Beta Mu Chapter History – 99 Years of Excellence at U.T.
In December of 1919, eight University of Texas students, all members of Pi Kappa Alpha from other colleges, formed the Pi K A Club in order to work in unison towards procuring a charter for a chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Texas at Austin.
Petition was formally made to the Grand Council and the charter was quickly granted. George B. Marsh, the Regional Pike Vice President, presided over the installation ceremony, and Beta Mu was formally ushered in on March 20, 1920, the following men comprising the charter membership: Howard Corbett Buckly, Ruben Washington Gray, Bertram Hedick, Caradine Ray Hooton, Frank H. Lancaster, John L. McCollough, D.H. Meek, H. Bascom Thomas, Jr.
At the time of the chartering of Beta Mu in 1920, two University of Texas faculty members, who were alums of Pi Kappa Alpha, served as early Chapter Advisors: Dr. Leonidas Warren Payne, Jr. (Upsilon, Auburn), Professor of English, and L. Theo Bellmont (Zeta, Tennessee), Director of Athletics.
Dr. Payne was an English professor at the University of Texas from 1906-1943. He was a prolific writer and a personal friend of the poets Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. As a professor, he mentored the esteemed Texas writer J. Frank Dobie. Brother Payne’s son, Bledsoe Payne, would become Beta Mu’s first pledge and, along with two other pledges, was initiated in May 1920.
L. Theo Bellmont was a professor of Health and Education and became UT’s first Director of Athletics in 1913. He started the Cotton Bowl game with Oklahoma University, organized the Southwest Conference in 1915, was the visionary for the Texas Relays and he organized the funding for Memorial Stadium in 1923. He served as Director of Athletics from 1913-1929 and continued to serve on the UT Faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences until 1952. Bellmont Hall was named in his honor in 1973.
Founded just after the conclusion of World War I, Beta Mu Chapter has continuously endured through the Great Depression of the 1930s and through World War II and the 1940s. The fraternity grew in the 1950s. The 1960s and 70s were a tumultuous time in the nation’s history but the culture of Beta Mu persevered and thrived. Beta Mu is celebrating its 100th year at UT in 2020. With new, committed members and loyal alumni she will remain forever strong.