National History

National History

Our long-established tradition of brotherhood was established in 1929 at the University of California, Berkeley. The fraternity of Pi Alpha Phi was founded by six unique individuals: D. Wing Tom, Wing Chan, Elmer Leong, Chack Chan, Tim Jang, and George Lee. Wing Chan was elected as the first President of the Fraternity. D. Wing Tom served as the Vice President and Elmer Leong as the Secretary. They wanted to establish an organization that would be based on the bonds of friendship, mutual experience, academic excellence and brotherhood.The name Pi Alpha Phi was derived from the initials of the Greek phrase meaning:

“To advance through brotherly ties; the thirst for learning.”

During this era, traditional Greek fraternities legally discriminated against all men of color. Since they were banned from joining a traditional Greek fraternity, the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that Asian Awareness would always be an important part of the fraternity.

Pi Alpha Phi is the first Asian American interest fraternity. Since the founding of Pi Alpha Phi, our Fraternity has flourished with active chapters at campuses throughout the nation.

Today, the basic premise of the Fraternity remains largely unchanged. With brotherhood as our immutable asset, the lifelong bonds that we develop extend far beyond the university setting. Although the Fraternity is open to individuals of all ethnic backgrounds, it still retains its Asian American character. The basic goals of brotherhood achieved through shared experience, friendship and academic excellence remain unaltered. Although the organization evolves from generation to generation, the underlying vision and heart of the Fraternity is as solid today as it was for six young Berkeley men in 1929.