Lambda Phi Epsilon was founded on February 25, 1981, by principal founder Mr. Craig Ishigo and a group of eighteen other dedicated men on the campus of the University of California of Los Angeles. By forming Lambda Phi Epsilon as a new Asian American fraternity, the founders hoped to set new and higher standards of excellence for all Asian-interest organizations to follow. The goal of the founders was to transcend the limitations to which traditional Asian American organizations were subject to facing. Their vision was that the members would eventually become the leaders of their respective communities and bridge the gaps fragmenting the Asian American community through the affiliation with a common organization. Unknowingly, their efforts had set the stage for the emergence of the largest organization of its kind.
Noting that Asian fraternities and sororities at the UC campuses were recognized only as service organizations due to their memberships focus on specific Asian groups 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 Pacific Americans, 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 an affiliation with a common organization. Master Craig Ishigo and Darryl L. Mu signed the charter as president and vice president, respectively.
The nineteen Founding Fathers of Lambda Phi Epsilon are: Mr. Hunter Chang, Mr. Randy Fujimoto, Mr. John Hanvey, Master Craig Ishigo, Mr. Jeff Kaku, Mr. Bobby Kawai, Mr. Dean Kumagawa, Mr. Jim Lee, Mr. Bruce Mau, Mr. Ted Mihara, Mr. Neil Miyazaki, Mr. Darryl L. Mu, Mr. Kelvin Sakai, Mr. Kevin Shida, Mr. Albert Sun, Mr. Weyton Tam, Mr. Jamie Watanabe, Mr. Bennet Wong, Mr. Fred Wong. Read more about the history of APIA Greeks on the NAPA website.
Not satisfied with the diversity lacking in the traditional Greek community at the University of Washington, founders Arnold Wong, Patrick Patulot, and Stewart Tong decided to create an Asian American fraternity of their own and establish Lambda Phi Epsilon’s first chapter in the Pacific Northwest. After expressing their interest to fraternity’s National Board the spring of 1998, an Interest Group of 12 strong men was soon formed on campus. Upon receiving a national bid to be pledged by Epsilon Chapter of UC Irvine, the twelve students regularly traveled to and from Northern California to learn the values and traditions of the fraternity under the guidance of Ray Hiyoshi, a Lambda at UC Irvine. On the morning of February 14, 1999, the Interest Group crossed as University of Washington’s Colony Charter Class. Within the next four years, the Colony gained Associate status, and finally full Active status as Alpha Zeta Chapter on May 25, 2003. Since then, Alpha Zeta Chapter has crossed over a hundred brothers into the family and the chapter has been reputed for winning numerous step competitions, philanthropic excellence awards, and most recently, Chapter of the Year at National Convention 2013. When the word spread of a new Interest Group forming at a neighboring campus in the summer of 2012, Alpha Zeta Chapter elected to host their new member education process and earnestly crossed their Colony Charter Class at Washington State University on March 24, 2013. Alpha Zeta Chapter plans to expand to additional campuses in the Pacific Northwest in the upcoming biennium.
Since February 14, 1999, Alpha Zeta Chapter has crossed over a hundred brothers into the family. With over a decade of growth and experience, the brothers from the University of Washington have played key roles in the Asian American community on campus. With brothers active in Asian Student Commission organizations such as CSA, CSSA, FASA, HKSA, ISAUW, JSA, KhSA, KSA, KSU, TSA, TOSA, VSA, and more, the fraternity has contributed to the development of current Asian American student organizations. In addition, active brothers are involved in the changing the direction of student leadership on campus through heavy involvement with ASUW, STF, the UW Foundation Board, just to name a few. Lambdas have dominated at the helm of student leadership on campus as past ASC Directors, ASUW Senate Speakers, and UGC Founders and Presidents. The active brothers also find time to fulfill their interests and hobbies in hip hop dancing, public service, athletic training, competitive gaming, audio productions, dating, photography, poker, hiking, etc. Lambda Phi Epsilon was the first ever Asian American fraternity to be established on the University of Washington campus in Seattle and continues to set high standards for brotherhood, leadership, and philanthropy for other Asian interest fraternities that followed.