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    Campus Life

    Beta Theta Pi Fraternity to Join Pacific’s Greek Life Community

    Fraternity known for its leadership programs to start recruitment in the spring
    By Rhashad PittmanNov 21, 2011

    University of the Pacific has selected Beta Theta Pi, a social fraternity with a strong reputation for its leadership development programs, as the newest member of the University's Greek Life community.

    Beta Theta Pi on Thursday formally accepted Pacific's offer to establish a chapter on the Stockton campus. The organization will start recruiting members in spring 2012 and move onto the Stockton campus in the fall.

    "Beta is a leader in the field of Greek organizations," said Pacific senior Matthew Warnock, who participated in the selection process. "We saw their emphasis on developing young men to be leaders in the community and to live a principled life as invaluable attributes for Pacific students."

    Having Beta on campus will add to numerous benefits that fraternities and sororities offer to Pacific students, including opportunities for diverse and lasting social networks, academic support and positive group experiences, said Dr. Elizabeth Griego, Vice President for Student Life. "Both the men and the women who make up Pacific's Greek Life community place a high priority on academic excellence, community service and leadership," she said. "Beta's philosophy and principles are in line with the values of these fraternities and sororities that already call Pacific home."

    Beta will be the fourth social fraternity on campus. Other members of Pacific's Greek community include the fraternities Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi, and sororities Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta.

    Founded in 1839, Beta Theta Pi started at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Today the fraternity has 123 active chapters in the United States and Canada and more than 125,000 alumni members. Its mission is "to develop men of principle for a principled life."

    The fraternity hosts numerous annual leadership summits, workshops and on-campus trainings for its members. The organization is perhaps most known for its John and Nellie Wooden Institute for Men of Principle, which teaches its members the fraternity's history and leadership skills. The institute is named in honor of former UCLA men's basketball coach and Beta member John Wooden, and his wife Nellie. The late Hall of Fame coach won 10 championships in the 1960s and 1970s and was renowned for his inspirational messages to his players and for his "Pyramid of Success" principles designed for success in basketball and life.

    In August, Vice President Griego appointed a nine-member search committee to identify a new national fraternity to invite to campus. The committee members were: Steve Jacobson, Associate Vice President for Student Life, Torry Brouillard-Bruce, Executive Director for Housing, Residential & Greek Life (Sigma Phi Epsilon), Leanna Neves Bogetti, Assistant Director for Greek Life (Alpha Chi Omega), Jessica Impallaria, Coordinator for Greek Life (Alpha Delta Pi), Steve Whyte, Director of University Events (Omega Phi Alpha), Matthew Warnock - Sigma Chi member, RJ Aitken, Pi Kappa Alpha member, Rob Keene, Theta Chi member, and Eric Luke, Greek Residence Director for Sigma Chi (Delta Tau Delta).

    After a four-month search, the committee chose Beta out of four finalists. "Across the United States, Beta is considered one of the strongest, if not the strongest, fraternities in Greek Life," said Steve Whyte, a 1979 Pacific graduate and a search committee member. "Beta Theta Pi has some of the best leadership development programs in Greek Life, healthy financial backing, and a growing number of chapters."

    The missions of Pacific and Beta closely align, said the fraternity's Administrative Secretary Judson A. Horras. Beta can be a strong inter-fraternal partner that adds value to Pacific's Greek Life community and entire student body, he said. "Beta Theta Pi is thrilled with the invitation to become part of the University of the Pacific family," Horras said. "As a part of Beta's Men of Principle initiative, our goal is to recruit and develop a chapter of young men who are committed to developing their intellect, their leadership abilities and their service to others - all in the name of lifelong fraternal brotherhood."

    During the first year at Pacific, a representative from Beta will live near campus to help establish the Pacific chapter. The fraternity has a no-alcohol policy for its chapter housing and provides funding for members to attend regional and national conferences. Members of the national office also frequently visit chapter members to provide training and guidance.

    Beta's staff will work closely with Pacific's Greek Life staff in ensuring a smooth transition to campus. A Pacific residence director will also live inside Beta's house, a standard University practice for any fraternity or sorority housed on campus. The quality of staff and staffing support for Greek Life were major reasons for Beta's strong interest in establishing a chapter at Pacific, Horras said. "We have rarely seen the level of support for the Greek system that we see at Pacific," he said.

    Beta will move into the house last occupied by Delta Upsilon at 811 President's Drive. Delta Upsilon's charter was revoked earlier this year by its national organization for various infractions. "Despite the best efforts of Student Life to address and mitigate the issues with Delta Upsilon, the national office still opted to close the chapter," said Whyte, former Delta Upsilon's staff advisor. "Since Pacific was unable to keep DU on campus, we made every effort to attract the best fraternity possible, and we believe we have done just that in getting Beta Theta Pi."

    While Pacific embraces the new traditions and culture that Beta will bring to the University, Delta Upsilon and Omega Phi Alpha alumni will always be welcomed to visit Beta's new home. "When the University reviewed national fraternity candidates under our Greek expansion policy, we made clear that Omega Phi and Delta Upsilon alumni should be welcomed any time in the fraternity house," Griego said, "and that we would together continue to find ways to strengthen the ties between our strong and inspirational alumni and the new members of Beta Theta Pi."


    about the author

    Rhashad Pittman   Rhashad Pittman is the media relations coordinator at Pacific.

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