At the time of the installation of Indiana Gamma Omicron in 1904 the student body of Purdue University numbered 1,200 and was composed almost entirely of men.
It was not until 1916 that the number of women warranted the establishment of national sororities. Fraternities, however, made their appearance as early as 1875, when a chapter of Sigma Chi was established. This first local chapter of a national fraternity was followed by chapters of Kappa Sigma, Sigma Nu, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Gamma Delta, and Beta Theta Pi, making a total of eight of the strongest national fraternities represented on campus at the time of the installation of Gamma Omicron.
The nucleus of Gamma Omicron appeared at Purdue in early 1902 in the form of a dancing club. Known as the Debonair Club, its 30 members were all quite prominent in school activities and consequently well known on campus, especially by fraternity men, who showed a decidedly friendly attitude toward the new organization. The new club thus had positioned itself to affiliate with a national fraternity.
Returning to school after summer vacation in 1903, Debonair Club members Stacy B. Lindley. and Frederick E. Morrow were appointed to investigate the standings of the various fraternities. They selected Delta Tau Delta, Delta Upsilon, and Alpha Tau Omega as the most desirable. At the next regular meeting of the club, October 17, 1903, these three fraternities were brought up for discussion and the members decided that Alpha Tau Omega represented more nearly the type of fraternity that they desired to petition for membership.
There were at that time two members of Alpha Tau Omega in the university- Prof. W.K. Hatt of New York Beta Theta Chapter (Cornell), a professor of applied mechanics in the engineering school, and W.C. Martin of Michigan Beta Omicron Chapter (Albion), a student in electrical engineering and a member of the class of 1904. The Debonair Club members realized that the accomplishment of their aims depended almost entirely upon the impression they made upon these two Alpha Tau Omega members and therefore planned to interest them in their organization.
According to information found in the ATΩ Archives, both Prof. Hatt and Mr. Martin were highly pleased with the Debonair Club and its members and they did all that they could to speed the petition. A group from Illinois Gamma Zeta (University of Illinois) visited the petitioning chapter and endorsed the petition. Members of the Debonair Club learned a few days before the closing of school that upon their return in the fall of 1904 they would become members of Alpha Tau Omega.
Indiana Gamma Omicron was installed as a chapter of Alpha Tau Omega on November 25, 1904 by Dr. Hatt and Mr. Martin, assisted by Province Chief C.B. King and fourteen men from the Illinois Gamma Zeta Chapter. Thirteen men were initiated as founding members of Gamma Omicron.
Like many fraternity chapters, Gamma Omicron was located in five rental properties prior to constructing the present house in 1920. Obtaining the house was a lengthy process. In 1906, the Alpha Tau Omega Chapter House Association was incorporated under the laws of Indiana, with a capitol stock of $25,000 and the purpose of building a house. In 1912, the Association purchased for $3,465 three lots at the corner of Fourth and Russell streets as the site for the chapter house. Referred to as the Maltese Manor in the early years, the house was designed by Brother Robert F. Daggett, Pennsylvania Tau 1895, and erected by Brother Allan V. Stackhouse, Gamma Omicron 1910, in the summer of 1920 at a cost of $28,000.
It since has been known as one of the premier fraternity houses on the Purdue campus. To be sure, 314 Russell has been known as the address of key campus leaders since 1920- a tradition established 16 years earlier with the founding of the chapter.
The physical structure remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years. In 1963-1964, a major renovation occurred and an addition from basement through the third floor cold air dorm was constructed to the south side of the original house.
G.A. Ross, then a sophomore who would become editor of the Exponent (the Purdue daily newspaper), edited the chapter's first newsletter in 1913. Initially called the Dope Sheet, it was published once a year. In 1915, Brother Ross conceived the idea of converting the paper into a monthly publication and changing the name to the Alpha Tau Omega Bugle.
Brother Ross wrote and edited the Bugle for a few weeks less than 50 years, a record tenure in the annals of Alpha Tau Omega. In the process of this labor of love, he made close friendships with six decades of Gamma Omicron Taus.
