Lambda Phi Epsilon was founded on February 25, 1981 by a group of nineteen dedicated men led by Principal Founder Master Craig Ishigo. The goal of the founders was to transcend the limitations faced by traditional Asian-interest organizations on campus. While these organizations were often split along lines of national origins, the founders sought an establishment that drew its membership equally from the different segments of the Asian American community. Their vision was that the members would eventually become the leaders of their respective ethnic communities, and thus, bridge the gaps fragmenting the Asian American community through their affiliation with a common organization.
The greatest hurdle in reaching this goal of unification was the lack of continuity among the memberships inherent in traditional campus organizations. At best, student associations provided a circle of friends spanning the years of undergraduate study, and at worst, a group of familiar strangers meeting periodically at 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. The founders’ solution to this dilemma was the adoption of a fraternal structure. By forming Lambda Phi Epsilon as a new Asian-interest fraternity, they aimed to set new standards of excellence for Asian American organizations. The brothers not only formed strong bonds of brotherhood with each other during their undergraduate experience but also made lifelong commitments to the organization as alumni even after graduation.
While the initial charter was comprised of Asian Pacific Americans, the brotherhood was open to all who were interested in supporting these goals. Establishing Alpha Chapter at UCLA, Mr. Craig Ishigo and Mr. Darryl L. Mu signed the charter as President and Vice President, respectively.
On May 28th, 1990, the fraternity, now with six chapters total, convened on the campus of the University of California, Irvine for the first annual National Convention, which to this day has been held regularly over Memorial Day weekend. A national governing body was established to oversee the development of individual chapters and the fraternity as a whole, with Mr. Robert Mimaki of Beta Chapter, Mr. Eric Naritomi of Epsilon Chapter, and Mr. Doug Nishida of Delta Chapter appointed as National President, Northern Governor and Southern Governor, respectively.
On September 8th, 1990, Lambda Phi Epsilon reached another milestone and became the first and only nationally recognized Asian-interest fraternity in the United States with the admission to the National Interfraternity Conference. In 2004, Lambda Phi Epsilon expanded as an international fraternity by chartering its first chapter outside of the United States at the University of Toronto. In 2006, Lambda Phi Epsilon joined the National Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Panhellenic Association to increase collaboration and partnership between fellow APIDA Greek organizations.
Today, Lambda Phi Epsilon is widely renowned as the preeminent international Asian-interest fraternal organization, providing outstanding leadership, philanthropy, and advocacy in the community.