Greek pride boosted by $1.2 million gift to Beta Theta Pi

October 20, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State's second-oldest national fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, has received a $1.2 million gift from University alumnus and Beta member Don Abbey to improve the Beta house on the University Park campus. For a full-size photo of the Beta Theta Pi House, go to http://live.psu.edu/still_life/2005_10_20_house/beta_theta_pi_house.jpg online.

Abbey, who heads a Los Angeles real estate investment and management firm, said he hopes his gift will challenge other Beta Theta Pi alumni to support the fraternity, and encourage Penn State's Greek alumni in general to get involved with enriching fraternity and sorority life at the University.

"Fraternities and sororities can provide an outstanding experience for young people to live and learn and grow as individuals-to develop inter-personal and leadership skills, for example," said Abbey, a 1970 liberal arts graduate. "I would like to help make Beta Theta Pi a model of all that is good about Greek life, so that it can continue to add something of value to the student experience."

Abbey directed his gift to such projects as improved heating, flooring, furnishings and landscaping. The Beta house, located at 220 N. Burrowes Road, was built in 1929. More than 1,600 members have passed through the Beta ranks since the fraternity was founded at Penn State in 1888.

"It's a complete roof-to-cellar makeover," noted Abbey, who said he visits the house regularly to keep tabs on the work of the subcontractors. "I estimate it will take two years to complete, using two summers, and isolating parts of the house during the winter and spring."

Vicky Triponey, Penn State vice president for Student Affairs, said Abbey's gift is a major boost to the University's recently launched Greek Pride: A Return to Glory initiative.

"Don is passionate about helping young people succeed, and his gift to Beta Theta Pi highlights the tremendous heritage of leadership and commitment of our Greek alumni," said Triponey. "The initiative will continue to be successful with the full support and engagement of the alumni of our chapters."

Greek Pride: A Return to Glory was launched to enlist stakeholders in a comprehensive change process intended to enrich the Greek experience for Penn State students by strengthening the relationships among fraternities and sororities, their alumni and national organizations, the University and the community.

Penn State boasts one of the largest Greek systems among universities nationwide, with more than 85 registered chapters and 4,000 collegiate members each academic year.

  • For a full-size photo of the Beta Theta Pi House, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010