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 of 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."
Beta Theta Pi has continuously established itself as a leader in the fraternity world. It was the first fraternity to be founded west of the Allegheny Mountains, to establish a chapter west of the Mississippi River, be in 13 states, and have a presence on more than 35 campuses.
Beta has the oldest continuously published fraternity magazine (since 1872) and in 1879 became the first fraternity to publish an open constitution for public distribution. It is the first to create alumni chapters and the first to hold a General Convention. Today, Beta Theta Pi is still one of the few fraternities to hold an annual Convention.
Stressing cultivation of the intellect, Beta led the charge for an expectation of higher academic standing, adopting a 2.50 minimum GPA for each member in 1997 and a 2.70 minimum GPA for a chapter in 2006.