The first Latino based fraternity in the Midwest was founded at the University of Iowa

Hidden History

The founder of Sigma Lambda Beta came from different backgrounds and that’s what makes this international fraternity so diverse.


In the fall of 1985 Baltazar Mendoza Madrigal started exploring the idea of starting a Latino based fraternity at the University of Iowa.

“They were bonded together by the fact that they couldn’t find what they were looking for at the university and came together as a collective to found Sigma Lambda Beta,” said Xavier Romano, Executive Director.


Romano said there’s a lot of interest from universities around the country to have their own chapter on their respected campuses.


“There’s an interest in Sigma Lambda Beta at a reign of public and private institutions and in fact the fact of the matter is we can’t grow fast enough to keep up with the interest,” said Romano.


All it took was 18 Hawkeyes to create not just a fraternity but also a support system.


“I’m not sure they had the sense that they were creating this national jogger knot from coast to coast, I think they were really focused on Iowa City but it says volumes about their vision,” said Romano.

Erik Ortega Marquez is a member of Sigma Lambda Beta and said he felt a good connection when becoming a Beta.


“I just felt a real good connection between them before I even got to know them really well personally so overall it was more of the experience that I would gain from learning about them learning what they do for the community,” said Ortega Marquez.

The Betas principles consist of brotherhood, scholarship, community service and cultural awareness.


Which is what caught Jose Pangelinan’s eye while he was searching for fraternities.

“The impact that they had on me on their local community and also on the campus community really showed me what I could get involved with,” said Pangelinan.

Sigma Lambda Beta has Latino orgins but is also one of the most cultural diverse fraternities in the Greek family.

The also have 120 chapters from coast to coast in 30 states and is still growing.

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