Pi Alpha Phi
FoundedFebruary 1, 1929; 95 years ago (1929-02-01)
UC Berkeley
TypeCultural interest
AffiliationNAPA (former)
EmphasisAsian American
Motto"A Tradition of Excellence Since 1929"
PillarsAcademic excellence, Asian awareness, brotherhood, leadership, and philanthropy
ColorsBerkeley Blue  
California Gold  
SymbolBrotherhood Links
PhilanthropyJade Ribbon Campaign
NicknameP-A-Phi's, Pineapples
HeadquartersIndianapolis, Indiana 46230
United States

Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc. (ΠΑΦ, also Pi Alpha Phi or PAPhi) was an American university-level fraternity. It was founded in 1929 at the University of California, Berkeley. On August 1, 2023, Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity announced that it was closing all of its chapters. At the time, it was the oldest active Asian-American interest fraternity in the United States. It was a founding member of the National APIDA Panhellenic Association.



When Pi Alpha Phi was founded in the 1920s, traditional Greek letter fraternities along with the rest of the nation, legally discriminated against men of color.[1] In 1928, Wing C. Chan, Dong Wing Tom, and Elmer Leong, members of the class of 1930 at the University of California, Berkeley, had the idea to start a fraternity for the several hundred students of Chinese descent.[2] Six students signed the fraternity's charter in both Chinese and English, officially establishing Pi Alpha Phi on February 1, 1929.[3][2]

The six founders of Pi Alpha Phi were D. Wing Tom, Wing Chan, Elmer Leong, Chack Chan, Tim Jang, and George Lee.[3][2] All were born in America except Wing Chan, who came from China at an early age.[3] Wing Chan became the fraternity's first president.

Because they were banned from joining traditional Greek letter fraternities, Pi Alpha Phi's founding fathers wanted to ensure that Asian-American awareness would be an important part of the fraternity.[1] The fraternity encouraged its members to learn Asian-American culture, heritage, and history and to share this knowledge with others. In its later years, the basic premise of the fraternity remained largely unchanged.[1] The fraternity was open to people of all ethnic backgrounds but retained its Asian-American character.[1]


The local fraternity became national with the addition of its Beta chapter at the Stony Brook University in 1990.[4] This was followed by Gamma chapter at University of California, Davis that same year.[4] More chapters followed in California and Michigan through 2000.[4] The fraternity's first annual convention was hosted by the Epsilon chapter in Arcadia, California in 2000.

The fraternity continued to charter chapters, expanding into Arizona, North Carolina, and Washington.[4] Pi Alpha Phi was a founding member of the National APIDA Panhellenic Association in 2005.[5][6] In 2014, Pi Alpha Phi had active ten chapters, one associate chapter, and six colonies.[1] It was headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.[7]

Scandals and dissolution

In July 2020, the National Board of Directors placed a national moratorium on chapter activities in response to "multiple reports of sexual misconduct nationwide."[8][9] The moratorium was lifted but, a pledge, Phat Nguyen, died and three others were hospitalized after a hazing incident at Michigan State University on November 19, 2021.[10][11][12][13][14] Nine fraternity members were charged in connection with the death.[11] In June 2023, the family of the deceased student filed a wrongful death suit against the fraternity.[10]

On August 1, 2023, Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity announced the closure of all of its collegiate chapters.[15][10] The fraternity said that its chapters were unsustainable because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, declining university enrollment, and financial pressures.[15] Not all chapters agreed with this decision. Some chapters attempted to stay open or tried to start a new organization; although, the former was prohibited by the national fraternity.[10][15] At the time of its closure, Pi Alpha Phi was the oldest active Asian-American interest fraternity in the United States.[1]

The National APIDA Panhellenic Association removed Pi Alpha Phi from its membership roles on October 13, 2023.[10][6] NAPA said, "Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc. has contributed to the vibrant Greek life on campuses nationwide and served as a chartering organization of  NAPA in 2005. Their dedication to fostering academic excellence, Asian American awareness, brotherhood, leadership, and philanthropy has left a lasting mark on our fraternity and sorority community."[6] Some of the fraternity's materials are archived at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.[1]


