The Founding of Beta Theta Pi

At nine o’clock on the evening of the eighth day of the eighth month of the year 1839, eight earnest young men, all students at Miami University, held the first meeting of Beta Theta Pi in the Hall of the Union Literary Society, an upper room in the old college building (known as “Old Main”). The eight founders in the order in which their names appear in the minutes were:

John Reily Knox 1839

Samuel Taylor Marshall 1840

David Linton 1839

James George Smith 1840

Charles Henry Hardin 1841

John Holt Duncan 1840

Michael Clarkson Ryan 1839

Thomas Boston Gordon 1840

Beta Firsts

In addition to a roll of honor that includes some of North America’s foremost industry leaders, Beta Theta Pi is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, including recognition as the “Pioneering Fraternity” and “Leadership Fraternity.” The Fraternity is proud of its “Beta Firsts:”


  • First college fraternity founded west of the Allegheny Mountains (August 8, 1839)
  • First fraternity to have a General Convention (1842)
  • First to host an interfraternal event and meeting (1848)
  • First fraternity to establish a chapter west of the Mississippi River (1866)
  • First fraternity to create alumni chapters (1867)
  • First and oldest continuously published college fraternity magazine (1872)
  • First fraternity to have general officers (1872)
  • First college fraternity to publish an open constitution for public distribution (1879)
  • First fraternity to be founded in 15 states – more than any other fraternity
  • First fraternity established on more than 35 campuses – more than any other fraternity
  • First fraternity to adopt a 2.5 minimum GPA for a chapter (1984)
  • First fraternity to adopt a 2.5 minimum GPA for each member (1997)
  • First fraternity to adopt a 2.7 minimum GPA for a chapter (2006)
  • First fraternity to adopt a 2.8 minimum GPA – or the campus All Men’s Average – for a chapter, whichever is greatest (2012)

Our Mission

To develop men of principle for a principled life.


Our Vision

Every member will live Beta Theta Pi’s values.


Core Values

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

  • Mutual Assistance – Betas believe that men are mutually obligated to help others in the honorable labors and aspirations of life.
  • Intellectual Growth – Betas are devoted to continually cultivating their minds, including high standards of academic achievement.
  • Trust – Betas develop absolute faith and confidence in one another by being true to themselves and others.
  • Responsible Conduct – Betas choose to act responsibly, weighing the consequences of their actions on themselves and those around them.
  • Integrity – Betas preserve their character by doing what is morally right and demanding the same from their brothers.