History

 

Pi Alpha Phi is an extraordinary fraternity with a historic legacy and promising future.

Six visionary Asian-American men founded this fraternity in 1929 at the University of California, Berkeley, based on the shared values of Bonds of Brotherhood, Mutual Experiences, Academic Excellence, Service to the Community, and Asian-American Awareness.

During this era, fraternities legally discriminated against men of color. Our Founding Fathers decided to create their own Fraternity. They wanted to ensure that Asian Awareness would always be an important part of the Fraternity.


For over 90 years, our members have pursued and established successful careers in virtually every profession and industry. Many of our alumni give back their time, money, and effort to help our newer members.

Pi Alpha Phi provides an excellent balance of academics and social life. Interchapter brotherhood events and socials with sororities and other student groups provide exciting opportunities to meet new people and develop lasting friendships.

Today, the founding principles of the fraternity are not only valued, but instilled through educational, service, and leadership opportunities. Pi Alpha Phi is proud of its role in developing tomorrow's leaders.

Lifelong Brotherhood


Pi Alpha Phi recognizes itself as the oldest Asian-American Interest Fraternity. Our tradition of brotherhood has been established since 1929 at the University of California, Berkeley. Since then, the fraternity has expanded to various campuses across the nation.

 

Asian Greek History

 

The rich history of Asian and Pacific Islander (APIA) fraternities and sororities goes back nearly a century.

 

Between 1916 and 1930, the first APIA fraternities and sororities were created as support groups for small ethnic minorities (Chinese or Japanese) on predominantly White college campuses. They mirrored their White counterparts by adopting Greek letters, forming a chapter, incorporating secret rituals, and developing their own traditions.

 

Organizations of this early era include:

 

1916 – Rho Psi Fraternity at Cornell University (Chinese)

1929 – Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity at University of California, Berkeley (Chinese)

1929 – Chi Alpha Delta Sorority at University of California, Los Angeles (Japanese)

1930 – Sigma Omicron Pi Sorority at San Francisco State University (Chinese)

 

Loosening immigration policies, a rise in the APIA student population, and the close geographic proximity of several universities and colleges in Southern California ushered in the next major period of Asian American fraternal development. Organizations created a vibrant Asian fraternal community across Southern California. Chapters held numerous events across the region and developed elaborate customs and traditions. In 1982, 22 fraternities and sororities formed the Asian Greek Council of Southern California in order to promote, maintain, and regulate cooperation among its

many group members.

 

Beginning in the late 1980s, an exploding Asian American student population, the rise in multiculturalism, and the advancement of technology combined to help usher in a fast growing, national,Asian fraternity/sorority movement. For the first time since Rho Psi Fraternity began at Cornell University, Asian fraternal organizations were chartered outside of California. Organizations such as Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity and Pi Alpha Phi fraternity began chartering chapters in states such as Texas, New York, and Michigan.

 

In the 1990s, new organizations were being founded with national aspirations. Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, and Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority were founded on New York campuses, and within 5 years, each had chartered several chapters. With the development of the internet in the 1990s, it became easy for these new groups to find other organizations that shared similar ideals.

 

Today, the Asian fraternal community is comprised of over 50 fraternities and sororities, representing more than 350 individual chapters at over 100 colleges and universities. While each of these organizations is distinctly unique, they have each been founded upon the basic principles of lifelong friendships, leadership, scholastic achievement, cultural awareness, and community service.

 

In the summer of 2005, ten national APIA fraternities and sororities attended an Asian Greek leadership summit. The summit provided the first in-person opportunity for these organizations’ leaders to engage in serious dialogue about the challenges and future of the APIA fraternity/sorority community. By the end of the summit, recognizing the need for an umbrella organization for APIA fraternities and sororities, the fraternities and sororities in attendance chose to form the foundation for what would become the National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association (NAPA).

Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity is proud to be a Founding Member of the National Asian Pacific Islander American Panhellenic Association.