Beta Theta Pi plans to return to Rugby Road

Beta Theta Pi alumni, current brothers plan to renovate, return to former fraternity house currently occupied by Delta Upsilon

Beta Theta Pi alumni are preparing to buy and renovate the Delta Upsilon house on Rugby Road, for which Beta Theta Pi lost its charter in 1972 because of a conduct infraction.

As part of the purchase and move, Delta Upsilon will receive a new house that will be built on Madison Lane. Beta Theta Pi alumnus Tim Akers said the pending purchase is motivated by nostalgia.

“The house by Beta bridge has a lot of historic relevance to our fraternity,” he said. “Many of our older alumni have warm feelings for the place, and so we wanted it back.”

Akers said the planned renovation will be an expensive undertaking because the house has not been refurbished since it was built more than 80 years ago. To help fund the restoration, the fraternity sold its current property to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, he said.
“We’re fortunate enough to have solid financial resources,” Akers said.

The fraternity is planning to restore the first floor and divide the third floor into single bedrooms. Beta Theta Phi also will replace outdated systems, including the water boiler, Akers said.

Alumni who lived in the original Beta Theta Pi house would have attended the University before 1972 — the year the Beta Theta Pi national organization withdrew its support of the Virginia chapter for a conduct violation. Beta Theta Pi’s house was subsequently sold to Delta Upsilon.

Beta Theta Pi President Philipp von Marschall said he looks forward to the original house’s restoration, noting that the fraternity plans to remodel it in its original 1920s style. The fraternity plans to set up residence in the house in about three to four years, he said.
“For a long time the goal had been to get back to 180 Rugby,” von Marschall said.

Delta Upsilon alumnus Jay Hoover said Delta Upsilon agreed to the deal between the two fraternities for practical reasons.

“It was just too good an opportunity to pass up,” Hoover said, adding that the fraternity will receive a newly constructed home as a result of the deal between the two fraternities.

Hoover, like Akers, noted that the current Delta Upsilon house on Rugby Road is in a declining state. The current residents, though, lacked the funding to adequately restore the building.

“We’re getting a new house, debt free,” Hoover said. “We’ll have a secure house with central air-conditioning, wireless Internet, and all the technical features that are in demand with students today.”

Delta Upsilon President Ryan Cunningham, however, expressed mixed emotions about the future move to a new house.

“The transition is going to be bittersweet,” he said. “We have memories attached to this house [on Rugby] but we’re also excited about getting a brand-new place to live.”

Michael Citro, assistant dean of fraternity and sorority life, said the arrangement is a positive step forward for both Beta Theta Pi and Delta Upsilon.

“It’s an exciting development for the future and wonderful opportunity for the brothers of Beta Theta Phi to return to their roots,” Citro said.

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