UVA Reunion celebrates Barrie Beck and David Temple

At UVA homecoming in October, the VA Omega Alpha chapter recognized two alumni who helped redefine and guide the chapter’s future, George Beck ‘43 and David Temple ‘69. 

Director of Alumni Relations, Kris Reiber, said of the UVA chapter, “VA Omega Alpha has a solid group of alumni who are bonded in a way not many groups are. The re-founding fathers at UVA included a group of brothers dedicated to each other, and steadfast in their convictions.”

Honoring George and Barrie Beck

This year, UVA alumni honored Barrie Beck, George Beck’s widow, as a thank you to George’s longtime contributions to his alma mater, the UVA chapter. 

Barrie was given was gifted a scrapbook of memories and pictures showcasing George’s impact on the chapter, as well as photos of George and Barrie’s last visit to UVA in 2014, and the recently added plaque dedicating the chapter house name to George.

Barrie said of the event, “I was overwhelmed by the scrapbook from Steve and the picture from David (and all those who signed it) that were presented to me in honor of my beloved George. He was so proud of ‘his boys’.”

“It was so good to reconnect with everyone, and I feel honored to be considered part of this amazing group. I cherish the friendships I’ve made with all of you since 1993, and look forward to celebrating many more Homecomings.”

David Temple received the Council Key

To honor David’s committed volunteerism over many years, he was presented with the Council Key Award. David is the ninth VA Omega Alpha recipient of the Council Key. 

The chapter and Steve Cole put together a slide show to honor George and David.

How George and David made groundbreaking change

George joined the IHQ staff in 1966 and became Executive Director, Pilam torch bearer, and problem solver. When he learned in 1967 that UVA wanted to recolonize and desegregate, he drove to Virginia the very next day to champion Pilam, and meet the student brave enough to challenge the status quo. 

That brother was David Temple. He was one of less than 20 African-American students at UVA. David grew up in a south still mired in racial inequality, and felt he had a responsibility to make substantive change. But it wasn’t going to be easy. 

David said, “We had to fight. Our applications were rejected twice by the Dean of Students, who vowed that no (expletive) would ever join one of his fraternities.”

David credited George for pressuring the Dean saying, “George had savvy. He knew how to manage the Dean by using his contacts in the fraternal community and contacting some of the Dean’s fraternity brothers across the country.” 

In spite of racially motivated resistance from the administration, George, David and the re-founding fathers were committed, and they prevailed. David said, “I was warmly welcomed by the brotherhood. They told me, either you’re in it, or we’re not doing it.” 

Because of the efforts of George, David and the founding brothers, Pi Lambda Phi became the first integrated fraternity at UVA.