The Bugle and friendships were only part of the Ross legacy. He worked for four years planning and organizing the Fifty-year anniversary celebration of the founding of the chapter in 1954. Mr. Ross, who died in 1965, bequeathed $10,000 for the then new ATΩ national headquarters in Champaign, Illinois dedicated during the fraternity's centennial in 1965 and $3,500 to establish the G.A. Ross Scholarship to be given annually to the sophomore member of Gamma Omicron with the highest grade point average.
Brother Ross' legacy stands as an outstanding example for men who will guide Gamma Omicron into its second century of brotherhood and service.
ATΩ was founded by Otis Allan Glazebrook, Erskine Mayo Ross and Alfred Marshall, at the Virginia Military Institute in 1865 upon Christian and brotherly love, with Christian principles, not Greek principles, as the cornerstones of the values of ATΩ.
ATΩ was not established in imitation of or in opposition to any existing fraternity.
In June 1935, the ATΩ Foundation's inception occurred at the 34th Congress in Memphis, Tennessee.
The LeaderShape Institute, Inc. was created in 1986 by Alpha Tau Omega, and today is considered one of the nation's finest leadership skills training programs in the country.
ATΩ was honored by the Smithsonian Institute for innovative use of technology with an award for Information Technology in the field of Government and Non-Profit Organizations in June 1995. The award was given for ATΩ's innovative use of CompuServe as a communications tool.
After more than 84 years with its national office in Champaign, Illinois, the ATΩ National Headquarters moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 13, 1995.
ATΩ annually ranks among the top ten national fraternities for number of chapters and total number of members. ATΩ has more than 240 active and inactive chapters with more than 181,000 members and more than 6,500 undergraduate members.
The ATΩ Foundation provides more than $150,000 in annual scholarships to members including scholarships to attend the LeaderShape Institute, Inc.
Alpha Tau Omega is a participating member in the National Interfraternity Conference, the Fraternity Executives Association, the College Fraternity Editors Association, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, FIPG, Inc., and the Fraternal Risk Management Trust.
In 1950 Indiana University Worthy Master Robert Lollar created "Help Week" setting the pledges to doing good deeds around campus and replacing the traditional "Hell Week."
ATΩ was the first fraternity founded after the Civil War in 1865, striving to heal the wounds created by the devastating war and help reunite the North and South.
ATΩ was the first fraternity founded as a national fraternity, not a local or sectional fellowship.
The first meeting of ATΩ was at 114 E. Clay St. in Richmond, Virginia, where Glazebrook read the Constitution of ATΩ to Marshall and Ross for the first time.
The first chapter north of the Mason - Dixon line, was chartered at the University of Pennsylvania sixteen years after the founding of ATΩ, helping to bring a realization to the founders' dreams.
Thomas Arkle ClarkThe ATΩ chapter at the University of the South (Sewanee) was the first of any fraternity in the South to have a chapter house in 1880.
ATΩ's first fraternity west of the Rockies and first of any fraternity in the Northwest was at Oregon State University with the chartering in 1882.
Thomas Arkle Clark, the first initiate of the Gamma Zeta chapter at the University of Illinois, was the nation's first college dean of men.
The first World War I Medal of Honor was given to Captain C. L. Irwin, Wyoming '13, as one of the first American heroes mentioned in dispatches to the U.S.
ATΩ was the first national fraternity to start a chapter free of alcohol and tobacco on fraternity property.
ATΩ was the first national fraternity to sponsor and conduct coeducational leadership conferences nationwide in 1992.
The ATΩ Badge was designed by Otis Allan Glazebrook in 1865 and is worn by the initiate.
The Grand Seal was painted by Richard N. Burke, VMI Arts Instructor, in 1872.
The White Tea Rose became the ATΩ Flower in 1892.
The Coat of Arms was redesigned and approved by committee in 1910.
The ATΩ Flag was designed by William C. Smiley and approved in 1914.
Colors: Azure and Gold.
Nicknames: Taus, Alpha Taus, ATOs