Alpha Kappa Lambda was founded on April 22, 1914, by a group of young men attending the University of California, Berkeley. Its birth, however, dates to 1906 when a group of friends discussed the “need of Christian men for a place to live and study that was within their (financial) means.”
After assisting in the cleanup of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, four students re-addressed their desire to organize a house club during a YMCA conference in Pacific Grove, California. It was decided to form “Los Amigos” in 1907, which was a house club named from the Spanish translation of “The Friends.” Shortly after, seven more men joined Los Amigos. Reverend Gail Cleland, one of the original 11 members of Los Amigos, recalled, “When we organized Los Amigos as a house club…house clubs and fraternities were dime a dozen. They came, they lived for a few months or a few years, then they went out of existence again. But Los Amigos did not go out of existence.”
He continues, “And seven years later…in response to the suggestion of Benjamin Ide Wheeler, president of the University of California, we organized our house club as a national fraternity of one chapter.” The founders of Los Amigos were a diverse group, but they shared a common desire for studious living in a college environment and continued integrity after their formal education concluded. The profiles of the eleven founding members of Los Amigos are given in the order in which their names appeared on the signatory page of the constitution of Los Amigos. They were “typical” college men in many ways, yet atypical in their desire to foster brotherhood, scholarship, and service through their club.
- Herman Ritchie “Dickie” Bergh was described as a “very likable chap of the happy-go-lucky type. Often broke of money, he was never broke in friends.” Bergh was a student of the College of Social Sciences. After his graduation in 1912, he had the desire to become a foreign missionary. He worked as a company representative in South America briefly before going into real estate in Los Angeles.
- Harold Alonzo “Hal” Savage was the politician of the Los Amigos Club, and a student of law. He helped to bring Los Amigos early recognition by being elected President of his sophomore class. He graduated in 1910, and he later became a leading attorney, specializing in mining law.
- Allen Holmes Kimball was an architectural student, who used his artistic abilities to decorate and furnish the club’s modest house comfortably. After graduation in 1910, Kimball designed a new Alpha Chapter house. For many years he was a Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and went on to become one of America’s prominent architects.
- Charles Oscar “Oscar” Perrine was in Los Amigos only a short time. He graduated in 1910 but returned later to help with the expansion of the new Fraternity after its founding. Gail Cleland described him as a “tall, strong, silent man who proved remarkably wise and well balanced.” He became involved in several ranching ventures, but later made a name for himself as a commercial photographer.
- Ludwig Rehfuess was registered in the College of Mechanics and was a man described by one of Alpha Kappa Lambda’s charter members, Frank Bloomer (Alpha, California ’08), as “always full of life and energy. Some of us thought his opinions rather radical on certain questions, but withal, Ludwig was a wonderful soul, absolutely genuine.” Rehfuess met an untimely death by drowning in Yosemite Valley in June 1911, only a year after receiving his degree. Rehfuess’ name appears as the first entry of our Omega Chapter.
- Gail Cleland “Serious-minded served as a dignifying influence for the group. After graduating from the College of Letters in 1909, Cleland traveled as an educator to Japan and entered the ministry when he returned home. Cleland was the last surviving member of Los Amigos when he passed away in 1977.
- Charles Junius “Charlie” Booth was an agriculture student with a great interest in debating, which won him forensic prizes and prestige for Los Amigos. Booth was the club’s idealist, and he took a major role in fixing its standards in its formative stages. Booth graduated from the university in 1908 and later became a noted educator and Dean of Men at a college in California for nearly forty years.
- William Barnum was a student in the College of Natural Sciences. During his college days, he was active in the Glee Club. Following his graduation, he became well established as an educator in California.
- Leonard Herington Day, another agriculture student, was one of the more “solid” types in the club, who helped hold the chapter together. After he was graduated in 1909, he went on to specialize in agricultural research and education, and later became a famous entomologist for the State of California.
- Harry Levi Osborne was the “inspirer” of the group. Affectionately known as “Daddy” among the Brothers, Osborne became dedicated later to the YMCA Movement, and became “known and honored for many years as a Christian leader.”
