August 12, 1925: Alpha Psi Omega Fraternity Forms at Fairmont State Normal School
On August 12, 1925, the Alpha Psi Omega fraternity was formed at Fairmont State Normal School—now Fairmont State University. At the time, the college’s drama club wanted to join a national honorary theater organization. But the club members discovered that no such organization existed, so they formed their own, under the leadership of English professor Paul Opp.
Alpha Psi Omega grew quickly in popularity across the country. Each chapter was referred to as a “cast.” Fairmont was home to the Alpha cast. The second chapter, the Beta cast, was founded at Marshall College—now Marshall University. Within a year, 18 additional casts were founded, and a national convention was held in Chicago.
The fraternity’s home office, initially located at Fairmont State, published a nationally circulated magazine called The Playbill. Alpha Psi Omega soon founded auxiliary branches for junior colleges and high schools. In the 1930s, the national office was relocated to Cincinnati, where it still remains.
Alpha Psi Omega now has more than 600 casts in the United States and abroad, while the high school fraternity lists 3,200 troupes with an aggregate membership of nearly 2 million.