During and after the Civil War, families were torn apart, due to brothers fighting on opposite sides. A Virginia Military Institute student, Otis Allan Glazebrook, had a vision to reunite the North and the South in brotherhood. His ideals started Alpha Tau Omega as the first fraternity that would be considered a national fraternity, and it was with Erskine Mayo Ross and Alfred Marshall that he sought to bring together the two factions that had been torn apart.
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 USA. ATO was honored by the Smithsonian Institution 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 ATO's innovative use of CompuServe as a communications tool.
Otis Allan Glazebrook, Alfred Marshall, and Erskine Mayo Ross are recognized as the three founders of ATO. Following these, the next leader of ATO was Thomas Arkle Clark; Clark was the first Dean of education at the University of Illinois and the President of the Gamma Zeta chapter at the University. Thomas A. Clark served the national fraternity as "Worthy Grand Chief" for several terms. To this day, the highest honor a graduating senior can achieve is the Thomas Arkle Clark Award.
Another man, Joseph R. Anderson, is known as the second founder of ATO. Because of a lack of organization and many chapters ignoring their responsibilities to the national fraternity—including financial ones, ATO was on a devastating decline. In 1876, of the 22 chapters in existence at the time, only 2 attended the annual Congress. Joseph R. Anderson was appointed and accepted the position of Senior Grand Chief, or the National President, in 1870. Under Anderson, ATO was able to get back on track and become the well established fraternity it is today.
Currently, the National Headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit www.ato.org to find out more.