This year, the largest collegiate fraternity in the United States, Alpha Phi Omega, celebrates its 90th anniversary.
The fraternity was founded on December 16, 1925, at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania by Frank Reed Horton, whose view was to make “Alpha Phi Omega an organization for college men who cooperated with all youth movements, especially scouting.” Among the other founding members were Everett William Probst, Ephraim Moyer Detwiler Jr., Thane Sanford Cooley, William Taylor Wood, Lewis Burnett Blair, Gordon Minnier Looney, Donald LeRoy Terwilliger, William Weber Highberger, Robert Jefferson Green, Donald H. Fritts, Ellsworth Stewart Dobson, George Axel Olsen, and Herbert Heinrich. With the founding of the Beta chapter at the University of Pittsburgh, it became a national fraternity on January 11, 1927.
In the words of Horton, “Alpha Phi Omega can help bring about, through the future statesmen of the world, that standard of manhood and international understanding and friendship that will lead to a better, more peaceful world in which to live and in which to make a living and a life.”
He said that one of the reasons he wanted to start the fraternity was to “try to help the nations of the world settle their disputes in a more sensible and legal manner than war.”
Some of the most notable personalities that are part of the their distinguished alumni include former presidents, William J. Clinton, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush, former Secretary of defense Robert Gates, Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett, former Secretary of the United States Army Togo West, former astronaut James Lovell, and others. Currently the fraternity has more than 400,000 members across 375 campuses.
The website of Alpha Pi Omega states that the fraternity “is the VISION of Alpha Phi Omega to be recognized as the premier service-based leadership development organization. It is the MISSION of Alpha Phi Omega to prepare campus and community leaders through service. The VALUES of Alpha Phi Omega are to develop leadership, promote friendship and provide service. The OBJECTIVES of Alpha Phi Omega are Share, Grow, Improve and Invest.”
In 1950, Alpha Phi Omega extended its services to Philippines by the founding of the Alpha chapter at the Far Eastern University in Manila. According to the website, “APO-Phil is a self governing organization based on the same Scouting principles of APO-USA. The two organizations formally discuss issues of mutual interest through the International Council of Alpha Phi Omega.”