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Alpha Zeta Omega

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Alpha Zeta Omega
FoundedDecember 19, 1919; 104 years ago (1919-12-19)
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
ScopeNational (U.S.)
Colors  Blue and   White
NicknameAZO, Dead Men's Club
HeadquartersYorktown Heights, NY
United States

Alpha Zeta Omega (ΑΖΩ or AZO) is an American co-ed, pharmaceutical professional fraternity founded on December 19, 1919. It was originally known as the Dead Men's Club.



Alpha Zeta Omega was founded in Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, which is now called the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The leader and originator of this group was Ephraim G. Sless. The original members (also known as fraters) were:

  • Harry Althouse
  • Lawrence Rosenfeld
  • Morris Arkans
  • Abe M. Bernstein
  • David Champaine
  • David L. Dyen
  • Stanley Rosenfeld
  • Al Rosenfield
  • Louis Snyder
  • David Schwartz
  • Morris Shuman
  • Ephraim G. Sless
  • Joshua Zimskind

These eleven men secretly started a pharmaceutical fraternity they dubbed the Dead Men's Club. Soon after its founding, Harry Althouse was added, and as its members then numbered twelve, the group was often referred to as "The Dozen". Later, Dr. Lawrence Rosenfeld, an eminent Philadelphia bacteriologist, also became a member, but the name of "The Dozen" persisted. Because of strenuous opposition to the formation of new organizations at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science by older fraternities and clubs, the newly formed Dead Men's Club would exist as a secret society for several years.

Alpha Zeta Omega was formed for academic support; the original stated goal was to ensure 100% graduation of its members. Members participated in a structured series of quizzes, designed and executed by the members most proficient in the particular subject under discussion. These frequent study sessions resulted in bringing together the social life of the members. In 1921, the Dead Men's Club boasted 100% graduation of its thirteen members. In addition to the original goal of "100% graduation" the purpose of the Fraternity is now designated chiefly as "to spread the spirit of Fraternalism, Brotherly Love, Friendship and Good Will towards Mankind."

The original constitution of AZO was drawn up by A.M. Bernstein and D.L. Dyen. Stanley Rosenfeld was elected the first "Supreme Directorum" (President) of the fraternity. The original thirteen members termed themselves the Alpha chapter. The Supreme chapter, consisting of the Supreme Officer and delegates from subordinate chapters, meets regularly twice a year in January and July. As the fraternity began to grow in its early years, it became necessary to hold a yearly convention. The first such affair took place at the Hotel Walton, Philadelphia in June 1922, with E. Fullerton Cook, chairman of the Pharmacopoeia Revision Committee, as guest and toastmaster.

After the Dead Men's Club founding members graduated, the group held its first official gathering at the home of Abe M. Bernstein. It was at this time decided to change the name of the organization to Alpha Zeta Omega Fraternity. In 1922, Alpha Zeta Omega Fraternity Supreme Chapter was officially incorporated under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania. The fraternity's yearly publication, Hazy-O, started in December 1922 and was edited by Si Sless.

At the 1925 Convention in Newark, NJ, the Philadelphia alumni chapter was chartered, which nullified the charter of the Alpha chapter. The Alpha fraters then became the charter members of the Philadelphia alumni chapter.

In 1937, the Ohio River Floods caused considerable damage to pharmacies owned by several members. An emergency session of the fraternity was called and a support drive was held to assist those members' businesses that were damaged or destroyed in the flood. In 1938, plans to offer insurance to the members of the fraternity were adopted, and when finalized, $100,000 worth of insurance was written.

In 1939, a Ladies Auxiliaries was established at several chapters for the wives of AZO fraters. At the Detroit Convention in 1940, a National Auxiliary was founded.

In 1961, the book 40 Years of AZO was published, detailing the history of AZO. Additional historical publications would follow, outlining the history of AZO from 1960 to 1970, and then again from 1970 to 1980. In the early 1970s, AZO began admitting women as members for the first time and thus became a co-ed fraternal organization.


