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Alpha Tau Omega (ΑΤΩ, its members colloquially known as ATO's, Taus, or Alpha Taus) is an American leadership and social fraternity founded at the Virginia Military Institute in 1865.

The Fraternity has more than 250 active and inactive chapters, more than 204,000 initiates, and over 7,000 active undergraduate members. The 200,000th member was initiated in early 2009. While the oldest active chapter is the Delta Chapter located at the University of Virginia, they temporarily lost their charter in 1984, making the Xi chapter at Duke University[2] the oldest continuously operating chapter. Alpha Tau Omega is also one-third of the Lexington Triad, along with Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Nu. The Fraternity does not have chapters or affiliated organizations in any other location outside of the United States.

The ATO Foundation provides more than US$150,000 in annual scholarships to members including scholarships to attend the LeaderShape Institute, Inc.

History[]

During and after the Civil War, families were torn apart, due to brothers fighting on opposite sides. A Virginia Military Institute student, Otis Allan Glazebrook, had a vision to reunite the North and the South in brotherhood. His ideals started Alpha Tau Omega as the first fraternity that would be considered a national fraternity, and it was with Erskine Mayo Ross and Alfred Marshall that he sought to bring together the two factions that had been torn apart.

The LeaderShape Institute, Inc. was created in 1986 by Alpha Tau Omega and from 1986 until 1988, it was exclusive to the men of ATO. LeaderShape was spun off into their own organization and is used as a week-long leadership and networking retreat for college-age students.[3] ATO was honored by the Smithsonian Institution in 1995 for innovative use of technology with an award for Information Technology in the field of Government and Non-Profit Organizations. The award was given for ATO's innovative use of CompuServe as a tool for member and chapter communication.[4]

Founders[]

Otis Allan Glazebrook, Alfred Marshall, and Erskine Mayo Ross are recognized as the three founders of ATO. Following these, the next leader of ATO was Thomas Arkle Clark. Clark was the first Dean of education at the University of Illinois and the President of the Gamma Zeta chapter at the University. Thomas A. Clark served the national fraternity as "Worthy Grand Chief" (National President) for all or parts of four terms. To this day, the highest honor a graduating senior can achieve is the Thomas Arkle Clark Award.

Another man, Joseph R. Anderson, is known as the second founder of ATO. Because of a lack of organization and many chapters ignoring their responsibilities to the national fraternity—including financial ones, ATO was on a devastating decline. In 1876, of the 22 chapters in existence at the time, only 2 attended the annual Congress. Joseph R. Anderson was appointed and accepted the position of Senior Grand Chief, or the National President, in 1870. Under Anderson, ATO was able to get back on track and become the well established fraternity it is today. His contributions include ATO becoming the first incorporated fraternity.

University of Virginia chapter[]

The UVA chapter of Alpha Tau Omega, the Delta chapter of the fraternity, was founded on November 25, 1868, and is currently the oldest active chapter nationwide.[5]

See also[]

  • List of Alpha Tau Omega brothers
  • List of Alpha Tau Omega chapters

References[]

External links[]


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