With roots spanning over 100 years, Phi Iota Alpha is a national fraternity that sets itself apart from other organizations through its history and commitment to individual development, leadership, team work and cultural awareness. Established
As an organization whose roots stem back to the late 1800s, we cherish and live by the ideals set forth by our forefathers. Our organization prides itself in the ability to motivate people, develop leaders, and create new ways to unite our community. We challenge ourselves in supporting and developing a strong network for the advancement of our people. To this end, each member swears loyalty not only to himself but also to a greater cause, his people and
The history of Phi Iota Alpha is the history of all Latino college students and professionals who strive to maintain their intellectual heritage alive. Since its inception, when the legendary "Union Hispano Americana" (UHA) was first organized in 1898, the fraternity has upheld its sublime and unique ideological foundation of Pan-Americanism. The ideology of Pan-Americanism can be summarized as the "unification of all the Latin American nations and all Latin American people." The Fraternity has served as an "
Through the years, this prestigious institution has witnessed a number of operational and structural modifications as a form of survival and adaptation to its time. Through it all, Phi Iota Alpha continues to fulfill its distinct goals by uniting its members fraternally in a manner in which, individually and collectively, they will contribute towards the fulfillment of the organization's mission and ideology; fomenting "the scientific study of the social, economical, and political problems of Pan-America;" and serving "as a source of personal growth in which in conjunction with academic preparation, each brother will find an appropriate environment to develop." In short, Phi Iota Alpha has always been, and will continue to be, a source of empowerment for Latinos everywhere.
The First Latino Student Organization
The roots of Phi Iota Alpha were implanted at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI),
In the northeastern part of the
First, Pi Delta Phi established communication with Phi Lambda Alpha Fraternity, which had been recently founded in 1919 at the
Meanwhile, in the southern part of the
Phi Iota Alpha is Born
On December of 1931, the most profound historical event in the history of Latino fraternities took place in
On December 26, 1931, the first day of a three-day convention, Phi Iota Alpha was born as both groups agreed on the merger contract 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, and internal rules and regulations documents. On December 28th, by the end of the three-day convention, most of the merger was completed. Now the last step in the merger was the ratification of some of the chapters of Sigma Iota that were not represented at the convention.
A Changing World
Since that historical unification, Phi Iota Alpha expanded nationally as well as internationally. At the international level, the Fraternity sponsored the 1932 convention in the city of
This union proved efficient in setting forth the ideology of
Pan-Americanism since most of the zones actively and diligently participated in
the name of the ideals. By 1937, the ULA had several well-established and
functional zones including: Phi Kappa Alpha in
It was not until 1945, the outbreak of World War II, that the expansion rate was significantly reduced for Phi Iota Alpha in the
The 1960's proved to be very challenging years for Phi Iota Alpha and all Latinos in general. The effects of a World War II, the Vietnam War, and the "Me" generation resulted in an anti-institutional atmosphere amongst many college students. In addition, this drastically reduced the influx of Latin American students into American universities which hindered potential members. As a result, by 1968, after many years of struggling to adapt to its time, the only active undergraduate chapter at RPI closed the doors of their chapter house. By 1973, the last active Secretary General graduated from RPI, taking with him the Fraternity's official documents and archives. From 1973 to 1983, the Fraternity witnessed a period of inactivity at the undergraduate level. Some efforts were made to re-establish Phi Iota Alpha but these efforts did not bear any fruit. Throughout this period, brothers continued to maintain communication, as well as to accomplishing the mission of the organization. The history, ideals and goals of the Fraternity never diminished. It simply did not have active undergraduate members to cultivate them. Phi Iota Alpha continued to exist within the hearts of many graduate members as they continued to develop their professional lives mostly in Latin American countries and in the
The Lion's Awakening
In 1984, a group of determined young men at RPI, upon learning about the Latino empowerment and culture that once existed on their campus, took the challenge of reviving the spirit of Phi Iota Alpha. In doing so, these courageous young men became the new generation of Phi Iota Alpha. Briefly after the re-establishment of the Fraternity, in an extraordinary session, the last Secretary General instituted the members of the RPI chapter as the Alpha Chapter. In the 1980's the Fraternity dedicated its efforts to rebuilding the organizational infrastructure and to expand to several universities in
The Lion's Reawakening
The Fraternity has been significantly improved and slightly modified to insure its proper functioning and survival well into the 21st century. In 1994, the Fraternity was further improved, as a modified version of "Proposito 21" was accepted and implemented as a set of operational guiding principles, which are still in effect today. The "Proposito" facilitated both the modified organizational infrastructure and a constitutional revision to optimize the Fraternity system.
As of 1996, the Fraternity was looking into the future challenges of the 21st century and adjusted its long-term planning strategies to insure the proper development of the Fraternity beyond the closing of the millennium. Furthermore, by 1997, the Fraternity had four solidly organized Alumni Chapters. By 1998, with a fortified constitution and an operations manual, the Fraternity was duly prepared to begin expansion plans. By the end of 1999, the Fraternity had dramatically grown to triple its size in chapters since 1991. These chapters included active regions in
Today, Phi Iota Alpha commemorates its long history. It is the commemoration of the organization of the UHA as well as the merging of Sigma Iota and Phi Lambda Alpha. Phi Iota Alpha also commemorates the grandiose formation of the ULA, the implementation of the "Universidad Ideologica" the re-foundation and the re-establishment of the organization from the East coast to the West coast. Yet, the Fraternity has had to overcome many obstacles to claim its long and arduous history. As the Fraternity continues to plan for the future, it is of utmost importance to remember that this history was made by men of great vision, leadership, devotion, persistence and most importantly, commitment to the improvement of our "Raza, Joven, Noble y Guerrera."