Officially founded in 1902 by Walter Bradley Tripp, Phi Alpha Tau is the nation’s oldest communicative arts fraternity. Phi Alpha Tau presents two honorary membership awards. The Joseph E. Connor Memorial Award is given in memory of that beloved Emerson professor, and is one of the ceremonial high points of the school year. The David Brudnoy Award is given in memory of honorary brother David Brudnoy whose generosity has greatly enhanced the lives of his brothers. In addition to a scholarship that Brudnoy endowed for Phi Alpha Tau brothers, The Phi Alpha Tau Reading Room on the 6th floor of the Emerson College library contains all of David Brudnoy’s first-edition, signed books which he reviewed during his career as a radio talk show host.
Another important fraternity institution is Haig der Marderosian, who led many an Emerson debate team to regional and national championships. Room 501 in the Walker Building was re-dedicated to him in 2002 after the College sold 21 Commonwealth Avenue which contained the original Haig der Marderosian Room. Haig was an advisor to the fraternity twice during his tenure as a professor, from 1960 to 1968 and again from 1980 to 1984. Like Joe Connor, Haig entered the fraternity as an Emerson student.
Phi Alpha Tau has been blessed with many exceptional honorary brothers on campus. Among them Harry Morgan, Phil Amato, Gregory Payne, and Anthony Bashir, each of whom served as an advisor to the fraternity at some point in the last 4 decades. Currently our student advisor is Jack Casey, the General Manager of WERS, America’s finest college radio station.
Off campus, other honorary brothers of note include WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller, Dublin pub proprietor J. R. Shanahan, and the late William F. Buckley Jr.