Dec. 22, 2017 Allen F. Martin Jr. '50, March 10, 2017

Washington Daniel Currie III '62, Nov. 4, 2017 Donald F. Gaiser MD '55, Nov. 9, 2017

Texas Bourdon R. Barfield '51, Jan. 9 E. R. Williams Jr. '58, April 24, 2017

Washington & Jefferson J. W. Dauber Jr. '53, Jan. 12

Southern California William L. Ross '63, Dec. 18, 2017 C


Virginia Tech Scott C. Farr '89, Nov. 5, 2017

Toronto Keith C. Pilley '46, Dec. 18, 2017 R. B. Stapells '46, Nov. 21, 2017 Tulane August H. Douglas Jr. '49, Dec. 19, 2017 C


UC Berkeley Donald W. Davis '43, Oct. 24, 2017 C Anthony T. Ellis '51, Jan. 16 UCLA Herbert K. Quincy '65, Aug. 15, 2017 Union James H. Bryson '50, Aug. 13, 2017 C Vanderbilt Elwood S. Ott '45, Nov. 29, 2016 Maxwell C. Payne Jr. '49, Nov. 19, 2017 C

JORDAN D. FELDSTEIN Syracuse '99 Initiated April 27, 1996, Feldstein passed away at the age of 40 after suffering a cardiac arrest. The CEO of Career Artist Management, Feldstein was the longtime manager of Maroon 5 and the brother of actor Jonah Hill.

Washington and Lee Donald M. Bertram '49, June 18, 2016 Keith A. Carr '63, Oct. 28, 2017 Washington in St. Louis Cornell C. Bowen '58, July 9, 2017 Richard V. Bradley '47, Jan. 1, 2017 Malcolm Deisenroth Jr. '45, April 2, 2016 Dennis J. Kilper '63, Jan. 14 Wesleyan Robert P. Cook Jr. '49, March 1, 2016 West Virginia Robert R. Deison '61, Jan. 2 C Robert D. Londeree Jr. '47, Dec. 2, 2016 William Morgan Jr. MD '46, March 29, 2016 William T. Nestor '71, Dec. 26, 2017

O. LESLIE NELL Wabash '56 A member of the Fraternity’s advisory council since 1997, Nell spent 35 years in banking, serving as CEO of several banks in South Florida after 18 years with Indiana National Bank. He also held leadership positions with the Miami and Boca Raton Chambers of Commerce.

Western Reserve Larry J. Belcastro '47, Oct. 22, 2016 Charles M. Branden '49, Nov. 21, 2017 C Arden L. Greenwald '47, June 27, 2017 Ronald S. Stein '73, Jan. 7 Westminster Keith W. Anderson '80, Nov. 26, 2017 Eric J. Brumm '67, Nov. 7, 2017 Lawrence W. Davis '71, May 28, 2016 Peter S. Fowler '67, Sept. 12, 2017 Thomas H. George '65, Jan. 18 John W. Kinsinger '84, Jan. 3 David L. Lynn '61, Oct. 26, 2017 C Richard O. Roever '85, Dec. 12, 2017 Whitman Gary J. Fowler '56, Oct. 21, 2017 Willamette James R. Barrett '95, Jan. 11 Barry A. Smedstad '68, March 19, 2017 C Loren C. Winterscheid MD '48, Dec. 22, 2017 Wisconsin Robert A. Cahill '56, Aug. 16, 2016 Daniel J. Carter '52, Dec. 19, 2017 Wittenberg Robert C. Bell Jr. '46, Jan. 22, 2017 Jack M. Bowie '46, Oct. 31, 2016 Yale Dodd Fischer '65, Nov. 17, 2017 C Albert H. Kelsey '45, July 25, 2016 C

ALBERT H. KELSEY C Yale '45 A former chapter president, Kelsey attended law school at the University of Virginia before serving in WWII as a navigator for the U.S. Air Force, flying a B-24 for 24 missions. He volunteered for the General Fraternity as district chief from 1952-55.

DON PEARCE, SMU ’65 Last fall, more than 2,500 young men sought to join our Beta family – the secondhighest recruitment season on record. What were they looking for? Brotherhood and camaraderie, no doubt. For those who immerse themselves in the Beta experience, however, our Fraternity is so much more. It’s a life-shaping adventure. I chose not only to be a Beta brother at SMU, but a chapter leader – playing on seven intramural teams and serving as both scholarship chairman and treasurer. All these years later, I now know that the competitive drive and skills in relationship building and financial management that have contributed to my professional success are thanks in large part to the Beta journey I began more than 50 years ago. That’s why I’ve included the Beta Foundation in my estate for future benevolence. Through the Men of Principle initiative, the Fraternity has helped develop thousands of young leaders on college campuses across North America; leaders who have gone on to establish successful businesses and families, and become the pillars of our society. In my eyes, Beta is the leader in providing guidance to college-aged men at this most formative stage of their lives. And, thankfully, I know my gift is going to an ever-growing number of Betas who are not only in search of a brotherhood, but are committed to answering the call of principled leadership our world so desperately needs right now.

In my eyes, Beta is the leader in providing guidance to college-aged men at this most formative stage of their lives.

Don Pearce, SMU ’65, graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics. His early career was spent working on the Apollo 11 space program, before spending 40 years in sales and marketing for companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems. He lives in Dallas, Texas.


D E A R M O M, “Choosing that I live in the United States was surely among the hardest choices you’ve ever had to make. I like to think it was a good choice. The dad you chose for me, the brother that came into my life four years later and I are an unusual family. We’ve made the best of everything we’ve got. But I do miss you...”

– Marshall “Thulani” Smith, Butler ’20

Watch Thulani’s full video to his mother at beta.org/dearmom

Adopted at birth, family is at the core of Thulani Smith’s identity. Two years ago, he created a moving short film dedicated to his birth mother in Zimbabwe showing his family, schooling and travels that have shaped him in their many years apart. Now, as one of 62 Founding Fathers at Butler University, the aspiring photographer and filmmaker’s family continues to grow. The Beta Leadership Fund supports award-winning leadership programming for Thulani and the more than 10,000 young Betas like him. This is more than a brotherhood – it’s a family. Thulani’s family. B E TA .O R G /G I F T


Profile for Beta Theta Pi

The Beta Theta Pi - Spring 2018  

The Beta Theta Pi - Spring 2018  

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