Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) was founded in Richmond, Virginia on September 11, 1864,
the first Greek-letter college fraternity established in the United States after the Civil War. This fact was far from insignificant to Otis Allan Glazebrook, Alfred Marshall, and Erskine Mayo Ross, the fraternity’s three founders, as they set out to consciously craft a brotherhood that could play a part in national healing following a conflict that had amounted to political, and sometimes literal, fratricide. As cadets at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, all of the founders served as soldiers in the Confederate army and had seen the horrors of the war firsthand. Their experiences contributed to their desire to create an institution which could encourage America’s young men to once again live together “in peace and unity under the healing and transforming power of brotherhood and love.”
In 1880, one of ATO’s founders, Otis Allan Glazebrook wrote the following Creed which has served as a guide to the fraternity ever since.
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