Alpha Psi Omega
|Alpha Psi Omega/Delta Psi Omega|
|Founded||August 12, 1925
Fairmont State University
|Motto||Seek a life useful (αιτειτε ψύχην ωφελιμον) (open)|
|Colors||Moonlight blue and bastard amber|
|Publication||The Playbill of Alpha Psi Omega and Delta Psi Omega|
|Chapters||551 (997 including inactives)|
|Headquarters||1100 East 4th St. Box X-2
Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society (ΑΨΩ) is an American recognition honor society for participants in collegiate theatre. The Alpha Cast (Alpha Psi Omega's term for "chapter") was founded at Fairmont State College (now Fairmont State University) on August 12, 1925 by Prof. Paul F. Opp.
Alpha Psi Omega was founded after Opp was denied charter petitions by both Theta Alpha Phi (ΘΑΦ), the National Theatre Honors Fraternity and the National Collegiate Players/Pi Epsilon Delta (ΠΕΔ), which were unwilling to charter a chapter at Fairmont State College, then primarily known as a "teacher's college." The first student members of the society were Elinor B. Watson and Robert Sloan.
Membership is open to students (primarily undergraduate) who are active in collegiate/university theatre at four-year institutions (full colleges and universities). Most casts/chapters use a "point system" for determining eligibility of membership, with a certain number of points being dealt to a certain task in theatre. With some chapters there is an induction/training process, while other chapters choose members solely on merit, where the theatre experience is considered the induction process. Honorary membership may be conferred on certain individuals (usually department faculty) after obtaining permission from the National Officers.
Delta Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society (ΔΨΩ), Alpha Psi Omega's "Sister Society," was founded in 1929 as the official junior-college division of Alpha Psi Omega. Both societies are governed by the same National Officers, yet have a separate coat-of-arms and induction ceremony. Delta Psi Omega is founded at two-year institutions (junior colleges/community colleges).
Opp and Alpha Psi Omega were also instrumental in helping to organize the Thespian Society, now known as the International Thespian Society, the theatre honor society for high school students (also founded in 1929). With an original grant of $500, the society was able to help organize I.T.S. and help publish the first issues of the I.T.S. magazine. The International Thespian Society has since been assimilated into the Educational Theatre Association, but the influences can be seen in the similarities of both organizations' colors and induction ceremonies.
Members are most commonly referred to as "APOs". However, due to some confusion with members of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, some campuses refer to their members as "Alpha Psis" or "AYOs". Members of Delta Psi Omega are commonly known as "DPOs".
As was common practice in naming honor societies during that time, at the founding, Alpha Psi Omega was called "Alpha Psi Omega National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity" and used theatre-related terminology to refer to the honor society's officers and workings. Examples include:
- President/National President - Director / Grand Director
- Vice-President/National Vice-President - Stage Manager / Grand Stage Manager
- Secretary-Treasurer/ National Secretary-Treasurer - Business Manager / Grand Business Manager
- Chapter - Cast
- Inductees - Understudies
- National Officers - Grand Cast
- National Convention - Grand Rehearsal
In 1997, upon pressure of anti-fraternity sentiments nationwide, the National Officers decided to update the public titles of the organization. This changed the official name of the society from "Alpha Psi Omega National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity" to "Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society."
The open motto of Alpha Psi Omega, written in ancient Greek upon their coat-of-arms, is "seek a life useful" ("αιτειτε ψύχην ωφελιμον").
The official colors of Alpha Psi Omega and Delta Psi Omega are moonlight blue and bastard amber, from the names of the shades of lighting gels commonly used in theatre lighting.
The official magazine of Alpha Psi Omega/Delta Psi Omega is The Playbill.
Alpha Psi Omega/Delta Psi Omega has a total of 1048 chapters on record, making it one of the largest Greek Letter Organizations in the world. Chapters of Alpha Psi Omega are named with Greek Letter names according to the order in which they were chartered. Chapters of Delta Psi Omega are numbered.
Current national officers
The current national officers of Alpha Psi Omega and Delta Psi Omega are as follows:
- National President - Dr. Richard Jones, Stephen F. Austin State University
- National Vice-President - Phoebe Hall, Fayetteville State University
- National Business Manager - Dr. Bret Jones, Wichita State University
- National Web Administrator - Joel Lord, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Delta Psi Omega Representative - Lisa Coulter, Murray State University
- Region I - Brian Reed, Whittier College
- Region II - Jack Garrison, University of Nebraska at Kearney
- Region III - Keith Hight, College of Southern Maryland
- Region IV - Seamus Bourne, Berry College
- Region V - Brad Nies, Blinn College
Past National Officers of Alpha Psi Omega & Delta Psi Omega
- Dr. E. Teresa Choate - National President, National Vice-President
- Susan S. Cole - National President, National Vice-President
- Tommy Cox - National Acting President, National Vice-President
- Frankie Day - National President, National Vice-President
- James Fisher - National Business Manager
- Donald Garner - National President, National Business Manager
- Dr. Jerry Henderson - National President, National Vice-President
- Dr. Yetta Mitchell - National President, National Vice-President
- Dr. Paul F. Opp - Founder, First National Business Manager
- Russell Spiers - First National Vice-President
- E. Turner Stump - First National President
- Alan Charles Beckwith (General Hospital)
- Dan Blocker (Bonanza)
- Jeff Coopwood (Star Trek: First Contact, Beverly Hills, 90210, The Wild Thornberrys, Seinfeld, The Bold and the Beautiful)
- Dann Florek (Law & Order, LA Law)
- Lillian Gish (Follow Me Boys and a number of silent movies; Broadway revivals of Uncle Vanya)
- Ron Glass (Firefly, Serenity)
- Robert Hegyes (Welcome Back Kotter)
- Don Knotts (The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Pleasantville, The Andy Griffith Show, Three's Company)
- Burt Mustin (Miracle on 34th Street, All in the Family, Petticoat Junction, Mame, Leave it to Beaver)
- Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Newsies, Spaceballs)
- Stelio Savante (Ugly Betty, My Super Ex Girlfriend, What If..., Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, Corrado)
- Jimmi Simpson (Loser, Rose Red)
- Robert Taylor (Ivanhoe)
- Frank Ballard (Puppeteer)
- Mike Malin (Big Brother 2, Big Brother 7, Big Brother 14)
- Alpha Psi Omega History Archived 2008-10-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- HARDWAY ADMINISTRATION BUILDING Historic Site
- Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities 20th edition (1991) p. VII-11
- Alpha Psi Omega FAQ Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine.
- Alpha Psi Omega Playbill Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine.
- Alpha Psi Omega Our Officers Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine.