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Tau Kappa Epsilon (ΤΚΕ or Teke, pronounced T-K-E or , as in teak wood) is a college fraternity founded on January 10, 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University with chapters in the USAmarker, and Canadamarker, and affiliation with a German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren Convent (WSC). With 276 active TKE chapters and colonies throughout the United States and Canada, TKE is the largest college social fraternity in terms of number of active groups. The colors of the fraternity are the shade of red known as Crimson Lake Cherry, and the shade of gray known as Pure Silver Grey. Of the national fraternities founded prior to 1920, TKE is one of the few fraternities that never had a discrimination clause in its membership requirements to prevent membership of men because of their race, color, or creed. TKE was also one of the first fraternities to abolish "Hell week" when in 1928 it was replaced with an initiation period consisting of lessons portraying the finest attribute of brotherhood.

History

On January 10, 1899,Charles Roy Atkinson, Clarence Arthur Mayer, James Carson McNutt, Joseph Lorenzo Settles, and Owen Ison Truitt met at 504 East Locust Street in Bloomington, Illinoismarker and drew up the first constitution for a new fraternity at Illinois Wesleyan University. The purpose of the new organization was to be an "aid to college men in mental, moral and social development." The founders sought to be a different organization than the other fraternities at the time by establishing a fraternity where membership would be based on personal worth and character rather than wealth, rank, or honor. Mental development would be emphasized by the study of classic literature at weekly meetings, and thus the new fraternity became known as the Knights of Classic Lore. The first public announcement of the Knights of Classic Lore appeared in the February 1, 1899 issue of the Argus, which is the student publication of Illinois Wesleyan University.

During the time of the formation of the Knights of Classic Lore were trying hard to get the Illinois Epsilon chapter of Phi Delta Theta restored. Prominent PhiDelt alumnus Richard Henry Little became a persistent sponsor for the Knights to petition Phi Delta Theta for charter. The Knights first petitioned Phi Delta Theta at its 1902 convention in New York, but efforts were unsuccessful. After renting rooms at several locations beginning in the spring of 1899, the Knights of Classic Lore finally acquired its first fraternity house, known as The Wilder Mansion, in September 1902. Simultaneously with the acquisition of the new house, the Knights also adopted the name Tau Kappa Epsilon. The change in name was expected to create a better impression in future petitions to Phi Delta Theta. The second petition was presented at the Indianapolis convention of 1904, but it was withdrawn in an effort to gain unanimous support of all chapters in Phi Delta Theta's Zeta Province, which included Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. If this support was achieved, then charter would be granted to the group without any action from the convention. The Knights of Classic Lore gained the support of all Phi Delta Theta groups in the province, except for Wisconsin Alphamarker, Illinois Betamarker, and Missouri Alphamarker. The Knights in turn unsuccessfully presented the petition at the 1906 convention in Washington, DC. During the continuing struggle for acceptance from Phi Delta Theta, TKE continued to grow stronger in its own existence.

In late 1907, TKE was preparing to petition Phi Delta Theta once again at the 1908 convention, when an event took place that would forever change the course of history for the fraternity. At the annual initiation banquet on October 19, 1907, speeches were made that both advocated and questioned the continued petitioning of Phi Delta Theta. At the banquet, Wallace G. McCauley delivered a blistering speech known as "Opportunity Out of Defeat." The powerful address called for an abandonment of the petitioning initiative and a new campaign to make TKE into a national fraternity itself. While there was some opposition at the time, the movement ultimately took hold, and by 1908, TKE was well on its way to becoming a national fraternity in its own right. The speech was published in the first issue of The Teke, in January 1908, and by November of that year, work was beginning on a new constitution. At the chapter meeting held on Monday, February 15, 1909, the new constitution became official. The first Conclave of the Grand Chapter of the new national fraternity of Tau Kappa Epsilon convened on February 17, 1909.

Symbols and traditions

Apollo

The mythological ideal or patron of Tau Kappa Epsilon is Apollo, one of the most important of Olympian divinities. Apollo is the Greek god of music and culture, of light and the ideals toward which all Tekes constantly strive. Typifying the finest development of manhood, the selection of Apollo is most appropriate.

Badge

The official membership badge, made of gold and adorned with three white pearls, is by far the most important item of TKE insignia in general use. This badge may only be worn by initiated members. Jeweled badges, crown set with pearls, diamonds, rubies or emeralds, according to choice, may be worn by alumni members. Frequently the standard membership badge is used as a token of engagement. Miniature badges are also available for mothers, sisters, wives, chapter sweethearts or for engagement purposes. The TKE 'badge of gold', unique in its design and distinctiveness, has never been changed since its adoption.

Red carnation

The red carnation is the flower of the fraternity. From this flower the color for the coat-of-arms, flag, and other symbols are derived. Red carnations are also worn during initiations and at TKE banquets. The Red Carnation Ball is a dance that many chapters celebrate, and is named after the flower. Tau Kappa Epsilon chose this flower because it is the longest surviving after being cut from its stem.

