In November 2002, Archives regretfully bade farewell to archives liaison and volunteer William Krahling, who relocated to Maine. An integral staff member of the University Archives' Student Life and Culture Archival Program (SLCA), Krahling was instrumental in transferring the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) National Archives to the SLCA in 1995. Since that time, he has devoted thousands of volunteer hours to the SLCA.
Krahling's involvement with ATO dates back to his 1954 initiation at Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio. After graduating in 1957, Krahling served as Mt. Union's publicity director (1958-70) and as associate/managing editor of ATO's journal, The Palm (1960-70). In 1970, he became ATO's director of publications/communications and The Palm editor (1970-85), and he also served as interim executive director (1974-76, 1977). After his retirement in 1989, Krahling remained active at ATO headquarters and took a strong interest in preserving the fraternity's historical records.
Krahling's relationship with the University Archives began in the late 1970s when ATO contracted Archives staff to arrange and describe its archives. By 1989, the University Archives had received an endowment from the Stewart S. Howe Foundation to develop the SLCA, a program mandated to document student life and culture in the U.S. with strong focus on fraternity history. The ATO Archives was a logical "fit" and in 1995, the University Archives and ATO contracted to deposit the collection with SLCA.
Today, the ATO Archives is an invaluable research resource, due in large part to Krahling's devotion to and vision for its development. Whether providing reference service, arranging and describing ATO records, or serving as ATO liaison and Archives "promoter," Krahling has been an invaluable asset to the Library. At his suggestion, ATO has funded an indexing project for The Palm, preservation work on archival materials, needed equipment for the Archives, and increased graduate assistantship hours to address the substantial increase in the use of the archives. Bill's work for the ATO Archives provides a strong foundation for future projects and activities and is much appreciated.
Written by Ellen Swain, archivist for student life and culture
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Student Life and Culture Archival Program
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign