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Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed service fraternity established on December 16th, 1925 at Lafayette College dedicated to the principles of leadership, friendship, and service. It is the single most represented intercollegiate service organization in the United States. 

Derived from the principles of the Scout Oath and Law of the Boy Scouts of America, the national fraternity aims to provide opportunities for college students to develop leadership, friendship, and provide service to humanity.

The Beta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega is located at New York University. It was founded in 1938 and rechartered in 1992.


This is the story behind the creation of Alpha Phi Omega. It is also the story of the beginning of the first chapter — Alpha Chapter — at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. It is also the story of the formation of the first national organization of the Fraternity. Above all, it is the story of the dreams of one man for an organization through which men might better the conditions of other men, as well as of themselves. It is the story of how a college student worked with others to turn those dreams into a reality. This student is Frank Reed Horton.

During the first World War, I served as an ensign in the United States Navy aboard a minesweeper in the North Sea. Our ship and its partner exploded more than 1,000 magnetic mines. My law school background at Boston University led to my appointment to try court martial cases in our division. When we reached ports some of the sailors ran wild. Many court martial cases resulted. I saw young boys in their teens getting into trouble.


Because of these experiences, I made a firm resolution within myself that if I returned alive, I would try to do two things and do them with all my power. First, do my best to help young people get the right start in life by holding up before them a “standard of manhood” that would withstand the test of time! Second and just as important, try to help the nations of the world settle their disputes in a more sensible and legal manner than war.


After the war, I became a student at Lafayette College. One evening, while attending an American Legion banquet during my sophomore year, I sat next to an inspiring man named Herbert G. Horton. We were not related but we became fast friends. He, too, had been a naval officer but was now serving as the local scout executive. He helped me to become a deputy scout commissioner. One of the troops needed a leader, so I became a scoutmaster as well.

Through these experiences, I found that the Scout Oath and Scout Law were what I had been seeking — a standard of manhood that would withstand the test of time and a code of ideals created and accepted by some of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.


The summer of my junior year was spent as an associate camp director at the Easton Scout Reservation. Here, I was impressed with the religious tolerance in the hearts of boys. This I have not found so easily among older people. Scouts of the Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant faiths worked together in everything at camp, and everyone had an opportunity to worship on his Sabbath in his own way.


My brothers in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, where I lived, who were outstanding for high ideals and clean living, were all former Scouts. I felt a college organization should be formed that would strengthen men in these ideals, and give them an opportunity for leadership experience and for service to others.

As a senior at Lafayette College, I talked to some of the men with a scouting background and the response was good. These men would join an organization based on the ideals of scouting. I created the name Alpha Phi Omega, the motto and the Greek words and their meaning and wrote the Ritual. Everett W. Probst designed the pin and drew the coat of arms. Thane S. Cooley suggested the handclasp. Ellsworth S. Dobson and Gordon M. Looney helped write the Fraternity’s Constitution and Bylaws.


Fourteen undergraduates signed as charter members. Scouting advisors were Dr. Ray O. Wyland and Herbert G. Horton.


The Lafayette College faculty approved the petition for recognition. On December 16, 1925, I conducted the Ritual Initiation at Brainerd Hall, second floor, and Alpha Phi Omega was born. My purpose was to make Alpha Phi Omega an organization for college men who cooperated with all youth movements, especially scouting. I also anticipated that our service program would expand to help people in need everywhere and to do service on the campus of each chapter.


As scouting is worldwide, so should Alpha Phi Omega be worldwide, gradually in the colleges and universities of all the nations. 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.

By Frank Reed Horton,  Founder of Alpha Phi Omega


Frank Reed Horton



H. Roe Burtle

The Chief


Herbert G. Horton

Scout Executive

Today, Alpha Phi Omega is a national, co-educational service fraternity – college students gathered together in an organization based on fraternalism and founded on the principles of the Boy Scouts of America. Its purpose is to develop leadership, promote friendship and provide service to humanity. More than 500,000 students on 375 college campuses have chosen Alpha Phi Omega, making it the nation’s largest Greek letter fraternity.


Alpha Phi Omega is forever grateful to those founding brothers who laid the foundation for the Cardinal Principles and who in turn established a means for creating more student leaders through service.



It is the vision of Alpha Phi Omega to be the premier, inclusive, campus-based, leadership development organization through the provision of service to others and the creation of community.


Through its mission of preparing campus and community leaders through service, Alpha Phi Omega is committed to bringing together college students in a national service fraternity in the fellowship of principles derived from the Scout Oath and of the Law of the Boy Scouts of America; to develop Leadership, to promote Friendship and to provide Service to humanity; and further the freedom that is our national, educational and intellectual heritage.

Cardinal Principles







To transform followers into leaders, and equip them with the knowledge and skills that are applicable to the work world and to other organizational leadership.

To promote friendship by building a sense of brotherhood through shared experiences and understanding of the fraternity's history. 

To promote and build a program of service for the fraternity, the campus, the community, and the nation.


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