Alpha Phi Omega was introduced to the Georgetown University community by John Joseph Buckley, Jr. Buckley was a Marianna, Florida native and a charter member of the Iota Rho Chapter at Florida State University. Coincidentally, Reubin Askew, who would become the Governor of Florida, was also a charter member of Iota Rho.
Shortly after helping to charter APO at Florida State, Buckley found himself studying diplomacy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. While Florida State had a thriving social fraternity system in the early 1950s, Georgetown's fraternity system was markedly different. Buckley found a new home with the Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Service Fraternity in Fall of 1952. Buckley was a leader in Alpha Chapter, serving as President, Vice President, and Secretary. He was active in other organizations at Georgetown, including the Glee Club, the Courier, and the Student Council, which he led as President in his Senior year.
For reasons currently unknown to us, it would be several years after his transfer to Georgetown that John Buckley would begin the organization process for a new chapter of Alpha Phi Omega. Perhaps he enjoyed a certain camaraderie in APO that remained unmatched by any other organization. Perhaps he wanted to perform even more community service than what was currently available through any other outlet. Or perhaps, like the founders of Alpha Phi Omega themselves, he wanted to unite men in fellowship with the principles of the Scouting movement.
What we do know is that in the Spring of 1955, through a word of mouth campaign led by Buckley, over 20 students began a program of service as part of the petitioning process. The Protocol yearbook of the School of Foreign Service notes that John Buckley served as Founder and President of this original group. Recruitment of students and faculty seemed to come easily to Buckley, who found many initial members from among the rolls of Delta Phi Epsilon. Dr. Francis Mann served as the lead faculty advisor at this time. Epsilon Mu Chapter at the University of Maryland at College Park was identified as the Big Brother Chapter.
On May 20, 1956, the Georgetown Petitioning Group became the 265th chapter of Alpha Phi Omega after proving their worth through a program including fundraisers, work at a local orphanage, and the recruitment of 29 charter members, including Dirck Teller, who served as chartering President. It is unknown why John Buckley is not listed as a charter member, but he is recognized as such by the chapter due to his guiding leadership and inspiration.
The charter was granted to the chapter in a ceremony conducted by the Big Brother Chapter at the University of Maryland at College Park. The regent of the School of Foreign Service, Father Frank L. Fadner, SJ, was initiated as an Honorary Brother. The faculty members on the charter included the aforementioned Dr. Mann, Fr. Collins, Henry Cunningham as the moderator (advisor), and Dr. James Hunter.
As was the tradition at other area chapters, Alpha Phi Omega at Georgetown was known as "Alpha Phi" for short, rather than the now ubiquitous "APO."
Following his stint as Mu Alpha's delegate to the 1956 National Convention in Long Beach, California (August 28-30), Charter Brother Joseph C. Fleig became President of Mu Alpha for the 1956-57 school year. The chapter's service program included helping with new student registration, conducting student elections, campus clean-ups, collecting funds for the March of Dimes Campaign, collecting clothing for needy families, and the Ugly Man on Campus Contest -- a traditional project found in Alpha Phi Omega chapters across the nation.
The 1958 Protocol describes Mu Alpha as having "A stature unequalled by any other campus organization...and therefore has listed on its rolls of brotherhood the top men from the student body." Among these men were Charter Brother and chapter president Edward Reynolds, who most notably led the chapter as it hosted its first major event: the Eastern Regional Conference on March 22-23, 1958. Reynolds (as Conference Chairman), the Executive Committee, and Mu Alpha at large were honored by the National Executive Board for their service.
Other officers in 1958 were Bernie Ibanez, Vice President for Program; Terry Baroody, Vice President for Membership; Tom Neville, Secretary; and Roy Parker and Tom Carson, both listed as Treasurers. By this time, Tong Sun Park was also an active Brother of the chapter.
The service program of 1958 is too detailed to list here, but some notable projects include publishing the student handbook, blood drives, snow removal for neighbors, annual awards at commencement, and aiding the Community Chest.
The 1958-59 school year found Mu Alpha continuing the legacy it had begun a few short years ago with a refined service program and expanded recruitment, helped at least in part by the elevated profile of the chapter after the success of the regional conference. Officers during this year were Gene Losa, George Aste, Pat Bray, Lance Burton, John Glasgow, and Charles Kaleta. Activities included the Miss Foreign Service Contest and Freshman Orientation.
A most notable event during this school year was Mu Alpha's participation in the September 23 national honorary initiation of Philippine Ambassador Carlos Romulo. An international dignitary and co-founder of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Brother Romulo was pinned by Edward D. Reynolds, a charter member of Mu Alpha chapter.