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About Beta Theta Pi
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Among the top 20% of college fraternities in size, Beta Theta Pi was the first to be founded west of the Allegheny Mountains and the first to locate a chapter west of the Mississippi River.

At 9:00pm on August 8 in 1839, eight young men from the 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, designated "of ever honored memory" in Beta Theta Pi tradition, 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

In the year Beta Theta Pi was founded, the college fraternity world consisted of only 19 chapters of five secret Greek-letter fraternities, located on 10 college campuses in five states. In addition, the Mystic Seven Society had been organized in 1837 at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., and Delta Upsilon had been founded at Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., as a protest against secret societies.

There were only 135 students at Miami University in 1839 (all male), and six professors. Tuition cost only $24 per year and the academic year lasted from early October until early August with breaks for Christmas and Easter. There were only three main buildings, Elliott and Stoddard halls serving as dormitories and one main academic building known as Old Main.

Students at Miami often had made a large commitment going off to college, perhaps leaving a farm short handed back home. Academics were a pursuit not to be taken lightly. This is demonstrated by the most important extracurricular activities being membership in the Erodelphian and Union Literary Societies. Each had accrued substantial libraries since their formation in 1825. Students gathered on Friday afternoons in the society halls on the third floor of Old Main where they read and criticized essays, debated, and developed skills in extemporaneous speaking. Each sought to provide its members mutual improvement, the cultivation of fellowship, and the promotion of standards of conduct. Most students were members of these societies. Knox was elected President of the Union Lit in June 1839 while Linton served as Treasurer of the Erodelphians for a year.

For some of the students something was missing. During the winter and spring of 1839 the Founders began planning something different. It was in this time that Knox and Marshall, rooming in the west wing of Old Main with Harding and Smith, jointly conceived and worked together to create Beta Theta Pi. On August 8th eight young men crept up to the third floor of Old Main and entered the Hall of the Union Literary Society of which Knox was the president. Five of them were only 19 and four of them just barely so. Knox, Linton, and Ryan were about to graduate so Duncan was elected the first president and Smith as Secretary.

When the five remaining Founders returned to Miami in October they began to recruit new brothers. At their first meeting they elected Smith's cousin, Henry Hunter Johnson, and in February added John Whitney, Alexander Paddack, and A. W. Hamilton, two of whom would soon play important roles in founding the Cincinnati Chapter. And so the Founding of Beta Theta Pi was complete.

About Delta Sigma Phi

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As the door closed on the final moments of the nineteenth century, a handful of undergraduate men began meeting between classes at City College of New York. Some had known one another before they graduated from the New York public school system, and they had wanted to continue their friendships at City College. The obvious solution was to join a fraternity, but there was just one problem: This was no ordinary group of undergraduates. They were an affiliation of Jews and Christians; and, at the time, entry to all-Jewish and all-Christian fraternities was barred to individuals and groups that mixed religions.

Delta Sigma Phi was incorporated in New York City on December 2, 1902. Five members of Insula signed the incorporation papers, with the stated objectives of dissemination "the principles of friendship and brotherhood among college men, without respect to race or creed." The early organizers, including Meyer Boskey (Insula), also drafted Delta Sigma Phi's laws, requiring open membership to all college men of quality. The purpose of the Fraternity, written the same year, was "to fulfill the desire of serious young college men for a fellowship and brotherhood, as near a practical working ideal as possible not fettered with too many traditional prejudices and artificial standards of membership, and accompanied by a clean, pure, and honorable chapter home life."

Although such principles later would invite problems, the basic concept of the Fraternity-embracing brotherhood and congeniality without regard to religion race-not only attracted other idealists as City College of New York, it set the stage for expansion onto other campuses.

About Delta Chi
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Delta Chi (ΔΧ) (del-ta Kai) is an international fraternity formed on October 13, 1890 at Cornell University as a fraternity for law students. In fact, the open motto of the Fraternity remains Leges, the Latin word for law. In 1922 the Fraternity officially started accepting general male student membership. Delta Chi abolished "hell week" in 1929, becoming the first American fraternity to do so. The Fraternity is headquartered at 314 Church Street in Iowa City, Iowa. The values and ideals of the Order can be summed up in the preamble to its Constitution: "We, the members of The Delta Chi Fraternity, believing that great advantages are to be derived from a brotherhood of college and university men, appreciating that close association may promote friendship, develop character, advance justice, and assist in the acquisition of a sound education, do ordain and establish this Constitution."

The spiritual founder of the fraternity is Sir Edward Coke. His idealism is best exemplified with one of his most famous quotes: "No man is above the law, not even the king." This and many other of Coke's theories of law and justice are those that Delta Chi strives to emulate.

There are now over 120 chapters and colonies of Delta Chi across North America. The Fraternity counts among its members many accomplished men including current (2004) US Senators Larry Craig, Richard Shelby and Craig Thomas; present US Representative John Mica; former US President Benjamin Harrison; former US Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson;former FBI chief William S. Sessions; former general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners Pat Gillick; actors Kevin Costner, G. D. Spradlin, Joey Stinson, and Ashton Kutcher.

About Sigma Pi

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Sigma Pi Fraternity (ΣΠ) is an international college fraternity for men with chapters in the United States and Canada. Founded on February 26, 1897 at Vincennes University by William Raper Kennedy, James Thompson Kingsbury, George Martin Patterson, and Rolin Rosco James, it started as Tau Phi Delta (ΤΦΔ), a literary society with fraternal ideals. The fraternity was the first of its kind to be founded west of the Ohio Valley and a founding member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference in 1909. Among many things, Sigma Pi promotes fellowship, scholarship, chivalry, and character by organizing social, academic, and philanthropy events for its members and the communities in which its chapters are located. Today, Sigma Pi consists of over 130 active chapters, colonies, and alumni clubs and over 85,000 initiates. In addition, a separate, but related entity, the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation, manages approximately 2.3 million dollars in trust assets for the educational benefit of fraternity members. The fraternity is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Fraternities at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh exist by the consent and support of the University Administration and the Oshkosh Student Association. Recognizing that close interfraternity, University and community relationships are essential in promoting and perpetuating the ideals of fraternity life, we hereby establish for that purpose the Interfraternity Council at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Last Update : November 5, 2009