About Our Chapter
It all started August 8, 1839 at Miami University in Oxford Ohio, Beta was the 7th oldest fraternity and the first west of the Allegheny Mts. Since then more than 160,000 men have joined Beta.
Here at Idaho, The Beta Chapter house is the largest on campus. Holding 65 men our house has 85 years of history ranging from being turned into a women's dorm and field hospital during WWII, to the rich tradition Beta brings.
The Richard D. Gibb Award
Self Governance Award (Northwest Beta Chapters)
Gibb Chapter Excellence Award (U of Idaho's Highest Award)
Excellence in Scholarship (University of Idaho)
The Richard D. Gibb Award
Gamma Gamma Chapter History
Starting in 1906, four men founded the local fraternity of Theta Mu Epsilion. Following in the footsteps of two other local fraternities, Theta Mu Epsilon became Beta Theta Pi the Gamma Gamma chapter in 1914.
Being the 3rd oldest fraternity on campus brought a lot of responsibility and a lot of new members. By 1925 the fraternity house they lived in, an old professors house, became to small. The members moved into what is now our house at 727 Elm St. This massive house held up to 72 men until getting scaled back to 65 in more recent renovations. By the early 1940's the house was at full capacity; some even criticized Gamma Gamma for being to large of a chapter.
That all changed when World War II broke out. The men left to fight and there was no one to keep the doors of the house open. Instead the house was transformed for the war into a field hospital and nurse's dormitory called "Mary's House". Reminisce of that period still exist in the house today including two pints of human blood and doorbells, which were used to get into the different floors of the women's dorm.
Since then the men of Gamma Gamma chapter has been an integral part of Beta in the Northwest. We have helped recolonize Washington State and colonize Eastern Washington University in the 1990's. While 1,759 men have passed though the walls of our house our values have not changed. Stressing academics, strong responsible social bonds, and true Gentlemen have kept our numbers high. We are still the second largest fraternity on campus, with members being a very active part of the University community.
Beta Theta Pi History
In 1839, when Beta Theta Pi was founded at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 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.
College life at Miami University in 1839 was very different from today. There were only 135 students, all male, and six professors. Tuition would be quite appealing to us at only $24 per year. 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 our 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.