The name Pi Alpha Phi was derived from the initials of the Greek phrase meaning "To advance through brotherly ties; the thirst for learning." The colors of Pi Alpha Phi were Berkeley Blue and California Gold.[16] Its mascot was the phoenix. Its symbol was the Brotherhood Links.[17] The five pillars of the fraternity were academic excellence, Asian awareness, brotherhood, leadership, and philanthropy.[18][19] Its motto is "A tradition of excellence since 1929".[20][17] The group's nicknames were PAPhi and Pineapples.[21][17]


From the mid-1980s to 2002, Pi Alpha Phi participated in the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, operating the “Pi Alpha Phi Dragon”.[22]

The fraternity awarded the annual Herbert Gee Scholarship, named in honor of an Alpha chapter founder.[23] The scholarship was funded by alumni and was award to an active member of the fraternity.[24]

The fraternity's national philanthropy was the Jade Ribbon Campaign which promoted hepatitis awareness and discussed the health disparity between Asian Americans and white Americans.[25] Chapters also supported charities in their local, such Habitat for Humanity and Christmas charities for children.[25]


Following is a list of the former Pi Alpha Phi collegiate chapters.[4][15][26][27]

Chapter Charter date

and range

Institution City State Status References
Alpha February 1, 1929 – April 25, 2005; 200x ? – 2013 University of California, Berkeley Berkeley California Inactive [28][29][30][a]
Beta 1990–1992 Stony Brook University Stony Brook New York Inctive
Gamma May 1, 1990 – August 2012 University of California, Davis Davis California Inactive [31][b]
Delta 1991 – January 23, 2003 San Jose State University San Jose California Inactive [32][33][c]
Epsilon 1993–2012 University of California, Riverside Riverside California Inactive [21][d]
Zeta March 5, 1995 – 2021 University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz California Inactive [34][e]
Eta September 16, 1998 – 2011; 2016–2022 University of California, Irvine Irvine California Inactive [35][f]
Theta August 20, 2000 – August 1, 2023 University of California, San Diego La Jolla California Inactive [36]
Iota 2000–2023 University of Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan Inactive [37]
Kappa November 11, 2002 – August 1, 2023 University of Arizona Tucson Arizona Inactive [25][38]
Lambda Inactive
Mu 2003 – December 5, 2021 Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan Inactive [15][39][g]
Nu 2003–before August 2022 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina Inactive
Xi 2004 – August 1, 2023 University of Washington Seattle Washington Inactive
Omicron 2006 – March 22, 2023 University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara California Inactive [40][h]
Pi 2011 – August 1, 2023 University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa Inactive
Rho January 19, 2013 – before August 2022 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte North Carolina Inactive [41][42][i]
Sigma 2013 – October 29, 2018 Northwestern University Evanston Illinois Inactive [43][j]
Tau 2016–before August 2022 North Carolina State University Raleigh North Carolina Inactive [44][45][k]
Upsilon 2012 – August 1, 2023 San Francisco State University San Francisco California Inactive
Phi 2014–before August 2022 Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania Inactive
Chi June 15, 2017 – August 1, 2023 Clemson University Clemson South Carolina Inactive [46][l]
Psi 2019 – August 1, 2023 Iowa State University Ames Iowa Inactive [47][m]
Alpha Alpha 2020–20xx ?; March 2018 – August 1, 2023 University of Buffalo Buffalo New York Inactive [48][26]
20xx ?– before August 2022 University Nevada, Las Vegas Paradise Nevada Inactive [49][n]
20xx ?– before August 2022 University of Delaware Newark New Jerey Inactive [50][o]
20xx ?– before August 2022 University of Maryland, College Park College Park Maryland Inactive [p]
Colony Arizona State University Tempe Arizona Inactive [15][q]
Colony University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro North Carolina Inactive [51][r]
Colony University of South Carolina Columbia South Carolina Inactive [16][52][s]
  1. ^ In April 2005, the university placed the chapter on temporary suspension for hazing. In July 2005, the university made the suspension official, banning the chapter from campus until July 2006. In 2013, the chapter was suspended by the national fraternity.
  2. ^ In August 2012, the university banned the fraternity for at least five years after incidents involving providing false information, serving alcohol to minors, and hazing. The national fraternity revoked the chapter's charter in September 2012. However, the chapter continued to operate sub rosa after this date.
  3. ^ The university expelled the fraternity for at least ten years after it brawled with another fraternity in January 2002, resulting in the stabbing death of a student. The chapter was recolonized in 2012.
  4. ^ The university banned the chapter for hazing and failure to comply with university sanctions.
  5. ^ The university dismissed the chapter for risk management violations including hazing.
  6. ^ The national fraternity pulled the chapter's charter in the spring of 2022.
  7. ^ Chapter was suspended for a minimum of ten years, by the national fraternity and the university, following the hazing death of a pledge.
  8. ^ The national fraternity closed the chapter.
  9. ^ Chapter started In the spring of 2011 as BIGAPE, which stands for Brotherhood Interest Group Asian Pi Alpha Phi Expansion. It became an official colony in the fall of 2012.
  10. ^ The university suspended the chapter for three years for violating alcohol policies, including serving alcohol to minors. Before being suspended, the chapter had been placed on probation two times in two years.
  11. ^ Chapter started as a colony in June 2011 and was chartered in 2016.
  12. ^ Chapter started as a colony on April 15, 2017.
  13. ^ Chapter was created as a colony in 2014.
  14. ^ Formed as a colony on November 17, 2013.
  15. ^ Formed as a colony in 2014.
  16. ^ Formed as a colony in 2018.
  17. ^ Formed as a colony in 2014 or 2015.
  18. ^ Formed as a colony in the spring of 2019. It was a co-ed chapter.
  19. ^ Formed as a colony in October 2021.

