Beta Tau Chapter was founded at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York on October 19, 1883.
Initially, the fraternity custom was to name a new chapter after a closed one, so that all 24 letters of the Greek alphabet were always in use. Because of this, early documents refer to the chapter simply as Tau. This practice ended in 1890 when Convention delegates voted to affix Beta to the name of a chapter to indicate it was the second and to affix Gamma on the second round, then Delta, and so on. The chapter at Syracuse was the second chapter to be known as Tau and, after 1890, it became known as Beta Tau.