USD student chosen most outstanding Beta Theta Pi senior

VERMILLION, S.D. -- If it wasn’t for Chris Barondeau, Cody Siewert believes that the Beta Theta Pi chapter on the campus of The University of South Dakota might no longer exist.

“I have serious doubts that the chapter would still be on this campus had it not been for Chris’s dedication, passion and enthusiasm for Beta Theta Pi,” admitted Siewert, Greek Life coordinator at USD. “He was instrumental in re-creating Beta Theta Pi after the chapter went through a membership review in 2006.”

Barondeau’s dedication to the USD chapter did not go unnoticed by the national Beta Theta Pi organization, who selected Barondeau as Beta Theta Pi’s most outstanding graduating senior in the Midwest region. He was honored at the Midwest Keystone Conference recently in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I cannot think of any other Greek member that is more deserving of this award than Chris,” Siewert noted. “He is an amazing young man who continues to amaze me on a daily basis.”

A native of Selby, S.D., Barondeau maintains a 3.89 grade point average while majoring in political science. He is active both on and off the USD campus in several organizations, including Head Start, Order of Omega, president of Beta Theta Pi and he is involved with student government as an SGA Senator. Additionally, Barondeau is a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional fraternity that fosters the study of business in universities.

"I really think that being in the Greek community here at USD helps prepare you for life after college," Barondeau admitted. "You learn to work with different people to accomplish goals and be part of something bigger than just yourself. The friendships you make while being a member of a Greek house are friendships that will last a lifetime, just like the skills you learn."

Following graduation this spring, Barondeau plans to attend law school. He will have obtained his bachelor’s degree in seven semesters, which is no small feat considering he spent a year in Iraq with the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 153rd Engineer Battalion. After beginning classes at The U in the fall of 2003, Barondeau and others from his unit volunteered for duty in Iraq from February 2004 until February 2005. Upon his return from the Middle East, Barondeau re-enrolled at USD and began taking classes in the fall of 2005. He is scheduled to graduate this May.

"Being recognized by Beta Theta Pi's General fraternity for doing something that I have truly enjoyed is a wonderful thing," he added. "Beta Theta Pi has been an extremely positive aspect in my collegiate career and I only hope that I am in a position someday to give back to Beta Theta Pi and the Greek community here at USD to help repay what has been given to me."

USD is home to 12 Greek chapters, including Beta Theta Pi and seven additional fraternities as well as four sororities. For more information about Beta Theta Pi or Greek Life at The U, please visit the Greek Life Web site: http://www.usd.edu/greek/chapters.cfm.