Alumni clubs

The fraternity had alumni clubs in the United States and Asia.[53]

United States Asia

Notable members

Member and chapter misconduct

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Pi Alpha Phi Archives – Student Life and Culture Archives". University of Illinois Library. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  2. ^ a b c "Pi Alpha Phi History". UMCP Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c "Founders Day 2021". Pi Alpha Phi. 2021-02-01. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e Lurding, Carroll and Becque, Fran. (January 10, 2024) "Pi Alpha Phi". Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities. Urbana: University of Illinois. Accessed March 19, 2024.
  5. ^ "History". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  6. ^ a b c Shah, Suhani (2023-10-15). "NAPA Announces Departure of Pi Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc". National APIDA Panhellenic Association. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  7. ^ "Leadership". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  8. ^ Jandu, Priya (September 16, 2020). "Multiple UA fraternities under investigation after violating code of conduct". The Daily Wildcat. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  9. ^ Chong, Jenny (2020-07-15). "The Asian Greek Life community's role in rape culture and misogyny". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Fox-Million, Emily (February 1, 2024). Michalak, Katrina; Sadie, Buggle; Learmonth, Caera (eds.). "Update: Former members of disbanded frat look to start fresh in new organization". The Arizona State Press. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  11. ^ a b c McCarthy, Owen (February 9, 2024). "Seven additional individuals charged in connection to 2021 MSU fraternity hazing death". The State News. Michigan State University, East Lansing. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  12. ^ "Michigan State University suspends frat in wake of student's death". ABC News.
  13. ^ "MSU fraternity death after induction party where 4 students passed out brings suspension". www.deadlinedetroit.com. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  14. ^ "Alcohol is lead contributor in death of MSU student Phat Nguyen, autopsy reports". Alcohol is lead contributor in death of MSU student Phat Nguyen, autopsy reports - The State News. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Chapter Locations". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  16. ^ a b "2022-2023 Guide to Fraternity and Sorority Life" (PDF). University of South Carolina. 2022. p. 22.
  17. ^ a b c "Pi Alpha Phi". discoverdgc. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  18. ^ "National Constitution" (PDF). Pi Alpha Phi National Fraternity. January 15, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Pillars". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  20. ^ "Pi Alpha Phi || "A Tradition of Excellence Since 1929"". Greek Graduate. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  21. ^ a b "Overview of Non-Recognized Organizations | Student Life". University of California, Riverside. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  22. ^ Pi Alpha Phi New Years Parade, retrieved 2024-03-20 – via YouTube
  23. ^ "2022 Herbert Gee Memorial Scholarship Winner". Pi Alpha Phi. 2022-08-17. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  24. ^ "Herbert Gee Scholarship Applications Now Open". Pi Alpha Phi. 2020-05-20. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  25. ^ a b c Lopera, Natalia (February 17, 2006). ""New gay, Asian fraternities secure campus recognition"". The Daily Wildcat. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  26. ^ a b "Chapters". Clemson University Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  27. ^ "Chapter Locations". Pi Alpha Phi. Archived from the original on 2022-08-20. Retrieved 2024-03-20 – via web.archive.org.
