Beta Sigma Theta

Beta Sigma Theta

Infobox Fraternity
letters = ΒΣΘ
name = Beta Sigma Theta
motto = "Faith, Brotherhood, Scholarship
crest =
founded = June 6, 1973 (April 4, 1962)
type = Social
scope = Local
address = 1210 College Avenue | city = Houghton
state = Michigan
country = USA
chapters = 1
colors = Cardinal Red and White
homepage =
birthplace = Michigan College of Mining and Technology (MTU)

Beta Sigma Theta (ΒΣΘ) is one of three remaining local fraternities at Michigan Technological University.

The objectives of Beta Sigma Theta are:
* to promote a fraternity of students on the campus of Michigan Technological University;
*to promote an atmosphere conductive to social, academic, and personal growth;
*to inform its members of their responsibility not only to themselves but to those that they have the ability to help.



In the spring of 1961, the fraternity now known as Beta Sigma Theta existed on the campus of Michigan College of Mining and Technology (as MTU was known then) in the minds of a few men of Gamma Delta. This international, religious, social organization for Lutheran students had been established in 1946. Dr. Hahn of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in the area referred several of these men to Beta Sigma Psi, a National Fraternity for Lutheran Men. Both that spring and the following spring, delegates from the group were sent to the National Conventions in Lincoln, Nebraska and received encouragement and aid to start a new colony in Houghton.

On April 4, 1962, the group met for the first official time, adopted a local constitution, elected officers and selected the name Alpha Zeta Chi for the local fraternity. At the end of that May, the "Alpha Zets" had voted to accept Brother Dave Kallio's paddle design as official for the fraternity. They had also formed an Honorary Alumni Chapter, consisting of local businessmen and university professors of the Lutheran Faith.

Theta chapter of Beta Sigma Psi

On October 6, 1962, 16 members of Alpha Zeta Chi and 6 Honorary Alumni were initiated into the National Fraternity of Beta Sigma Psi as Theta Chapter.

The first chapter house was located at 1709 College Avenue - the Robinson House, which was once a showplace of the copper era. It is now a parking lot between Wadsworth Hall and Douglass Hougton Hall. The house was rented from the University and had been a residence house for women for three years prior. The membership moved in during the fall term of 1962 and had their first and only housemother in residence: Mrs. Zella King.

The present home for Beta Sigma Theta was purchased in March 1963 and moved into on May 25 of that year. The 27 room house, set on a 200' x 200' property site, was purchased for $30,000 from the estate of the late Christopher Columbus Douglas, a local realtor. Facilities now include a sauna, weight room, industrial cooking unit, recreation room/bar, and a garage detached from the house.

As early as 1965, thoughts within the active membership turned to the possibility of accepting men of all religious faiths. By the spring of 1972, the entire active membership was in agreement with this course of action and carefully considered all the possibilities and consequences. To these men, the title "Lutheran" was not as important as electing into membership men that they felt were otherwise losing who could have benefited the house and possessed a true Christian attitude. The "Lutherans Only" policy never seemed to attract Lutherans to Theta Chapter for its own religious sake after the first years on campus. It did, however, definitely exclude others who would have pledged except for the fact that they were neither specifically brought up by their parents as Lutherans nor chose to accept the faith on their own. These men who became close to the active membership but were not allowed fraternity privileges were termed "Social Affiliates".


The men of Theta have always shown a certain "free-thinking" attitude in their beliefs and campus actions. It was in part that spirit, and not the title of "Lutheran", that these men wished to pass on a common denominator for future chapter members. In respect for past ideals, the founders of Theta Chapter truly believed in establishing a fraternity on this campus dedicated to the Lutheran Faith. However, attitudes and needs were changing on campuses in the early 1970s and Theta Chapter did not have the advantages of other chapters within the National Fraternity, located on campuses which attracted a higher density of Lutheran students.

In the fall on 1972, delegates from the Theta Chapter attended the National Convention in Spirit Lake, Iowa and proposed that the National Fraternity go open. All variations on the motion were soundly defeated, 4 to 42 1/2. Delegates were once more sent to the Regional Convention at Epsilon Chapter in Ames, Iowa in April, 1973. Three other chapters were already pledging non-Lutherans and of the six chapters in attendance, three voted that Theta should not be allowed to open its doors to non-Lutherans.

Theta Chapter had polled its alumni and discussed all possibilities with the holders of the house - the Honorary Alumni. Details of these actions are kept on permanent file in the 1962-1974 Memorial Scrapbook. After much consideration, attempts at compromise and deliberation, Theta formally withdrew from National on April 9, 1973 to become a local fraternity. The active membership was already well-known on campus as Beta Sigs, all alumni from Theta Chapter received the option of full recognition from the "new" fraternity, Beta Sigma Theta. On June 6, 1973, Beta Sigma Theta received official recognition by Michigan Technological University.

External links

* [ Official site]

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