September 15, 2021
Martin Cobb, Chief Communication Officer
Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beta Theta Pi Makes $50,000 Gift to Piazza Center
to Prevent Hazing Across North America
OXFORD, OHIO, September 15, 2021 – Beta Theta Pi, one of North America’s oldest college fraternities, has made a $50,000 gift to the Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform. The contribution, which was matched by Penn State University, underscores Beta’s commitment to rooting out hazing from the fraternity experience.
“As young men deal with unprecedented levels of depression and disconnect, the fraternity experience is as important as ever. It forges deep friendships that sustain one through the ups and downs of life. When that relationship development is married with programs that develop the capacities of young men in the prime of their mental and emotional development, true growth occurs and the ripples in our society are far reaching,” said Jeff Rundle, executive director of the Fraternity. “That’s why Beta is making this investment in the Piazza Center – because we know more can be done to improve a profound, 245-year experience that continues to enrich some 750,000 college students across North America every year.”
The Piazza Center was named in memory of Timothy Piazza, who was a sophomore at Penn State in 2017 when he died after a hazing incident at Beta Theta Pi. The multidisciplinary research center is focused on four key areas: hazing and hazardous drinking prevention; peer accountability, leadership, community engagement and learning; mental and physical health; and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Penn State hopes to generate an endowment of $8 million to support the center's research and has committed $2 million in initial funding and will match up to $3 million in additional funds committed for this purpose.
Since Piazza’s death, Beta Theta Pi has made significant programmatic and policy investments aimed at improving the culture of its chapters across the continent, including passage in 2018 by its undergraduate and alumni delegates of a substance-free housing policy that prohibits alcohol and drugs in any Beta facility. Beta became the fourth of five interfraternal peers to take such measures, alongside Farmhouse, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Upsilon.
Beta Theta Pi is a college fraternity committed to developing men of principle for a principled life. Founded in 1839, today Beta serves some 10,000 undergraduate members on 141 campuses across North America, 140,000 living alumni members and 1,800 volunteers. The Fraternity’s Administrative Office is located near its founding site at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.