Phi Sigma Alpha
|Phi Sigma Alpha|
|Founded||October 22, 1928
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
|Motto||Caballeros Ante Todo|
|Maxim||Omne Rarum Carum|
|Headquarters||Calle Méjico, Esquina Chile
Hato Rey, PR, Puerto Rico
Phi Sigma Alpha Fraternity (ΦΣΑ) ((Spanish) Fi Sigma Alfa) commonly known as La Sigma, is a Puerto Rican fraternity established originally as the Sigma Delta Alpha Fraternity (Sociedad de Amigos) on October 22, 1928 at the University of Puerto Rico by 12 students and a professor. Phi Sigma Alpha can trace its roots back to 1898 to the Union Hispano Americana, as well as to the first ever Greek letter Hispanic-oriented fraternity Sigma Iota established in 1912. By 1998 there were over 4,376 members.
Phi Sigma Alpha traces its origins to a number of organizations including Phi Lamba Alpha. Phi Lambda Alpha fraternity was founded at the University of California, at Berkeley in 1919. The fraternity was a merger of three societies; the Unión Hispano Americana at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York founded in 1898, the first Latin-American student society in the USA; Pi Delta Phi Fraternity at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) founded in 1916; and Phi Lambda Alpha Fraternity founded in 1919 at the University of California, Berkeley. 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.
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.
Sigma Iota Fraternity was founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on March 2, 1912 previously known as the Sociedad Hispano Americana, which was founded in the University of Louisiana in 1904. Between 1912 and 1925, Sigma Iota expanded rapidly in the United States, South America, and Europe. As a result of this, Sigma Iota became the first international Latin American-based fraternity. Sigma Iota and Phi Lambda Alpha joined and became Phi Iota Alpha in 1931. In 1932, Phi Iota Alpha reorganized and formed the Union Latino Americana as its overall governing body, dividing their member fraternities in Latin America into zones in accordance to the country which they represented.
The Sigma 1928-1934
Sigma Delta Alpha fraternity, was established by 12 students and a professor on October 22, 1928 at the University of Puerto Rico at 4:00pm at the Glorieta Fabián. The founding members included: Santos P. Amadeo (professor of Law) , Juan Figueroa, Fernando Jiménez, Hugo D. Storer, Joaquin Velilla, Victor M. Sánchez, Adalberto Carrasquillo, Diego Guerrero Noble, Samuel L. Rodríguez, José Laracuente, Charles H. Juliá, Gilberto del Valle and Gilberto Alemar.
Originally the name Kappa Delta Alpha was considered but it was quickly changed to Sigma Delta Alpha. By December 5, 1928 they established their Chapter House where they began celebrating their meetings.
Sigma Delta Alpha enjoyed for many years certain supremacy over the other student organizations at the University. Their membership included four of the most important student leadership positions at the university: the Yearbook editor, the senior class president, the Athletic Society President, and the ROTC Battalion Commander. Every activity sponsored by the administration was consulted with the chapter president of Río Piedras. In 1929 the Beta Chapter at the Colegio de Mayagüez (University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez) was established; thus the original chapter became known as Alpha.
The union 1934 - 1939
Phi Sigma Alpha had its first reorganization with the merger between the Alpha Boriquen Militant Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha and Sigma Delta Alpha of the University of Puerto Rico in 1934. The Puerto Rican zone came to be when the Alpha Boriquen Militant Chapter was founded in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 4, 1934 by former members of Phi Iota Alpha.
|You may listen to the "Farola" and "Brindis Sigma" with an introduction by José Miguel Agrelot here|
Under these conditions expressed above, a movement came about to unite Sigma Delta Alpha with the Alpha Boriquen Militant Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha. It was not an easy task, since many of the members of Sigma Delta Alpha did not want that change or to alter their history. But the decision was made and thus the Phi Sigma Alpha Zone of the Union Latino Americana came to be . A "Zone Directive" was created and a constitution was drafted, since there was no central body to control the fraternity. By 1937, the ULA had several well-established and functional zones including:
- ΦIA - Phi Iota Alpha in the United States
- ΦKA - Phi Kappa Alpha in Cuba
- ΦΣA - Phi Sigma Alpha in Puerto Rico
- ΦTA - Phi Tau Alpha in Mexico
On January 7 and 8 of 1938 the last ULA Convention was held. Delegates of the United States, Cuba and the Puerto Rico zones were present. Sadly an agreement could not be reached over the ideals of the fraternity. After the convention, each zone considered the matter independently. The USA zone decided that the ideals of the ULA to be Pan-Americanism (The unification of Latin America by a system of confederacy) and demanded that the members of the Fraternity be pro-independence when it came to Puerto Rico, the Cuban zone was undecided and therefore they followed the USA zone.
