Phi Iota Alpha (ΦΙΑ), established December 26, 1931, is the oldest Latino fraternity still in existence, and works to motivate people, develop leaders, and create innovative ways to unite the Latino community. The organization has roots that stem back to the late 19th century to the first Latino fraternity, and the first Latino student organization in the United States. The brotherhood is composed of undergraduate, graduate, and professional men committed towards the empowerment of the Latin American community by providing intensive social and cultural programs and activities geared towards the appreciation, promotion and preservation of Latin American culture.
Membership in Phi Iota Alpha is open to all men regardless of race, creed, colour, or national origin who challenge themselves to develop a strong network for the advancement of Latino people. Phi Iota Alpha’s membership includes prominent and accomplished educators, politicians, businessmen, and four former presidents of Latin American countries. Phi Iota Alpha utilizes motifs from the Pan-American revolutionary period and uses images and colours depicting the time of Latin American revolutionaries and thinkers to represent the organization.
Phi Iota Alpha Badge
The origins of Phi Iota Alpha began at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, New York, in 1898. A group of Latin American students organized the Union Hispano Americana (UHΑ) as a cultural and intellectual secret society based on the ideology of Pan-Americanism. The immediate goals of the UHA was to provide a cultural environment for students of Latin America and Spain. The UHA was the first association of Latin American students ever founded in the United States. The UHA expanded to several colleges and universities in the United States; however, due to the secrecy imposed upon its members, not many records were kept.
The expansion and growth of the UHA was based on compromise and the ultimate need of similar organizations to unify and become more powerful. In the Northeastern Province of the United States, a group of Latin American students decided to organize a cultural and intellectual fraternity; as a result Pi Delta Phi (ΠΔΦ) fraternity was founded at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1916. Shortly after its foundation, Pi Delta Phi initiated a search to expand to other colleges and universities where they became aware of the existence of other similar organizations.
Pi Delta Phi established communications with Phi Lambda Alpha (ΦΛA) fraternity, which had been recently founded in 1919, in the Western Province of the United States, at the University of California, Berkeley. After some communication, these two organizations realized the existence of a non-Greek letter secret society, the Union Hispano Americana (UHA). As a result of intensive correspondence and various interviews, the three organizations merged. In their merger agreement, the three organizations adopted the name of Phi Lambda Alpha fraternity, with the distinctive emblem & constitution of Pi Delta Phi, and the goals & motto of the UHA. This new union was formalized on June 11, 1921, in the City of New York.
After ΦΛA was organized, other societies joined it: the “Club Latino-Americano” founded in 1919 at Colorado School of Mines; the “Federación Latino-Americana” founded in 1926 at Columbia University which joined in 1928; the “Club Hispania” founded in 1929 of Cornell University which joined in 1931; the “Club Hispano-Americano” founded in 1921 of Tri State College in Angola which joined in 1929 and the Alfa Tenoxtitlan Militant chapter founded in 1929 made up of members of the old ΦΛA in Mexico.
Meanwhile, in the Southeastern Province of the United States, another similar organization was under development. In 1904, an organization with similar goals as Phi Lambda Alpha was founded under the name “Sociedad Hispano-Americana” at Louisiana State University. In 1912, recognizing the benefit of the disciplinary background of a Greek system, the society transformed itself into Sigma Iota (ΣI) and became the first Latin American–based fraternity in the United States. Between 1912 and 1925, Sigma Iota expanded rapidly in the United States, Central America and Europe. As a result of this, Sigma Iota became the first international Latin American–based fraternity. By 1928, Sigma Iota had lost many of its chapters and therefore sought to stabilize its operations by consolidating its chapters in the United States with a more stationary and well-rooted organization.
Phi Lambda Alpha was seeking to expand throughout the United States and to promote the ideology of Pan Americanism. Sigma Iota Fraternity was in search of revitalizing some of its defunct chapters. Thus both organizations complemented each other and began to work towards the creation of the fraternity now known as Phi Iota Alpha.
In December 1931 in Troy, New York, delegates from Phi Lambda Alpha and Sigma Iota assembled with the objective of forming a unified fraternity to address the needs of Latin American Students in universities in the United States.
On December 26, 1931, the first day of a three-day convention, Phi Iota Alpha was born as both groups agreed to the merger. They resolved to unify under one name, one banner, one organization and one ideal. The next day of business was dedicated to preparing the details of revising the constitution, working on the creation of a shield to represent the newly formed national Latino brotherhood. On December 28, by the end of the three-day convention, the majority of the merger was completed. The last step in the merger was the ratification of some of the chapters of Sigma Iota that were not represented at the convention.
The fraternity was incorporated as a national organization on October 28, 1936, under the laws of the State of Louisiana, under the name and title of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity.
— Read More History on Phi Iota Alpha on Wikipedia
Phi Iota Alpha (ΦIΑ)
- Founded On: December 26th, 1931 – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Type: Social Fraternity
- Colors: Gold, Navy Blue, Red, and White
- Flower: Red Carnation
- Nicknames: Phiota
- Chapters: 51 Chapters, 26 Colonies
- Website: www.phiota.info
- Motto: Semper Parati, Semper Juncti — “Always Prepared, Always Together”