July 12, 2020
Martin Cobb, Director of Communication
Beta Theta Pi Fraternity
martin.cobb@beta.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Beta Theta Pi Announces Commission Membership

OXFORD, OHIO, July 12, 2020 – In light of racial tensions that continue to plague North America, and with unanimous support from Beta’s Board of Trustees, on June 10 General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73, announced creation of the Fraternity’s new Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity. A first of its kind for the 180-year-old organization, it includes appointment of Beta’s first Black initiate, Bill Lowry, Kenyon ’56, as chairman.

Upon receiving the invitation to chair the historic effort, Lowry remarked, “Sixty-six years ago a group of young men at Kenyon College also did something pretty bold. This is the right thing to do, and it is certainly the right time. I will do whatever my beloved Beta Theta Pi asks of me.”

With aggressive efforts to formalize the commission’s membership and advisory board, Chairman Lowry announced today the roster of 24 Beta undergraduates, alumni and Friends of Beta who have answered the call of leadership.

“I certainly recognize the enormity of this task, but I also feel these individuals possess the talent to effectively address it,” he shared in opening comments during the commission’s first meeting on June 30. “We have an enviable array of talent, and it’s men and women like you who will help keep this Fraternity strong, vibrant and purposeful. Over the next six weeks we’ll have an opportunity to validate that distinction.”

Focusing on the cultivation of an even stronger and enriched brotherhood across North America – one that welcomes and respects individuals from all walks of life – Lowry pressed commission members further:

“If we are really a leader of men, it is time to lead. In 1954 Beta Theta Pi made a bold move, which in turn helped to distinguish our leadership. Perhaps it’s time to fortify that reputation. We say we strive for the greatest possible good in our undergraduates, alumni, chapters, volunteers and Fraternity. To me, that translates into humanity. As moral men, it’s time to demonstrate moral action.”

Among other demographics, commission membership (below) includes 50% Beta volunteers, 63% Beta alumni, 25% undergraduates, 17% female, 54% racial minorities, 17% LGBTQ, and representation from eight geographic regions and individuals aged 18 to 85. Initial commission recommendations are due to the Board of Trustees by early August.


Membership Roster

 

    1. Chairman: Bill Lowry, Kenyon ’56
      Beta’s first Black initiate and among the first of any NIC fraternity; former member of the Beta Theta Pi Foundation Board of Directors
    2. Trustee: General Secretary Wayne Kay, Virginia Tech ’73
      Chairman of the Board
    3. Trustee: Vice President Justin Foster, West Chester ’11
      Former District Chief, Chapter Advisor and Chapter President
    4. Trustee: Vice President Steven Cruz, Florida International ’12
      Former Regional/District Chief, Chapter Advisor and Chapter President
    5. Undergraduate: Undergraduate Commissioner Ian Ross, Michigan ’21
      IFC President and Former Chapter President
    6. Undergraduate: Former Chapter President Jeff Pioquinto, Iowa State ’21
      Current IFC Officer and 2020 Iowa State Chapter President of the Year
    7. Undergraduate: Pledge Class President Denzel Akuffo, Oklahoma ’23
      Newly Elected Philanthropy Chairman
    8. Undergraduate: Philanthropy Chairman Jaden Pitts, Chapman ’22
      Chapter’s First Diversity and Inclusion Chair
    9. Undergraduate: Chapter President Swochchhanda “Swoosh” Shrestha, MIT ’21
      Former Vice President, Risk Manager, Treasurer; IFC Sexual Misconduct Committee
    10. Undergraduate: Colony President Nestor Carrera, Embry-Riddle ’21
      Marine and Founding Father
    11. Alumnus: District Chief Malcolm Andrews, Virginia ’89
      Former Chapter Counselor, Current House Corporation Member and Father of Two Recent Beta Undergraduates
    12. Alumnus: Risk Management Advisor Rod Kelley, Florida State ’14
      2019 Florida State Advisor of the Year, Doctoral Candidate
    13. Alumnus: Bryant Fiesta, UC Irvine ’16
      Former Staff Colony Development Coordinator and Chapter President
    14. Administrator: Dr. Melissa Shivers, Ohio State University Vice President for Student Life
      Former VPSA at Iowa, Dean of Students at Tennessee and Multicultural Program Director at Clemson and Georgia, Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
    15. Friend of Beta: Jennifer Zamora, University of Texas Director of Student Programs
      Award-winning Beta Chapter Counselor, Member of Delta Zeta
    16. Staff: Beta Executive Director Jeff Rundle, Kansas State ’03
      Chief of Staff, Legal Counsel, Former Director of Chapter Services and Colony Development Director
    17. Staff: Beta Editor & Director of Communication Martin Cobb, Eastern Kentucky ’96
      Former Director of Expansion, Men of Principle Initiative and Beta Theta Pi Foundation
    18. Staff: Beta Director of Chapter Services Erin McHale, Gamma Phi Beta
      Former Fraternity/Sorority Advisor at Kansas and Iowa, Traveling Consultant for Gamma Phi Beta

COMMISSION ADVISORY BOARD

    1. St. Lawrence University President Bill Fox, St. Lawrence ’75
    2. Beta Theta Pi Foundation Chairman Mike Feinstein, MIT ’82
    3. General Fraternity House Corporation Chairman John Stebbins, Emory ’92
    4. Advisory Council Commissioner Mike Okenquist, Villanova ’94
    5. Chapter Counselor Jason Blake, Georgia Tech ’92
    6. Delta Upsilon Fraternity Director of Educational Programs Veronica Moore, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


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Beta Theta Pi is a college fraternity committed to developing men of principle for a principled life. Founded in 1839, Beta is the fraternal home of more than 213,000 members, including 10,000 undergraduates on 139 campuses across North America. The Fraternity’s Administrative Office is located near its founding site at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio