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Alpha Tau Omega
FoundedSeptember 11, 1865; 158 years ago (1865-09-11)
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia
AffiliationFFC and NIC
ScopeUnited States
Mottoπι εψιλον πι[1]
SloganLove & Respect
Colors  Azure Blue
  Old Gold
FlowerWhite Tea Rose[2]
PublicationThe Palm
Chapters125 Active, 4 Colonies
Members7,000[3] collegiate
229,000+[3] lifetime
NicknamesATO, Alpha Tau, Tau
Headquarters333 N. Alabama Street
Suite 220

Indianapolis, Indiana
United States

Alpha Tau Omega (ΑΤΩ), commonly known as ATO, is an American social fraternity founded at the Virginia Military Institute in 1865 by Otis Allan Glazebrook. The fraternity has around 250 active and inactive chapters and colonies in the United States and has initiated more than 229,000 members.[3] VMI Cadets are no longer associated with the fraternity. In 1885, the VMI Board of Visitors ruled that cadets could no longer join fraternities based on the belief that allegiance to a fraternal group undermined the cohesiveness of and loyalty to the Corps of Cadets.[4]

Alpha Tau Omega represents one-third of the Lexington Triad, along with Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Nu. The Fraternity does not have chapters or affiliations outside the United States. The fraternity's non-profit organization is The ATO Foundation, which provides scholarships to its members.


Alpha Tau Omega was founded at the Virginia Military Institute on September 11, 1865, by Otis Allan Glazebrook, Erskine Mayo Ross, and Alfred Marshall. Glazebrook planned to use Christian brotherly love as a way to help facilitate reconciliation between the North and South in the aftermath of the American Civil War.[5]

The charter members of Alpha Tau Omega initiated in the Fall of 1865 in the order of initiation:[6]

  1. John Garland James: 2nd President of Texas A&M and President Texas Military Institute
  2. Hardaway Hunt Dinwiddie: 4th President of Texas A&M
  3. William George Bennett: Lawyer and Judge of the Circuit Court in West Virginia
  4. Archibald W. Overton: Banker
  5. John A. Crichton: Teacher and civil engineer
  6. George Spiller: Surveyor of Texas frontier. Involved in the founding of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
  7. Edward Magruder Tutwiler: President Tutwiler Coal, Coke & Pig Iron Co., Birmingham, Al.
  8. Samuel Houston Letcher: Virginia State Senate and Judge Circuit Court
  9. Stephen Decatur Barrow: Planter in Louisiana
  10. Melville Irby Branch: Member of Georgia Legislature and watermelon farmer who created the "Branch Rattlesnake" variety

Following Glazebrook, Marshall, and Ross, two others are considered "second founders": Thomas Arkle Clark, the first dean of education at the University of Illinois who served the national fraternity president for all or parts of four terms, and Joseph R. Anderson who was president during a membership crisis.[citation needed]

Previous Headquarters have been located in Champaign, Illinois. Currently, the National Fraternity is located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Alpha Tau Omega is a member of the North American Interfraternity Conference.[7]


Alpha Tau Omega has three publications, The Palm, which is the fraternity's semi-annual general magazine; ATO Leader, which is a bimonthly newsletter for chapter presidents and other organization leaders;[5] and ATO Roadshow, which is a website designed to highlight individual chapter accomplishments and combat negative perceptions of fraternities.[8]

Membership Programs

The fraternity holds several retreats and training conferences: Altitude, Encounter, Valiant, President's Retreat, and Emerging Leaders Conference.

Altitude is a rigorous leadership program designed to challenge ATO brothers physically, mentally, and emotionally. The six-day adventure is spent backpacking the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains with the goal of peaking a 14,14,000-summit. Throughout the trip, truths involving leadership are reinforced. The week out West is designed to inspire men to lead their chapters more effectively.

Encounter is a three-day retreat designed to allow brothers to explore or deepen their spiritual identity. Through the retreat, the brothers will focus on Glazebrook's belief that unconditional love exemplified by Jesus is a powerful and regenerating dynamic.

Valiant Leadership Training program guides nearly 100 members through a values-based curriculum on how to lead with integrity. The intense programming strongly emphasizes the basic components of effective leadership, communication, ethics, goal setting, and teamwork.