Coat-of-arms

The heraldic definition of the TKE Coat-of-Arms is "A shield of a Norman form, upon which has a bend with five equilateral triangles, surmounting a scroll bearing five Greek letters, and surmounted by a skull, or death's head, three-quarters profile. This assemblage is done in the official colors, cherry red and gray, properly mantled." It may be used only by official members of the Fraternity on stationery, jewelry, and other personal effects. It is used by the Fraternity upon its official stationery, membership certificates, and other documents. Modified slightly several times during the early years of Tau Kappa Epsilon, the present Coat-of-Arms, adopted in 1926, was designed by Dr. Carlton B. Pierce and Ms. Emily Butterfield.

Flag

The present design of the TKE flag, as adopted at the 1961 Conclave, features five voided triangles, in cherry red, on a gray bend surmounting a red field. Because it is patterned after the shield of the fraternity Coat-of-Arms, the flag is readily associated with Tau Kappa Epsilon. Individual chapters may also purchase and use pennants and wall banners of various designs. These usually employ the name or Greek letters of the fraternity and chapter, and may incorporate the basic TKE insignia. TKE insignia may only be purchased from the Offices of the Grand Chapter or a merchant licensed by the fraternity headquarters.

Founders' Day

On or near January 10 of each year, alumni associations of Tau Kappa Epsilon celebrate the founding of our Fraternity and honor the five Founders. This day is known as Founders' Day, is usually celebrated by a traditional banquet. At this celebration, contributions are collected for the Founders' Student Loan Fund, and the Grand Prytanis sends a subtle message to each chapter to be read as part of the program.

The Horse Shoe

In April 1921, members of the Fraternity at The Ohio State University made their way to the Conclave in Madison, Wisconsin. At the conclusion of the vote granting their charter as Omicron Chapter, one of the members pulled from his pants pocket a rusty horseshoe which the fraters had picked up along the way. Believing that the horseshoe had granted the chapter good luck, the tradition began to pass the horseshoe down to each chapter. The original horseshoe was lost during WWII at the Alpha-Chi Chapter, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky (it was replaced with a new horseshoe to continue the tradition).

In mid-1995, the original horseshoe was discovered by Past Grand Prytanis Rodney Williams among some artifacts belonging to Alpha-Chi Chapter, which had been held for years by a charter member of the chapter. At the 49th Biennial Conclave, the original TKE horseshoe from Omicron Chapter was displayed, and the story behind its loss explained.

The horse shoe, now an adopted symbol, is traditionally displayed on a plaque gifted to new chapters at their founding.

The Creed of Tau Kappa Epsilon

  • To Believe in love and loyalty to my College, my Fraternity, my Country, and my God;


  • To Believe in the worthiness and dignity of my fellow man, and judge him solely upon his personal worth and character;


  • To Believe with fidelity in the traditions and ideals of my Fraternity, and upon my sacred honor, to uphold them;


  • To Believe in the constant search for truth, and through it, to seek the goal of wisdom;


  • To Believe in the life based upon integrity, justice, sincerity, patience, moderation, culture, and challenge in order to serve as a responsible, mature member of society;


  • To Believe in the cardinal principles of Love, Charity, and Esteem and to use them to guide my life;


  • To Believe in my Fraternity as a brotherhood of gentlemen in perpetual quest of excellence as a way of life.


International officers

Grand Officers
  • Grand Prytanis (president) - Dr. Herbert L. Songer
  • Grand Epiprytanis (vice-president) - Edmund C. Moy
  • Grand Grammateus (secretary) - Robert L. Barr
  • Grand Crysophylos (treasurer) - Rodney G. Talbot
  • Grand Histor (historian) - Robert A. Jarred
  • Grand Hypophetes (chaplain) - Christopher T. Hanson
  • Grand Pylortes (sgt at arms)- James Hickey
  • Grand Hegemon (educator)- Shawn Babine


Professional staff

Kevin Mayeux, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

John Deckard

Vice President of Fraternal Services

Donnie Aldrich

Assistant Director of Programs

Joyce-Ann Anderson

Executive Secretary

Tyler Baker

Housing Coordinator

Ben Carroll

Administrative Assistant

Louie Correa

Director of Alumni Relations

Erik Couch

Network Administrator

Justin Donnelly

Associate Regional Director

Todd Farmer

Senior Regional Director - Northeast

Adam Ferris

Regional Director - South

Joseph Gurule

Associate Regional Director

Matt Gutierrez

Assistant Director of Chapter Services - Expansion

Tracy Holmes

Associate Regional Director

Jill Konija

Systems Administrator

Louis LeBlanc

Director of Operations

Nate Lehman

Special Projects Coordinator

Tom McAninch

Director of Communication

Shirley Mills

Director of Membership Services

Greg Parker

Director of Internet Services

Buckwheat Perry

Director of Chapter Development

Gary Reed

TKE Educational Foundation President

Gregory Roskopf

Regional Director - Midwest

Katie Sayre

Production Manager

Jim Scovell

Associate Regional Director

Nat Sheppard

Associate Regional Director

Ethan Stubbs

Assistant Director of Chapter Services - Standards

Kyle Swetzig

Assistant Director of Chapter Services - Expansion

Robert D. Taflinger

Director of Business Affairs

Chris Walsh

Director of Events & Marketing

The eight Grand Officers along with the CEO act as members of the executive board of the fraternity. Their titles are derived from the titles given to the officers of undergraduate chapters. With the exception of the Grand Prytanis (president) the honorific titles do not necessarily reflect the duties of these officers. The CEO handles day-to-day operation, finances and the administration of the international organization.

Philanthropy

The TKE Run For Reagan event benefits the Alzheimer's Association, which is an official TKE philanthropy.
Membership in Tau Kappa Epsilon involves both service-oriented activities as well as social bonding for its members. TKE adopted St. Jude Children's Research Hospitalmarker as its philanthropy of emphasis in 2008, as it did for the Alzheimer's Association in 2001. The Fraternity maintains a partnership St. Jude, which was founded by Teke alumnus Danny Thomas, as well as with the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute, in honor of fraternity member Ronald Reagan. For the Alzheimer's Association, TKE initially committed to raising $240,000 for the research institute, but the fraternity has already surpassed the original goal by contributing more than $286,484 While individual TKE chapters raise money for the philanthropy through various activities and events, most chapters host an annual Run For Reagan each spring. Run For Reagan is a 5-mile relay race that is hosted by chapters on many campuses across North America. Some chapters have also modified the event in unique ways, such the Phi Chapter at the University of Nebraska-Lincolnmarker, which raised money by completing a 136-mile relay between Lincoln, Nebraskamarker and Manhattan, Kansasmarker prior to the Huskers/Wildcats football game.. Also of note, the brothers of the Beta-Mu chapter at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA ran over 180 miles to Washington D.C. and raised over $39,000 in 2009. Plans are underway to unveil a new package of philanthropic activities to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at the Fraternity's biennial convention (Conclave) on August 8, 2009. In addition to St. Jude and the Alzheimer's Association, TKE chapters host philanthropic events to benefits many other charitable organizations, including Angelwish, which was created by fraternity member Shimmy Mehta in 1999 as an organization that grants wishes to the millions of children that are living with HIV/AIDS around the world.

Notable alumni

Chapters and colonies

To find a TKE chapter, use the TKE Locator

Tau Kappa Epsilon is also affiliated with the German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren-Convent (WSC). The WSC serves as an umbrella organization for 60 student Corps at 22 cities all over Germany. As with TKE, most its members are students or alumni of technical, applied or natural sciences.

A local social/service sorority, Lambda Sigma Tau, was founded from the TEKEs. The group was originally founded as the Little Sisters of Tau Kappa Epsilon, but in the Fall of 1976 the group officially became Lambda Sigma Tau. The group was originally founded at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and the College of St. Catherine, also in St. Paul. Today, the sorority funcions as a local social/service sorority serving the College of St. Catherine and surrounding areas.

Popular culture

  • During a sketch in Episode 17 of Saturday Night Live Season 22, Will Ferrell plays a fraternity member who is appearing as a game show contestant. He wears TKE letters and at one point shouts "TKE Rules," to which the host, played by Rob Lowe replies "Yes they do."
  • In 2003, Will Ferrell filmed a MTV Cribs style promotional video at the Rutgers Universitymarker TKE house for his upcoming film Old School. In the 21 minute episode, Ferrell explains that he moved into the TKE house following the filming of his movie, and he proceeds to give a tour of the Alpha-Eta house with fellow member Dan Linkletter.
  • In January 2008, a dispute arose between fraternity member Roy Jones, Jr and Felix Trinidad concerning custom boxing gloves that Jones had planned to use at the "Clash of the Titans" match at Madison Square Gardenmarker. Roy Jones desired to use a custom pair of Grant gloves in TKE colors to match his trunks with the fraternity's logo and colors. Jones eventually agreed to switch back to the standard Everlast gloves, and he remarked "I wanted to wear the gloves to represent my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), the largest fraternity in the world...I tried to do good for TKE, but Tito's father was obstinate, and Tito wouldn't even talk to me," Jones said. "I have to wear Everlast gloves, so Tito will get an everlasting lick upside his head."


In October 2009, the TKE crest on a house next door can be seen as the cheerleader in an episode of NBC's Heroes enters a sorority house.

References

  1. The Golden Book of Tau Kappa Epsilon. 1949. p 74.
  2. http://www.tke.org/member_resources/service/alz/
  3. http://events.unl.edu/s-slaport1/2008/11/15/30524/
  4. http://snltranscripts.jt.org/96/96qfoodsexcars.phtml
  5. http://www.ahtke.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45:will-ferrell-honorary-alpha-eta-frater&catid=1:latest-news
  6. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/boxing/2008-01-19-2795647336_x.htm


External links




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