  28. ^ "Find A Chapter | Student Leadership & Engagement". University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  29. ^ "UC Berkeley fraternity placed on interim suspension | News Archive". University of California, Berkeley. April 25, 2005. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  30. ^ Bulwa, Demian (July 5, 2005). "UC Berkeley Fraternity Suspended After Hazing". SF Gate. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  31. ^ "Organizational Conduct". University of California, Davis. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  32. ^ a b c Glionna, John M.; O'Connell, Chris (2003-01-24). "Fraternity Brawl Prompts Rebuke". The Los Angeles Times. pp. B1, B11. Retrieved 2024-03-19 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ a b c "Universiety Says Fraternities in Brawl Will Be Suspended". The Sacramento Bee. 2003-01-24. p. 5. Retrieved 2024-03-19 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ "List of Greek Organizations | Student Organization Advising & Resources". University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  35. ^ "UCI Sorority & Fraternity Life | Chapters". University of California, Irvine. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  36. ^ "Pi Alpha Phi History". San Diego Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  37. ^ "History". UofM Chapter Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  38. ^ "Meet the Chapters | Fraternity & Sorority Programs". University of Arizona. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  39. ^ a b Weber, Jacob (2021-12-05). "Fraternity Suspended at MSU After Death". Lansing State Journal. pp. A1. Retrieved 2024-03-19 – via Newspapers.com.
  40. ^ "Chapter Status Reports | Student Engagement & Leadership". University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  41. ^ Change, Ronald (2013-02-08). "Rho Chapter Announcement". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  42. ^ "History". UNC-Charlotte Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  43. ^ Cook, Cameron (2018-11-27). "Pi Alpha Phi suspended for three years following alcohol policy violation NU Pi Alpha Phi chapter suspended for policy violation on Dillo Day". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  44. ^ "Pi Alpha Phi colonizes at North Carolina State University". Pi Alpha Phi. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  45. ^ Chang, Ronald (2016-02-07). "Tau Chapter Announcement". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  46. ^ "Chi Chapter Announcement". Pi Alpha Phi. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  47. ^ "Psi Chapter Announcement". Pi Alpha Phi. 2019-06-25. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  48. ^ "University at Buffalo Re-Charter". Pi Alpha Phi. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  49. ^ "Chapter History". Pi Alpha Phi UNLV Colony. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  50. ^ "Pi Alpha Phi - Home". University of Delaware. 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2024-03-19 – via web.archive.org.
  51. ^ "Everything You Need To Know About UNCG Fraternity Life". Spartan Crossing. 2022-12-22. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  52. ^ Hinkle, Addison (March 13, 2022). "Asian-interest fraternity comes to USC, builds community around Asian interests". The Daily Gamecock at University of South Carolina. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  53. ^ "Alumni Clubs". Pi Alpha Phi. Retrieved 2024-03-19.
  54. ^ Alumni Spotlight Evan Jackson Leong
  55. ^ a b Torbenson, Craig LaRon; Parks, Gregory (2009). Brothers and Sisters: Diversity in College Fraternities and Sororities. Associated University Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8386-4194-1 – via Google Books.
  56. ^ "Calif. Fraternity Brawl Ends in Fatal Stabbing". The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, North Carolina. 2003-01-23. p. 5. Retrieved 2024-03-20 – via Newspaper.com.
  57. ^ Hu, Winnie (October 12, 2015). "Hazing and Drinking Deaths at Asian-American Fraternities Raise Concerns". The New York Times. pp. A1. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  58. ^ a b Palmer, Ken; Mencarini, Matt (2024-02-12). "Charges Grow in MSU Frat Party Death". Detroit Free Press. pp. A2, A7. Retrieved 2024-03-19 – via Newspapers.com.
  59. ^ "Attorney Objects to Statute in Hazing Case (pt. 1)". Lansing State Journal. 2024-02-18. pp. A1, A2. Retrieved 2024-03-19 – via Newspapers.com.