Participants must be in good standing with their chapter to participate in Altitude, Encounter, and Valiant programming.[9]

President's Retreat held every January in Indianapolis, is geared to better ensure that every ATO chapter President is prepared to take on his role and responsibilities. The weekend conference is packed with general leadership and chapter management information as well as unique opportunities to address individual chapter issues and initiatives. The Conference has evolved to now incorporate every Chapter President, Vice President, and Membership Educator.[10]

Emerging Leaders Conferences are held every year in more than 20 cities across the United States serving almost 3,000 undergraduate members. The day-long program is designed to reinforce ATO for a Lifetime and demonstrate the benefits of belonging to a strong National Fraternity. Emerging Leaders Conference is designed to help every brother appreciate the importance of enhancing and strengthening their chapter experience.[11]

In addition to these, LeaderShape was started in 1986 by the fraternity and was exclusive to members until 1988. LeaderShape was spun off into its organization which holds week-long leadership and networking retreats for college-age students.[12]


In 1935, Erskine Mayo Ross started the Alpha Tau Omega Foundation with a donation of $5,000. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that provides educational opportunities and scholarships for the members of Alpha Tau Omega. Over $100,000 is available in grants and scholarships for undergraduate members.[13]

Richmond Property Group

Richmond Property Group, RPG, is designed to offer full-scale professional property management to preserve and protect the real estate assets of ATO. RPG handles many housing-related queries for undergraduate chapters; these can range from design and material selection to budgeting and collections. RPG works with a network of lenders around the country to assist in capital improvements, renovations, and construction projects.[14]

Local chapter or member misconduct

In 2008, the chapter at University of Nevada, Reno was suspended following controversy over hazing practices. As many as eleven pledges were forced to seek medical attention following their forced consumption of raw chicken, and the branding of the Greek letter Omega on their buttocks using dry ice.[15]

In 2013, the chapter at Cornell University was shut down for repeated alcohol and drugs violations.[16]

In 2017, the fraternity at the University of Memphis was suspended for five years due to hazing pledges and not complying with other university rules.[17] The same year, the fraternity at Texas State University was suspended for three years after the alcohol-related death of a student at a party they co-hosted with other fraternities.[18] Also in 2017, the fraternity at the University of Central Florida was suspended after a woman was raped by two men during one of their parties. The 2017 suspension was the fraternity's third suspension in five years.[19]

In 2018, the fraternity at the University of Kentucky had its charter revoked after the DUI arrest of a pledge following a traffic accident where a four-year-old boy was killed. This incident occurred after an off-campus fraternity sponsored tailgate party at a University football game.[20]

In November 2019, a student named Sam Martinez died due to alcohol poisoning at an initiation event. Fifteen of the c recent and former members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Washington State University were charged in connection with MarMartinez'sath. The charge, furnishing liquor to minors, is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine in the state of Washington.[21][22][23]

In August 2020, the fraternity at Florida State University was suspended for five years, following incidents of hazing and alcohol use in the spring. On August 23, 11 people were arrested following a party at the former frat house associated with the group.[24]

In 2022, six members were removed from the fraternity at Troy University due to hazing and misconduct allegations.[25][26]


Main article: List of Alpha Tau Omega chapters

Notable members

Main article: List of Alpha Tau Omega members

See also


  1. ^ "Georgia Southern Greek life Alpha Tau Omega page". Archived from the original on 2010-06-09. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega: Facts and Firsts".
  3. ^ a b c Where Can I Join? - accessed February 2, 2015
  4. ^ "VMI History and Records FAQ - VMI Archives - Virginia Military Institute". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Alpha Tau Omega: Expansion". Archived from the original on 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  6. ^ "The Lexington Chapters". Alpha Tau Omega Palm (April 1936): 175-186.
  7. ^ "Member Fraternities". North American Interfraternity Conference. 21 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  8. ^ "WHAT IS ATO ROADSHOW". Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega: Altitude".
  10. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega: Presidents Retreat".
  11. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega: Emerging Leaders Conference".
  12. ^ "About".
  13. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega Foundation".
  14. ^ "Richmond Property Group". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  15. ^ "Nevada's ATO Fraternity Suspended for Hazing". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Four Greek chapters sanctioned; two others closed - Cornell Chronicle". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  17. ^ "U of M fraternity suspended over hazing". 27 October 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  18. ^ Bien, Calily (30 January 2017). "Four Texas State fraternities suspended for alcohol violations". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  19. ^ Hayes, Christal (9 August 2017). "UCF fraternity suspended after cops say woman was raped during party". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega closes University of Kentucky chapter following pledge's DUI arrest in deadly crash". WKYT. Sep 19, 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  21. ^ "15 former WSU frat members charged in alcohol poisoning death of freshman from Bellevue". The Seattle Times. 2021-06-02. Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  22. ^ Diaz, Johnny (2021-06-03). "15 Men Charged in Connection With Death of Fraternity Pledge". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  23. ^ "How hazing led to the death of fraternity pledge Sam Martinez". 28 November 2021. Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  24. ^ "Eleven arrested, charged after parties at home of booted FSU fraternity Alpha Tau Omega".
  25. ^ "6 removed from Troy fraternity chapter, investigation ongoing". 8 February 2022.
  26. ^ "Six Members Removed from Troy University Fraternity". 8 February 2022.