by Frank Reed Horton, Founder
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
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 by war.
After the war, I became a student at Lafayette College, Easton,
Pennsylvania. 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 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 the 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 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.