Greg Cusimano’s story of Beta Theta founding:

My Thoughts on how we got by the first steps to become Betas...

I, Brant Sanders, Bert Parsons, & Robert Nabors initially met in a dormitory room. We added Jim Mezrano and Fred Gielle. We met in the attic of Clayton dormitory upstairs from where I, Robert, Bert and Brant roomed. This was in the late fall and winter of 1961 and spring of 1962. We researched and decided on becoming a chapter of Beta Theta Pi. We knew how good the Betas were. We naively assumed Beta would want us. Also, since Beta was so financially heeled, we knew Beta would build us a Chapter house! Ha!

Several others met with us but didn’t stick with it. Later we added Bob Moody, Charlie Vaughn, Jerry Morse, Wayne Hogg, Mac McQueen & Jim Nash. Actually we had 13 founders, but two did not join Beta Theta Pi.

That summer, Fred Gielle and I drove to Ashville North Carolina where Beta was in General Convention at The Grove Park Inn. We spent the night at a flea bag hotel and brazenly walked into the convention the next day (unannounced) and explained we wanted to meet with the officers of the International fraternity. Believe it or not, Rev. Seth R. Brooks (the President) and the other officers gave us a 15 minute audience. We told them what we wanted to become a colony of the fraternity. Then we were informed they didn’t colonize. They said we had to be a free standing independent fraternity-- tops in all areas. We didn’t know that the University of Alabama didn’t allow that. Beta said we would hear from them. Sure enough, Beta sent me a letter that summer at my home saying they “gave us encouragement, without commitment”. We took that as marching orders and a badge of honor, and when we learned University of Alabama didn’t allow independent fraternities, We decided on Beta Theta as a name so the University would think we were a colony. They did. We had some static from Beta Theta Pi because folks on campus often called us Beta Theta Pi colony and National wanted us to change our name. Of couse by then, we had designed pins and had them made, drafted a ritual and had been approved by the Inter-fraternity Council and the University as Beta’s-- the first new fraternity on campus in memory, at least 20+ years.

This was just the beginning.

Yours in Brotherhood,

Greg Cusimano and our first House mother Ms. Watson In our Thomas Street house

The founders of Beta Theta and the Delta Theta Chapter of Beta Theta Pi