The 50's


John Eliason was elected president in January, 1951. Under Eliason’s administration, the chapter made considerable strides in developing its internal strength, resolving several situations which had troubled the chapter since the days of World War II. The rushing and pledge training program was improved and integrated into chapter activities. Succeeding Eliason as president of the chapter in April., 1951, was Norman E. (Gene) St. Clair of Dallas. Under his leadership, the chapter constructed a patio and game-room adjacent to the fraternity house and improved the social standing of the chapter. It was during this period that the pledges of the chapter began to measure up to what the group had been striving toward and the tone of the chapter was changed. Financially, the group was not too strong, but with the administration of Kent I. Broyhill, who served as president in 1952, finances were put on an even keel.

The largest pledge class ever taken by Beta Alpha was the result of work during the administration of J. B. McCarty in 1958. The size of the pledge class was the result of the efforts of Ben Pinnell, alumnus of Alpha Psi., who was serving the national fraternity as field secretary. Serving as Pinnell's "Man Friday" was our present national field secretary, Charles H. Borup. Forty pledges were taken. Beta Alpha continued its tradition of winning "Aggie Sign" that fall. The president during the spring of 1959 was Ray Robinson. In the fall of 1959, Donald A. Maxwell served as president. The Phi Tau tradition of winning “Aggie Sign" was continued by the receiving of the award for the Best All-Around Aggie Sign, "Bevo’s Laundry"

The pledge program, with the assistance of the national fraternity, was at its zenith. Under the direction of John Eliason, the fraternity entered--and won--the Aggie Sign contest, the biggest outdoor display at the University. This later became a tradition for the chapter. Intramural sports were a strong chapter activity during the year.James K. Jaynes was elected president for 1953. Jaynes continued to keep the chapter on an even operation, beginning a program of enlisting alumni support for the chapter (because of the distance between alumni and the chapter, there had been no organized support). Due to his enthusiasm in this endeavor and preparatory work, the original alumni corporation, formed to secure the chapter house, was reorganized in 1954. Host to the first meeting of the group was Harry A. Nass, president of the chapter in the spring of 1954.

In the fall of 1954, rush week procured excellent Phi Tau pledges, but the quantity was small. The chapter again won "Aggie Sign" that fall, receiving a trophy for the most unique sign. Division finals in basketball were reached in addition to receiving honorable mention in Varsity Carnival for the Phi Tau Pie Throwing contest. The chapter continued to work to advise alumni of the fraternity and sorority house situation on the university of Texas campus. The 1955 year saw progress in financial operations and internal organization under the direction of President James Raper. During Franklin D. Bollman's administration in 1956, the pledge class entry in the Orange and White Parade, an Aggie in a cage drawn by an old car painted orange and white, placed first. In 1957 Leon Whitney was elected president of the chapter as well as student assemblyman from the School of Architecture. During Whitney's administration, the chapter purchased a new house at 1910 Rio Grande, formerly the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.