Beta Theta Pi History and accomplishments

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

"of ever honored memory"

Core Values

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.

Accomplishments of Betas

John Wooden, Purdue ’32 UCLA Basketball Coaching Legend 

Sam Walton, Missouri ’40 Founder and Chairman, Walmart

Richard Lugar, Denison ’54 U.S. Senator, Indiana

Stephen Sondheim, Williams ’50 Broadway Composer

John Turner, British Columbia ’49 Prime Minister of Canada

Shahid Khan, Illinois ’70 Owner, NFL Jacksonville Jaguars

Bill Bowerman, Oregon ’65 Co-founder, Nike

Bruce Nordstrom, Washington '55 CEO, Nordstrom

John Backe, Miami ’54 CEO, CBS

Donald E. Petersen, Washington ’46 CEO, Ford Motor Co.

Howard Fineman, Colgate ’70 Huffington Post, MSNBC Analyst

Dale Mortensen, Willamette ’61 Nobel Prize in Economics

John Warnock, Utah ’61 Co-founder, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Jimmy Yen, Yale 1918 Humanitarian and Worldwide Educator 

Ray Mabus, Mississippi ’69 U.S. Navy Secretary; Amb. to Saudi Arabia

Harold Hook, Missouri ’53 CEO, American General Corp. President, Boy Scouts of America

Bill Nelson, Florida/Yale ’65 U.S. Senator, Florida Astronaut 

Owen D. Young, St. Lawrence 1894 President and Chairman, General Electric 1929 Time Magazine Man of the Year

Neil Everett, Oregon ’84 Broadcaster, ESPN’s Sportscenter

Hugh McColl, North Carolina ’57 CEO, Bank of America

Mike Schmidt, Ohio ’71 MLB Hall of Famer

Dan Carney, Wichita State ’63 Co-founder, Pizza Hut

Frank Shrontz, Idaho ’53 CEO, Boeing

William Anderson (Adam West), Whitman ’51 “Batman”

Ken Cameron, MIT ’71 Astronaut

Jay Fiedler, Dartmouth ’94 NFL Quarterback

Ed Roski, Southern California ’62 CEO, Majestic Realty Co-owner, L.A. Lakers, Kings and Staples Center

Dr. Bill Fox, St. Lawrence ’75 President, St. Lawrence University

Jerry R. Lucas, Ohio State ’62 NBA Hall of Fame, New York Knicks

David Mulford, Lawrence ’59 Ambassador to India

Stephen Bechtel Jr., Purdue ’47 CEO, Bechtel Construction

Glen Holden, Oregon ’51 Ambassador to Jamaica

Joe Albaugh, Oklahoma State ’74 Director of FEMA

Eric Javits, Columbia ’52 Ambassador to the OPCW (The Hague)

Mark Hatfield, Willamette ’43 U.S. Senator & Governor, Oregon

John Dolibois, Miami ’42 Ambassador to Luxembourg

James K. Arness, Beloit ’46 Marshal Matt Dillon on “Gunsmoke”

Stephen Sample, Illinois ’70 President, University of Southern California

George Peppard, Purdue ’52 Paul Varjak on “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Hannibal on “The A-Team”

Mike Bennet, Wesleyan ’87 U.S. Senator, Colorado

Stan Smith, Southern California ’69 Wimbledon Tennis Champion

Paul Weitz, Penn State ’54 Astronaut

John Rietz Jr. (Robert Reed), Northwestern ’54 Mike Brady on “The Brady Bunch”

Frank Murphy, Kansas ’36 Chancellor, University of Kansas & UCLA 

Brian White, Dartmouth ’95 “Moesha,” “Stomp the Yard,” “CSI: Miami,” “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse”

Spencer F. Eccles Sr., Utah ’56 Chairman and CEO, First Security Corp.

Donald D. Coryell, Washington ’47 Coach, NFL Cardinals and Chargers

James A. Collins, UCLA ’50 CEO, Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, Inc.

Don Nickles, Oklahoma State ’71 U.S. Senator, Oklahoma

Warren Staley, Kansas State ’65 CEO, Cargill

Colgate Betas: Kevin Heffernan ’91, Steve Lemme ’91, Erik Stolhanske ’91, and Jay Chandrasekhar ’90 Broken Lizard Comedy Group; “Super Troopers”

Barney Calame, Missouri ’61 Public Editor, The New York Times

John Warner, Washington and Lee ’50 U.S. Senator, Virginia

Joe Allen, DePauw ’59 Astronaut

Richard Heckert, Miami ’44 CEO, DuPont

David Holl, Clemson ’82 President and CEO, Mary Kay, Inc.

Dick Gephardt, Northwestern ’62 Congressman, Missouri

Jim Martin, Davidson ’57 North Carolina Governor

Robert F. Engle III, Williams ’64 Nobel Prize in Economics

Richard Karn, Washington ’78 Al Borland on “Home Improvement”

Melvern "Rivers" Rutherford, Mississippi ’89 American Singer-Songwriter

Art Collins, Miami ’69 Chairman and CEO, Medtronic, Inc.