Ethnic fraternities first developed as a result of the need to share and celebrate diversity of cultural experiences. In 1916, the first Asian fraternity was founded at Cornell as Rho Psi, which now exists as an alumni club with chapters in New York, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Hong Kong. While the concept of brotherhood and unity isn't new, our dedication and commitment towards promoting it is. A new dynasty has arrived- here's our story...
Traditional Asian campus organizations were often split along lines of national origins. The lack of continuity among the memberships in those organizations meant that at best, student associations provided a circle of friends spanning the years of undergraduate study and at worst, a group of familiar strangers encountered during periodic social functions. The yearly turnover of most organizations' officers made it extremely difficult to pursue any extended project as each new officer core set its own agenda. A solution to this dilemma was the adoption of a fraternal social structure.
Not satisfied with the single Asian fraternity on the campus of University of California, Los Angeles, Lambda Phi Epsilon was founded on February 25, 1981, by principal founder Mr. Craig Ishigo and a group of eighteen other dedicated men. Noticing that Asian fraternities and sororities at the UC campuses were recognized as only service organizations due to their memberships focused on Asians and to the exclusion of other ethnic groups, the goal of the founders was to transcend this limitation. The founders hoped to set new and higher standards of excellence for all Asian-interest organizations to follow, while feeling a need to offer a fraternity that would be recognized by the IFC and the Greek system. While the original charter focused on Asian-Pacifics, people from all ethnic backgrounds were welcome to join and support the brotherhood of Lambda Phi Epsilon. Their vision was that the members would eventually become the leaders of their respective communities and bridge the gaps that divided the Asian American community through the affiliation with a common organization. Mr. Craig Ishigo and Darryl L. Mu signed the charter as president and vice-president, respectively.
|THE FOUNDERS OF LAMBDA PHI EPSILON|
|Mr. Craig Ishigo|
|Mr. Hunter Chang||Mr. Neil Miyazaki|
|Mr. Randy Fujimoto||Mr. Darryl L. Mu|
|Mr. John Hanvey||Mr. Kelvin Sakai|
|Mr. Jeff Kaku||Mr. Kevin Shida|
|Mr. Bobby Kawai||Mr. Albert Sun|
|Mr. Dean Kumagawa||Mr. Weyton Tam|
|Mr. Jim Lee||Mr. Jamie Watanabe|
|Mr. Bruce Mau||Mr. Bennett Wong|
|Mr. Ted Mihara||Mr. Fred Wong|
Unknowingly, their efforts had set the stage for the emergence of the largest organization of its kind. Lambda Phi Epsilon now stands as the only internationally recognized Asian American Interest Fraternity in the world with 48 chapters and more than 5,000 brothers.
Lambda Phi Epsilon continues to establish and perpetuate Brotherhood and fellowship among its members. Part of that Brotherhood is expressed in our motto "To be Leaders Among Men." We not only seek to bring together a diverse group of men who share interests, concerns, backgrounds and cultures, but who believe that the strength of many are forged into the power of being one.
Grounded on the principles of wisdom, honor, and courage; our Active Division continues to teach young men principles of leadership and strong moral character. Our Alumni Division then provides a forum in which brothers may apply these beliefs and become true leaders of society. It is that unique life long commitment to lead in every arena of life that makes "the Lambdas" the most respected organization of it's kind.
On May 28, 1990 , all six chapters met on the campus of UC Irvine for what came to be known as the first National Convention. At this Convention, a national governing body was established to coordinate the individual chapters' efforts. The first order of business was to designate Memorial Day weekend as the official date for the annual convention of Lambda Phi Epsilon National. At this time, Mr. Robert Mimaki from Beta Chapter was elected as the first National President. Eric Naritomi was appointed Southern Governor, while Doug Nishida was appointed Northern Governor. Other accomplishments included the establishment of a national policy, an expansion policy, and an agreement to standardize pledge programs.
On September 8, 1990 , Lambda Phi Epsilon became the first and only nationally recognized Asian-American interest fraternity in the United States with the admission to the National Inter-fraternity Conference (NIC).
Over the next few years, Lambda Phi Epsilon National had grown tremendously. Between the years 1990 and 1995, Lambda Phi Epsilon increased in size to over twenty chapters. In 1995, we became a California non-profit corporation changing our name to Lambda Phi Epsilon National Fraternity, Inc. Once again, the first Asian Interest Fraternity to do so.
Philanthropy is an important aspect of Lambda Phi Epsilon. Giving back to the community is something we strive to do. The signature philanthropic event of Lambda Phi Epsilon is the annual registering drive for the Asian American Donor Program (AADP). This helps promote awareness for leukemia and other blood disorders, whose patients require bone marrow transplants. Their best hope for matched donors are those within their Asian community. The more people that register, the better the chances of finding a match for those in need.
Along with AADP, Lambda Phi Epsilon works with other organizations to register potential donors across the country, including Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches and the Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation. Although the registration of potential donors is the fraternity's national philanthropy, it is also active in many other charitable causes from annual AIDS Walks to beach clean ups to cultural events promoting Asian awareness and diversity.
We, the members of Lambda Phi Epsilon National Fraternity, strive to promote Asian American Awareness in our surrounding communities through the promotion of Asian American interest activities. Such events, include philanthropic causes, educating the community, and preserving Asian American culture.
Since our inception, Lambda Phi Epsilon's goals have been to exemplify the highest standards of Academic Performance, Social Experience, Service to the Community, and most importantly Brotherhood among its members.
By 1990, six chapters had formed at the University of California at: Los Angeles, Davis, Santa Barbara, Berkeley, Irvine, and the University of Texas at Austin. As most of these chapters were founded in the late eighties, it became evident to the brothers of Lambda Phi Epsilon that rapid expansion loomed near. In order to facilitate this process of expansion and to seek standardization throughout the nation, these six chapters came together to form what is known as Lambda Phi Epsilon National Fraternity.
Seeking recognition from the National Inter-fraternity Conference (NIC), the pioneers of the fraternity met in Davis. Representatives from all chapters convened and discussed what needed to be done. Having met the minimum requirements of five chapters and five years of existence, all that needed to be done was to draft a national constitution. The brothers at this meeting also laid the groundwork for the first National Convention.
According to Doug Nishida of Delta Chapter, this is how it happened:
"Lambda Phi Epsilon's reputation was fast growing as evidenced by a phone call during my chapter's second year (1989). An interest group from Buffalo, NY had inquired about the fraternity and possible affiliation. Unfortunately, we were unprepared to assist the group because of our limited resources and lack of proximity. Thus nothing came to fruition. So it was with great satisfaction that I learned the group was still interested in affiliating with Lambda Phi Epsilon a couple of years later. The Texas chapter independently contacted Craig Ishigo and received their charter. Michigan soon followed as some of their Founders befriended a group of Stanford brothers aboard the infamous Love Boat."