- Joseph Leon “Joe” Taylor, the eleventh of the founders of Los Amigos, was described as “a little fellow and rather quiet, but he was always reliable and dependable, a real asset to the organization.” He graduated in 1908 and later became a teacher of mathematics and engineering.
“It was a wise philosopher who said the highest explosive known to man is the explosive power of an idea whose time has come.” –Gail Cleland
To be the premier collegiate experience leading to lifelong brotherhood.
Develop brothers who, guided by the Five Ideals, share a lifelong commitment to AKL and are dedicated to assuming leadership roles in meeting the challenges of life.
OFFICIAL CREED OF ALPHA KAPPA LAMBDA
I believe in the Five Ideals of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity and subscribe to an emphasis on Judeo-Christian Principles, Leadership, Scholarship, Loyalty, and Self-Support.
I believe in brotherhood as friendship of the highest calling.
I accept membership in Alpha Kappa Lambda as affiliation that is binding for life.
I pledge myself to treat others as I would have them treat me.
I shall respect the opinion of others.
I shall commit myself to a style of membership in Alpha Kappa Lambda that is an educationally and socially maturing process. The goal of this process is achieving a wholeness of manhood that is prepared to assume leadership responsibilities in fulfilling the obligations of life.
William B. Herms, the first National President of Alpha Kappa Lambda, said that “in erecting a great edifice, the foundation is of prime importance.” Indeed, Alpha Kappa Lambda was founded upon certain principles have served as guiding forces for development and growth, these are our Five Ideals. The Five Ideals are embodied in our history. While the founding fathers of the Fraternity had specific goals, their goals are not the same as ours today. A tradition has been passed down through our chain of brotherhood. It is essential for us to define how these Five Ideals apply to our present-day lives.
“Alethia Kai Logos” or “Αλίθια Και Λόγος”
In classical Greek, it means “The Truth and the Word”. Former National President William B. Herms described it as, “The motto is a symbolic statement of our Ideals. We are seekers after Truth, the highest Truth . . . and the Word, which again lends itself to interpretation.”
The Fraternity of Alpha Kappa Lambda Badge is made of ten-carat gold and set with eleven whole pearls. An “Alpha” and “Lambda” rest in the background, covered in the flowers of the dogwood, and the “Kappa” is raised to the forefront. Among other values known to members, the eleven pearls represent the original founders of Los Amigos Club. The badge is worn only on shirts, sweaters, or suit vests, and in the traditional position over the heart. It is never to be worn as a tie-tac or a lapel pin. Each member will receive a gold plate badge from the National Headquarters after initiation into AKL. The Pearl Badge can be ordered through the National Fraternity official jeweler via the AKL Store.
The AKL Colony Pin is diamond-shaped, with blue over gold with has the gold letters “AKL” vertically on its face. The shape is that of the original recognition badge of Los Amigos Club, and the colors are those of the University of California- Berkeley. The Colony Pin is worn by colony members until chartering. It should be worn under the same circumstances as the badge.
The Official Colors are purple and gold, both of which dominate AKL insignia and paraphernalia.
The Official Flag measures three-feet by five-feet and is set with the Coat of Arms above the Greek letters “AKL” on a purple and gold background.
The Official Flower is the ‘Souvenir de Claudius Pernet’, described as a tantalizing yellow rose. It was adopted at the Sixth National Conclave in 1927 because “its deep golden color matched well the colors of Alpha Kappa Lambda.” While the ‘Souvenir de Claudius Pernet’ itself is no longer widely grown, it has many hybridized descendants. The rose was originally bred by a famous French rose-breeder, Monsieur Joseph Pernet-Ducher, who named the rose after one of his sons who died in World War I.
Twenty-Five Year and Fifty-Year Longevity Pins are both available for those in recognition of their commitment to Alpha Kappa Lambda. The Fifty-Year Longevity Pin will be sent to all members with a correct address during their milestone year. Twenty-Five Year Longevity Pins are available upon request from the National Headquarters. Both are distributed at National Fraternity events when possible.