The National Fraternity

The Creed of Alpha Tau Omega

To bind men together in a brotherhood based upon eternal and immutable principles, with a bond as strong as right itself, and as lasting as humanity; to know no north, no south, no east, no west, but to know man as man, to teach that true men the world over should stand together and contend for supremacy of good over evil; to teach not politics, but morals; to foster not partisanship, but the recognition of true merit wherever found; to have no narrower limits within which to work together for the elevation of man than the outlines of the world; these were the thoughts and hopes uppermost in the minds of the founders of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

– Otis Allan Glazebrook, 1880

The Facts
  • ATO was founded by Otis Allan Glazebrook, Erskine Mayo Ross and Alfred Marshall, at the Virginia Military Institute in 1865 upon Christian-not Greek-principles.
  • ATO was not established in imitation of or in opposition to any existing fraternity.
  • The ATO Foundation was officially recognized in June of 1935 at the 34th Congress in Memphis, Tenn.
  • The LeaderShape Institute, Inc. was created in 1986 by Alpha Tau Omega, and is considered one of the finest leadership skills training programs in the country.
  • ATO was honored by the Smithsonian Institute for innovative use of technology with an award for Information Technology in the field of Government and Non-Profit Organizations in June 1995. The award was given for ATO’s innovative use of CompuServe as a communications tool.
  • After more than 84 years with its national office in Champaign, Ill., the ATO National Headquarters moved to Indianapolis,Ind., on December 13, 1995.
  • ATO annually ranks among the top ten national fraternities for number of chapters and total number of members. ATO has more than 240 active and inactive chapters with more than 181,000 members and more than 6,500 undergraduate members.
  • The ATO Foundation provides more than $150,000 in annual scholarships to members-including scholarships to attend the LeaderShape Institute, Inc.
  • Alpha Tau Omega is a participating member in the National Interfraternity Conference, the Fraternity Executives Association, the College Fraternity Editors Association, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, FIPG, Inc., and the Fraternal Risk Management Trust.
  • In 1950 Indiana University Worthy Master Robert Lollar created “Help Week” setting the pledges to doing good deeds around campus and replacing the traditional “Hell Week.”
The Firsts
  • ATO was the first fraternity founded after the Civil War in 1865, striving to heal the wounds created by the devastating war and help reunite the North and South.
  • ATO was the first fraternity founded as a national fraternity.
  • The first meeting of ATO was at 114 E. Clay St. in Richmond, Va., where Glazebrook read the Constitution of ATO to Marshall and Ross for the first time.
  • The first chapter north of the Mason-Dixon line, was chartered at the University of Pennsylvania 16 years after the founding of ATO, helping to bring a realization to the founders’ dreams.
  • In 1880, the ATO chapter at the University of the South (Sewanee) became the first of any fraternity in the South to have a chapter house.
  • ATO’s first fraternity west of the Rockies and first of any fraternity in the Northwest was at Oregon State University in 1882.
  • Thomas Arkle Clark, the first initiate of the Gamma Zeta chapter at the University of Illinois, was the nation’s first collegiate dean of men.
  • The first World War I Medal of Honor was given to Captain C. L. Irwin, Wyoming ’13, as one of the first American heroes mentioned in dispatches to the U.S.
  • ATO was the first national fraternity to start a chapter free of alcohol and tobacco on fraternity property.
  • ATO was the first national fraternity to sponsor and conduct coeducational leadership conferences nationwide in 1992.
  • ATO was the first fraternity to implement a spiritual development program.
  • ATO was the first to develop and implement a member success initiative.
The Symbols
  • The ATO Badge was designed by Otis Allan Glazebrook in 1865 and is worn by the initiate.
  • The Grand Seal was painted in 1872 by VMI Arts Instructor Richard N. Burke.
  • The White Tea Rose became the ATO Flower in 1892.
  • The Coat of Arms was redesigned and approved by committee in 1910.
  • The ATO Flag was designed by William C. Smiley and approved in 1914.
  • Colors: Azure and Gold
  • Nickname: Taus, Alpha Taus, ATOs
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The Founders of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity