About Beta Theta Pi
Among the great old fraternities, Beta Theta Pi was established by eight young men on August 8, 1839 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Early on, Beta earned a reputation as a pioneer by being the first fraternity founded west of the Allegheny Mountains and the first to locate a chapter west of the Mississippi River. In 1879, Beta Theta Pi became the first college fraternity to publish its constitution. The five core values espoused by Beta Theta Pi are cultivation of the intellect, responsible conduct, mutual assistance, integrity, and trust. These are the cornerstones for our mission statement to "develop men of principle for a principled life."
Today, Beta has more than 130 chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada with around 184,000 initiated members.
About Alpha Alpha
The Alpha Alpha Chapter of Beta Theta Pi was established at Columbia University in the City of New York in 1881 a little more than 40 years after Beta Theta Pi was founded in 1839. The chapter has called 550 W. 114th Street home throughout its tenure at Columbia. Brothers of the Alpha Alpha chapter enjoy the unique privilege of being the only recognized Greek organization on campus to have a house owned by their alumni rather than the university. This affords them additional freedoms and responsibilities not shared by other Columbia fraternities, such as the ability to self-govern and manage their own living space. The Alpha Alpha house holds up to 18 brothers and contains a big screen TV, Wi-Fi, laundry, a pool table, a full kitchen, and a high fidelity sound system for brothers to enjoy. Summer housing is also available for brothers. The chapter has maintained a diverse membership by not limiting recruitment to a particular club or sport. Over 1500 men have been initiated into the Alpha Alpha Chapter since its inception.
From the beginning, brotherhood has served as the cornerstone of Beta Theta Pi. This lasting bond of friendship is cultivated by being a part of a group of individuals who share the same goals and values, constantly supporting each other in the pursuit of social, moral and cultural excellence. Founder John Reily Knox described it as, "What a few men who are united in common purpose and effort are determined to do, can be done. More than that, such associations teach us just how far human friendships can carry us."
The Alpha Alpha Chapter expresses this strong feeling of Brotherhood in many areas of day to day life. The active members spend much time cultivating the knowledge and experience of their predecessors. Excellence is stressed during the undergraduate years and beyond. After graduation, many Betas go on to make significant contributions in their fields. With more than 85 Rhodes scholars, nearly 200 Congressman and nine Supreme Court justices, the Beta roll reads like a “Who’s Who.” A few notable Betas include:
- Coaching Legend John Wooden
- Wal-mart Founder Sam Walton
- Canadian Prime Minister John Turner
- Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt
- Astronaut Colonel Ken Cameron
- Senator Richard Lugar
- U.S. Ambassador Eric Javits
- Nike Founder Bill Bowerman
- Tennis Great Stan Smith
- Myspace Co-Founder Chris DeWolfe
- Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan
In 1839, the founders of Beta Theta Pi selected three great principles that have defined members for more than 150 years. These principles have maintained their brilliance despite the tests of war and a changing society. This foundation has proven to be as powerful and reliable now as when it was established. The Beta legacy has been handed down for generations, and Betas today continue to pass it on to those who follow.