Puerto Rico refused this decision because it considered the introduction of political affairs to be unnecessary and also detrimental to the fraternity. Thus on September 25, 1938, the Phi Sigma Alpha Zone withdrew from the Union Latino Americana. The ULA dissolved shortly after.
The era of growth 1939 -1964
Like the members of the Sigma, a majority of the members of the Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha of the University of Louisiana disillusioned with character given to their brotherhood decided to separate, founding in April 1939 Sigma Iota Alpha  fraternity composed of Latin students of this university. As it was to be expected this new grouping was received with distrust by the other Latin fraternal organizations at the university. Being that Phi Sigma Alpha was organized in Puerto Rico with ideals similar to those of the Sigma Iota Alpha in Louisiana, and being both organizations the product of almost identical preceding brotherhoods, negotiations arose immediately to fuse both brotherhoods into a single one. This was decided in a convention celebrated on September 10, 1939 in the University Puerto Rico, organizing themselves as Fraternidad Sigma or (Sigma Fraternity) with its ramifications; Phi Sigma Alpha Zone in Puerto Rico and Sigma Iota Alpha Zone in Louisiana (Later the USA Zone's name was changed to Phi Sigma Beta Zone and came to include other universities of the north).
The Phi Sigma Alpha Zone was organized by a board of directors of the zone, the Militant chapter Alpha Boriquén of San Juan, and two university chapters, one at U.P.R. Río Piedras and another one in the C.A.A.M. of Mayagüez. Years later the militant chapters of Ponce and Mayagüez were organized.
The Sigma Iota Alpha Zone (Phi Sigma Beta) was composed by Alpha chapter in the University of Louisiana. In 1941, the Beta chapter in the city of Baltimore, Maryland was organized; composed of students of the nearby universities (Georgetown, University of Maryland, University of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, George Washington, etc.).
The years demonstrated the increasing difficulty to maintain a zone in the United States and to pretend that it worked as well as the one of Puerto Rico. A reformist movement arose abroad that culminated in 1964 with the establishment of the Phi Sigma Alpha Fraternity (Fi Sigma Alfa in Spanish) composed of active and militant chapters that can be found in Puerto Rico, in the United States or abroad. Therefore the Zones were eliminated.
The era of progress and adaptations 1964 -
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Phi Sigma Alpha
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The baby boom era of the post war years and the economic development of the island was at its peak, thus it was reflected in its universities. The Puerto Rican youth registered in great numbers, thus the Fraternity, which acted as the suppliers of the union between its young people and an escape from arduous studies, also offered student housing. The Sigma enjoyed during next the two decades extensive enrollment in the original chapters and the new ones that were beginning to develop. Approaching the 1980s, the "baby boom" began to decline drastically only to resurge at the end of same decade and continuing until the beginnings of the 1990s.
The 1990s, brought with them an arduous persecution towards fraternities, partly motivated by the death of two young cadets of the quasi-fraternal group the "Panthers" of the ROTC in the CAAM, and also a damages lawsuit perpetrated against another island fraternity. This brought forth a law, which can be found in Article 125 of the New Puerto Rico Penal Code, to control the initiation processes or "hazing" and to protect candidates. The Sigma Brotherhood that since 1959 had prohibited in its processes the use of the "Pledge Padle" is proud to have been the first again in prohibiting acts against the physical and mental dignity of the neophyte, even before the Article 125 was enacted.
The Sigma has continued its emphasis throughout the years on the areas of community and social work by its active and militant chapters which always take part in blood drives and fund raising activities for different organizations. The Sigma Scholarship Program or ("Beca Sigma" in Spanish) program has been re-established and promises to offer young Puerto Ricans of scarce resources the opportunity to receive University studies.
