The weekend of October 24-26 marked my fraternity’s 135th anniversary celebration, as well as the conclusion of our fall rush (more on rush later). Dozens of Beta Theta Pi alumni returned from class years dating back to 1952 for the festivities.
The weekend kicked off with dinner and tours of our house, the Castle on the Rock, which has seen many renovations since it opened in 1917. For example, many rooms have been renovated or repurposed – what is currently our pantry was once a bedroom, and set of leather couches now stand where a hot tub once did. After dinner, we headed to a venue on the Commons where undergraduate brothers, alumni, and guests danced the night away.
Early the next morning, we convened for our semiannual Alumni Corporation board meeting. The corporation owns our house and is responsible for representing the alumni in Beta’s management. Two undergraduates, our president and treasurer, also sit on the board as voting members. Over the course of the morning, we discussed the state of the Fraternity, ranging from our house’s physical plant to financials to upcoming goals, programming and plans.
The meeting was followed by a Pinesburger lunch. If you love burgers (or at the very least occasionally enjoy them) and happen to be in Ithaca, I recommend stopping by Glenwood Pines. Their claim to fame is the Pinesburger Challenge, which pushes entrants to down four burgers, plus toppings, in an hour. Served on French bread, the burgers do pose a challenge (as many of my friends can attest), but the reward of a t-shirt for achieving the feat draws many. The fastest I’ve ever seen it done, and the Beta record, is a disgustingly fast 7:48.4 (a burger every 117.1 seconds).
That evening, we made our way to the Country Club of Ithaca for a banquet celebrating the anniversary featuring speakers from the undergraduate populace, Alumni Corporation and General Fraternity. We also awarded the Diamond Legion honor, given to a distinguished alumnus, to Jeff Frey ’89. A local resident, Jeff is one of our most dedicated volunteers. He joins a community of previous Diamond Legion awardees including Robert Kane, Carl Kroch, Jon Lindseth and David Duffield.
As dinner concluded, many alumni who traveled in bid their farewells, returning to locations as far away as California, Florida and Colorado. However, some returned to the house and talked long into the night.
The anniversary celebration was truly a tremendous experience. To see the fraternity unite so many people with different ages, backgrounds and experiences was a powerful demonstration that brothers can be brothers for life. Once. Always. Everywhere.