Founders Day 2020
Updated: Apr 19
On This Day In 1929 Six young Chinese American men, Elmer Leong, George Lee, D. Wing Tom, Tim Jang, Wing Chan, and Chack Chan signed their names in both English and Chinese onto the Pi Alpha Phi charter and became Founding Fathers of our great fraternity. The Founding Fathers of Pi Alpha Phi were all born in America with the exception of Wing Chan, who came from China at an early age. In 1928, these men faced many challenges because of their Asian heritage. It was then that these enterprising men conceived the idea to form a fraternity to serve the several hundred students of Chinese descent at the University of California, Berkeley. Discrimination was prevalent against those of Asian descent. Asians were prohibited to rent or buy property in the neighborhoods surrounding the UC Berkeley campus. The group eventually found Mary "Mother" Tusch, an elderly German immigrant sympathetic to their situation. She rented them a small, obscure cottage behind her home on Union Street, across the street from campus. It was at this cottage that the initial meeting took place. Dong Wing Tom was chosen as the Charter President. Wing C. Chan was elected Treasurer. Chack W. Chan became the first House Manager. George Y. Lee was elected Secretary. Elmer Leong was designated Student Counselor and Charter Historian. As Charter Historian, it was Elmer Leong's responsibility to name the fraternity. In keeping with the traditional practice of using Greek letters for all fraternities, he chose Pi Alpha Phi, which was derived from the initials of a Greek phrase. The group wrote the initial mission: "The Purpose of the Fraternity is to encourage higher scholastic achievements in the Light of Truth, and to promote that Bond of Brotherhood." The Pi Alpha Phi Legacy was Born. The Legacy continues to this day as our alumni remain a vibrant part of our Fraternity's Brotherhood.