The fraternity's highest administrative body is the "Junta de Directores" or Board of Directors. This body is composed of two groups, the first being the "Comité Ejecutivo Central" or Central Executive Committee which includes the fraternity president, vice president and others. The second group is composed by the regional presidents, and by the presidents and secretaries of all the fraternity chapters alumni and active. All members have equal vote. The Board of Directors meets several times a year when it is convened by the fraternity president. As of 2010 there are six regions with the ones in Puerto Rico named after their main city; San Juan Region, Guayama Region, Ponce Region, Arecibo Region, Mayagüez Region, and the USA Region based in Florida.
Fi Sigma Alfa's main headquarters are located in Mexico Street, Chile corner in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. The offices are located in the Alpha Boriquen Chapter's Club House, it is called the Casa Club Sigma. Its restaurant has operated since 1968. Its activities halls can be rented for meetings and events and are used by many organizations. The Club house has two main activities halls and two smaller ones, they can all be opened up to create one big one or used individually.
There is also a bar/restaurant area reserved for fraternity members and their guest called Vales Place a combination on a digital door lock is needed to enter that area. In the back of the Casa Club Sigma is a Basketball court and there used to be a swimming pool but it has been paved over. The main offices of the fraternity are on the second floor of the building. Also on the back is the Pub Sigma which is used by the Alfa Omega Activo chapter for their meetings and social events.
The Sigma Foundation or "Fundación Sigma" is a non profit organization, established to offer to the Puerto Rican youth of limited resources or those who have academically excellent records, the opportunity to cover part of their university studies expense and others costs. Through different fraternity activities, planned in order to raise funds, the organization looks to always maintain a healthful economical level, thus to be able to fulfill their philanthropic intentions.
The fraternity collaborates and contributes to different organizations, mainly to the "Fondita de Jesus", the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and "Centro Espibi" in Mayagüez. Different golf tournaments have been held to raise fund for charity. The Beta Boriquen chapter coordinates one such tournament with the Mayagüez Rotary Club.
The fraternity has both University and Alumni Chapters. The University chapters are named by a Greek letter (depending on order of founding) followed by the word "Activo" which means Active in Spanish. The Alumni chapters follow the same concept except instead of the word "Activo" they are called "Boriquén". Brothers in Active chapters are called "Activos" and alumni Brothers are called "Militantes" or militants in Spanish. Yet all Brothers call each other Sigmas.
|Alfa-Omega Activo [Notes]||University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras|
|Alfa Boriquén||San Juan|
|Beta Activo||University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez|
|Delta Activo||Inter American University at San Germán|
|Epsilon Activo [Notes]||Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico|
|Omicrón Activo||University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla|
|Gamma Activo||Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico|
|Zeta Activo||University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo|
|Omega Boriquén||San Germán|
- * AΩ-Activo Chapter was originally two Chapters located in SJ, PR. the first was A-Activo at UPR Río Piedras and Ω-Activo at Inter American U at SJ, both chapters merged.
- * Epsilon Activo Chapter was originally at UPR, Medical Sciences Campus, yet after years of inactivity it was re-opened in 2007 at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico
|United States and Mexico
|Alpha Columbia Boriquen||Washington, D.C.|
|Epsilon Columbia Activo||Miami, Florida|
|Epsilon Columbia Boriquén||Miami, Florida|
|Omega Columbia Activo||Orlando, Florida|
|Omega Columbia Boriquén||Orlando, Florida|
|Alfa Azteca Activo||Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara|
The group has had among its members many respected Puerto Ricans and Latin Americans.
