(ABOVE: The Florida Flambeau article (Now FSView), March 5th 1949 when ATO became the first fraternity at FSU along with Delta Tau Delta, Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Theta Chi)
Soon after becoming Florida State University, eleven national fraternities approached the University administration about the possibility of establishing local chapters at FSU. According to Dean of Student Welfare J. Broward Culpepper, "[I]t is the desire of the administration in bringing fraternities to the campus that the whole matter be studied carefully, and that every step be taken only after it has been determined that such action is for the best interest of the students, the institution, and the fraternities concerned." As a result President Doak S. Campbell appointed a committee of Dean Culpepper and four other faculty members to make recommendations to the University Executive Council. The Executive Council agreed to allow eleven fraternities to establish local chapters. They asked ATO and the other fraternities to verify their interest.
During the first year of operation year, ATO placed first in fraternity scholastics and second in intramurals. The first initiation into Alpha Theta Phi took place in March 1948.
Province Chief Henry G. Palmer paid the colony a visit on November 6-7, 1948. In a letter to Worthy Grand Chief John M. MacGregor, Palmer reported that Florida State "authorities are very sympathetic toward the installation of fraternities." Describing the colony, Palmer explained:
Plans were set to charter Florida State University's first fraternities. On Friday, March 4, 1949, Dean Culpepper held a meeting of all of the executive secretaries. All eight official fraternities, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Tau Delta, Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Theta Chi, joined together Saturday evening for the Interfraternity Banquet at the Dining Hall followed by the Interfraternity Dance at the Student Union on West Campus. At 7:00 p.m. they ate at an informal banquet dinner at the Talquin Inn.
The following morning – March 5, 1949, ATO had breakfast at the Dining Hall at 9:00 a.m., followed by a Smoker at the House at 10:30 a.m. and a Luncheon at 12:00 noon. Although newspapers reported that ATO's initiation would occur at 1:30 p.m., it actually took place at 10:00 a.m. at the Baptist Church, against the wishes of FSU officials. Initiating teams from the University of Florida, Emory, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, and Mercer initiated the colony members.