InterVarsity Latino Fellowship (known as LaFe) began in 1980 after Ruth Lewis, a white staff member, attended a Latino student conference in Colombia, South America. She realized that the same issues they were facing in Colombia regarding the academic, relational and spiritual needs of college students were the same issues facing Latinos in the United States. When she returned, she immediately began to gather Latino campus staff such as Rudy Hernandez and Julio Guzman. Together they began to give shape to the values and commitments of the LaFe Ministry. Eventually Latino campus staff began to leave for other careers and the LaFe Ministry slowed in growth.
However, in the early 1990s, under the leadership of VP Samuel Barkat, the LaFe Ministry began to build momentum. The annual LaFe staff gathering began to revive a vision for a national Latino ministry to staff and students. As the need for leadership heightened, staff workers such as Sarah Paz Crippen and Jennifer Ball stepped in as Interim LaFe Coordinators and worked closely with Sam Barkat to coordinate national LaFe staff gatherings.
In 1999 Sam Barkat invited Orlando Crespo, New York City Area Director, to serve as the first national Latino Fellowship Director. Under the leadership of LaFe Servant Leaders such as Sandra Van Opstal, Joanne Acevedo, Brad Bertelson, Jen Ball, Ryan Pfeiffer, Abner Ramos and Rene Aguirre, the campus work of LaFe took off with national Latino student conferences and a multitude of regional area conferences in California, Texas, Chicago and South Florida. In 2015, the LaFe ministry proudly celebrated 35 years of ministry to InterVarsity Latino staff and campus outreach to Latino students throughout the country.