The Greek letters AZO were chosen to represent:

  • Alpha—the first letter in the Greek alphabet, representing the beginning of time
  • Zeta—a mnemonic of the founder's names, a symbol of the link between the creation and eternity
  • Omega—the last letter of the Greek alphabet, was taken to represent the end of time.

The fraternity's pin was designed by A. M. Bernstein, D. L. Dyen, M. Shuman, and E. G. Sless. The fraternity's shield and recognition pin was approved in 1924.



Currently, two meetings are held each year—a National Convention in July and a Regional Convention in January. The AZOan is the fraternity's yearly publication. Its quarterly newsletter is AZO Apothecary.


The fraternity has numerous awards. The Directorum's Cup was established in June 1926 and is awarded annually to a subordinate chapter for its excellent standing. The Newspaper Cup is awarded to subordinate chapters for chapter publications. The Meritorious Award is presented to a member for "long and distinguished activity on behalf of the fraternity". The Supreme Undergraduate Award is given to exceptional undergraduates annually at conventions. The S. I. Sless Award is presented to an undergraduate member for undergraduate service to the fraternity. The E. G. Sless Award is given to a member for long and distinguished service to the fraternity on the chapter level. The Achievement Medal is presented to a person (not necessarily a member) for "long and meritorious service to the Profession of Pharmacy". The Order of the Double Star is awarded to members "who attain positions of respect and importance within the Profession of Pharmacy".


In June 1946, AZO presented funds for the pharmacy of the Hadassah Memorial Hospital in Palestine. This was part of the $15,000 pledged by the fraternity to build a pharmacy building at the hospital. In 1956, AZO took on as its cultural program, the task of raising money for the Hebrew University in Israel. The stated goal was to raise $100,000 in three years. The fraternity surpassed its goal and raised $103,000 in just two years.

In 1976, the founder of AZO, Ephraim G. Sless, died. In honor of their late founder, the membership began a campaign to establish scholarships across the United States and in Israel.

After the events of September 11, 2001, AZO started a project to benefit the Dean Street Heroes Fund, N.Y. Fire Dept., Engine Co. 219. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico, where one of AZO's chapters resides, a project was started to benefit the rebuilding of the territory.


The fraternity is organized by chapters, each representing a specific pharmacy school or geographic area. Chapters may be formed by undergraduates and alumni, and in some instances are mixed, containing both undergraduate and graduate members.

The government has alternative names for their officers which follow:

  • Directorum - President
  • Sub-Directorum - Vice President
  • Signare - Secretary
  • ExCheque - Treasurer
  • Bellarum - Sergeant of Arms [1]


Collegiate chapters[edit]

Following is a list of the undergraduate chapters of Alpha Zeta Omega.[2][3][4] Active chapters are indicated in bold. Inactive chapters are in italics.

Chapter Chartered date

and range

Institution Location Status References
Alpha (First) December 19, 1919 – 1925 Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inactive [a]
Beta 1925 Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inactive [b]
Gamma 1921 Temple University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inactive
Delta McGill University Montreal, Quebec Inactive
Epsilon 1923 Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy Piscataway, New Jersey Active [b][c]
Zeta Columbia University New York City, New York Inactive
Eta 1924 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio Inactive [b]
Theta (First) Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio Inactive
Iota Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy Long Island, New York Inactive
Kappa 1923 University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Baltimore, Maryland Inactive [b]
Lambda 1947–January 2016 University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky Inactive [5][b]
Mu University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Inactive
Nu 1928 University of Connecticut Storrs, Connecticut Active
Xi 1929 Fordham University Bronx, New York Inactive
Omicron 1930 Detroit Institute of Technology Detroit, Michigan Inactive
Pi 1931 George Washington University and Howard University Washington, D.C. Inactive [b]
Rho 1942 St. Louis College of Pharmacy St. Louis, Missouri. Active
Sigma 1950 University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Toledo, Ohio Active [6][b]
Tau 1950 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston, Massachusetts Active [d][b]
Upsilon 1950 Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts Inactive [e][b]
Phi 1951 Wayne State University Detroit, Michigan Inactive [b]
Psi Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy West Palm Beach, Florida Active [b]
Omega 1960 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem, Israel Inactive
Epsilon Chi University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Pharmacy Kansas City, Missouri Inactive
Zeta Phi University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa Inactive
Eta Upsilon St. John's University College of Pharmacy Queens, New York City, New York Inactive
Theta Alpha 1952 Ohio Northern University Ada, Ohio Inactive
Theta Beta Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio Inactive
Nu Mu University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico Inactive
Omicron Alpha Ferris State University College of Pharmacy Big Rapids, Michigan Inactive
Omega Chi 1949 Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy Richmond, Virginia Inactive [f][b]
Pi Rho University of Puerto Rico College of Pharmacy San Juan, Puerto Rico Active
Theta Gamma 201x ? University of Findlay Findlay, Ohio Active [b]
Delta Tau 201x ? Western New England University College of Pharmacy Springfield, Massachusetts Active [b]
Lambda Nu 201x ? University of New England College of Pharmacy Portland, Maine Active
Psi Beta 201x ? Nova Southeastern University San Juan, Puerto Rico Active
Rho Iota 201x ? University of Rhode Island Kingston, Rhode Island Inactive

Alumni chapters[edit]

Following is a list of the alumni chatpers of Alpha Zeta Omega.[2][3][4] Active chapters are indicated in bold. Inactive chapters are in italics.

Chapter Chartered date and range Location Status References
Alpha (Second) 1925 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inactive
Epsilon 1923 Piscataway, New Jersey Active [b]
Eta 1924 Cincinnati, Ohio Active [g]
Theta (Second) Cleveland, Ohio Inactive
Kappa 1923 Baltimore, Maryland Active [g]
Lambda 1947 – January 2016 Louisville, Kentucky Inactive [5][b]
Mu 1927 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Inactive [g]
Nu 1928 Storrs, Connecticut Inactive [b]
Pi 1931 Washington, D.C. Inactive [b]
Rho 1942 St. Louis, Missouri Inactive [b]
Sigma 1950 Toledo, Ohio Inactive [b]
Tau 1950 Boston, Massachusetts Active [b]
Upsilon 1950 Boston, Massachusetts Inactive [b]
Phi 1951 Detroit, Michigan Inactive [b]
Chi Los Angeles, California Inactive
Psi Miami, Florida Inactive [b]
Beta Alpha Milwaukee, Wisconsin Inactive
Gamma Psi Phoenix, Arizona Inactive
Delta Alpha Chicago, Illinois Inactive
Epsilon Alpha / Western Florida Tampa, Florida Inactive
Omicron Beta / Florida Tri-County Fort Lauderdale, Florida Inactive
Omega Chi 1949 Richmond, Virginia Inactive [b]
Theta Gamma Findlay, Ohio Inactive [b]
Delta Tau Springfield, Massachusetts Active [b]
Virginia Norfolk, Virginia Inactive
Connecticut Hartford, Connecticut Inactive
Southern Connecticut Bridgeport, Connecticut Inactive
New York New York City, New York Active
AZO Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Active
Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico Active

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Became the Philadelphia Alumni chapter.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa This is a mixed chapter that includes undergraduate and alumni members.
  3. ^ Chapter was formed at Rutgers Newark
  4. ^ Chapter formed at the Hampden College of Pharmacy.
  5. ^ Chapter formed at the New England College of Pharmacy which became Northeastern University.
  6. ^ Chapter formed at the Medical College of Virginia which later merged to form VCU.
  7. ^ a b c This was previously a mixed chapter, consisting of both undergraduates and alumni.



  1. ^ "Alpha Zeta Omega | Pharmacy Fraternity". alphazetaomega. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  2. ^ a b "Active Undergraduate Chapters". Alpha Zeta Omega. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  3. ^ a b "CHAPTERS". alphazetaomega. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  4. ^ a b Robson, John, ed. (1963). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (17th ed.). Menasha, Wisconsin: The Collegiate Press, George Banta Company, Inc. p. 500.
  5. ^ a b Wishnia, Jacob (2016-01-27). "AZO Fraternity Is Disbanding". Jewish Community of Louisville. Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  6. ^ "Alpha Zeta Omega - Involvement Network". University of Toledo. Retrieved 2023-12-06.