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
Michael Clarkson Ryan, 1839
Thomas Boston Gordon, 1840

"of ever honored memory"

"BETA FIRSTS"

  • First college fraternity founded west of the Allegheny Mountains
  • 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 fraternity to organize chapters into districts for administrative purposes (1873)
  • 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)
  • First fraternity to achieve 85 Rhodes Scholars - more than any other fraternity (2016)

"BETAS OF ACHIEVEMENT"

  • Vice President of the United States
  • Prime Minister of Canada
  • 200+ members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives - more than any other fraternity - including two Speakers of the house
  • Eight U.S. Supreme Court Justices - more than any other fraternity
  • Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • 32 Ambassadors
  • 50 Governors to 23 States
  • Two Canadian Premiers
  • Six Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients
  • Six Presidential Medal of Freedom Honorees
  • Four Astronauts
  • 34 Olympic Gold Medals
  • Three Nobel Prize Laureates
  • 85 Rhodes Scholars - more than any other fraternity