|Raúl Juliá ||Professional actor|
|Luis A. Ferré ||Governor of Puerto Rico, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Puerto Rico state senator.|
|Eudaldo Báez Galib ||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature.|
|Noel Estrada ||Composer of "En mi viejo San Juan"|
|Ramón Torres Braschi||Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police Department.|
|José Miguel Agrelot ||Comedian and Guinness record holder.|
|Miguel Limeres Grau||President Ponce Municipal Legislature.|
|Hector R. Cuprill||President Ponce Municipal Legislature.|
|William Navas ||Sub-Secretary of the United States Navy, General|
|Manuel Abreu Castillo ||President of the Puerto Rico Bar Association and writer.|
|Luis Somoza Debayle ||President of Nicaragua|
|Marco Rigau Gaztambide||Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico.|
|Marco Rigau Jiménez||Puerto Rican senator for the Popular democratic party.|
|Juan A. Rivero||Biologist, author, founder of Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo, has discovered previously unidentified animals|
|Charles Cuprill Oppenheimer||Mayor General, Dean of Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law.|
|Hiram Rafael Cancio||District Judge United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico|
|Luis Stefani ||Vice rector of the University of Puerto Rico in charge of the Mayaguez Colleges, now the title would be rector of UPRM|
|Santos P. Amadeo ||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature, constitutional law scholar, first president of the fraternity|
|José L. Purcell ||Judge in the Superior Court of Puerto Rico, founded the Puerto Rico volleyball Federation|
|Rafael Pont Flores ||Well known radio (WKAQ (AM)) sports commentator in the 1950s. He was also a sports columnist in the "El Mundo" newspaper.|
|César Benito Cabrera||Former US Ambassador to the island nations of Mauritius and the Seychelles.|
|Mario Rubén García Palmieri||Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico.|
|Manuel Rodríguez Ramos||Puertorican writer, law professor and Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico.|
|William Riefkohl||Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association|
|Adán Nigaglioni||Dean of UPRCM School of Medicine|
|Enrique Pérez Santiago ||Secretary of Health of Puerto Rico|
|José M. Saldaña||President of the University of Puerto Rico|
|Bartolomé Bonet Fussá ||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|Eugenio Fernández Cerra||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|David Cruz Vélez||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|José Izquierdo Stella||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|José Victor Oliver Ledesma||Owner of P.R. Distillers, makers of many famous Rums|
|Herminio Brau del Toro||Lawyer, Engineer, Professor, writer, president of P.R. Distillers|
|Reinaldo Rampolla-Selles||Co-director of the Lung Transplants Services and transplant pulmonologist at Oschner Medical Center in New Orleans,|
|Miguel Márquez Muñoz||Owner of Camuy Distillery, makers of Palo Viejo Rum|
|Justo A. Méndez Rodriguez||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature and ex Secretary of Agriculture of Puerto Rico.|
|José Menéndez Monroig||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|Enrique A. Vicéns||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|Lionel Fernández Méndez||Senator in the Puerto Rico legislature|
|Gaspar Rivera Cestero||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Ubaldino Ramírez de Arellano ||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Eduardo Zavála Vázquez||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Eduardo Bhatia Gautier||Current Minority Whip in the Senate of Puerto Rico|
|Oscar A. San Antonio Mendoza||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Fernando Bauermeister||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Hugo David Storer Tavarez||Director of Promotion of the Puerto Rico Economic Development Administration also known as "Fomento".|
|Eugenio S. Belaval||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Hernán Padilla||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, two-term Mayor of San Juan|
|Santiago Polanco Abreu||Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico|
|Julio A. Santos||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Adolfo L. Monserrate Anselmi||Member of House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
|Isidro A. Negrón Irizarry||Mayor of the city of San German|
|Luis E. Baco||Past Chief of Staff to Congressman Luis G. Fortuno at U.S. House of Representatives and Deputy Executive Director at Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.|
|Charles H. Juliá||Three time member of the Senate of Puerto Rico|
|Antonio Santos Cabrera||Chancellor of University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez|
|Lester Martínez López||Physician, Major General, and the first Hispanic to head the U.S. Army Medical and Research Command|
|Antonio Colorado||Secretary of State of Puerto Rico; Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico|
|José Rodríguez Quiles||Current member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives|
|Guillermo A. Baralt||Author, historian|
|Jorge Sánchez||President of the Board of Government of the University of Puerto Rico|
- Phi Iota Alpha
- Phi Lambda Alpha
- Sigma Iota
- Union Latino Americana
- Concilio Interfraternitario Puertorriqueño de la Florida
- Puerto Rican fraternities and sororities
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