Alpha Tau Omega Celebrates 150 Years

Bill Krahling in the ATO Archives Office, 1997

The Alpha Tau Omega National Fraternity celebrated its sesquicentennial August 6th-8th in Indianapolis. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of ATO’s partnership with the Student Life and Culture Archives. Bill Krahling, former editor of the ATO Palm, played an integral role in obtaining and preserving the fraternity’s historical materials. This year, this unique collaboration was awarded the Laurel Wreath by the North-American Interfraternity Conference.

The Alpha Tau Omega Archives consists of over 600 cubic feet of  administrative and personal correspondence, minutes, reports, photographs, films, video, and publications detailing the 150 year history of the fraternity. These materials illustrate ATO’s impact on campuses by showing how the organization has contributed to student life through mentoring and leadership programs, housing opportunities, philanthropy, and alumni development. The Archives collects material relating to congresses, administrative staff and services, the ATO Foundation, and ATO founders.  Extensive chapter records and photograph files are preserved to demonstrate the rich history of the ATO brotherhood.

Otis Allan Glazebrook, 1866

Founded in 1865 at the Virginia Military Institute, Alpha Tau Omega was conceived by Otis Allan Glazebrook as a way to promote reconciliation between the North and South in the aftermath of the Civil War. Glazebrook founded the fraternity with Alfred Marshall and Erskine Mayo Ross at his home in Virginia. [1] Today, over 200,000 men have become members of ATO and chapters are located on campuses nationwide. [2]

Staff of the Student Life and Culture Archives were on hand at the Indianapolis celebration with an exhibit of historical artifacts and images illustrating the fraternity’s history. Archives staff work closely with ATO National Headquarters throughout the year on a variety of projects and new Leadership Consultants make an annual trip to the Archives to learn about the history of their fraternity and spend time exploring the records and photographs of their own chapters. The partnership serves as a model for other Greek organizations and complements the SLC’s extensive collection on the history of fraternities and sororities. Happy birthday, Alpha Tau Omega!

Artifacts and photographs on display at the 150th celebration


Interested in the history of fraternities and sororities? Visit Focus on Fraternity History and More, a blog by Dr. Fran Becque. Dr. Becque conducted research using the ATO Archives while writing the most recent installment of The ATO Story. 

[1] Claude T. Reno, The ATO Story: The First Fifty Years, (Fulton, MO 1962), p. 6-9.

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