Tau Kappa Epsilon

Tau Kappa Epsilon

Infobox Fraternity
letters = TKE
name = Tau Kappa Epsilon
crest =
founded = birth date and age|1899|1|10
type = Social
scope = International
address = 8645 Founders Road
city = Indianapolis
state = Indiana
country = USA
chapters = 271 active [http://www.tke.org/locator/index.htm Locator] | colors = Cherry and Gray.
publication = "The Teke"
members = 9,432 (2007-2008)
lifetime = 245,658 total [http://www.tke.org/about/at_a_glance.html Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity - Frequently Asked Questions ] ]
homepage = http://www.tke.org/
birthplace = Illinois Wesleyan University
flower = Red Carnation
symbol = Equilateral Triangle

Tau Kappa Epsilon (ΤΚΕ or Teke, pronounced T-K-E or IPAEng|ˈtiːk, as in teak wood) is a college fraternity founded on January 10th, 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University with chapters in the USA, and Canada, and affiliation with a German fraternity system known as the Corps of the Weinheimer Senioren Convent (WSC). With 271 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 cherry known as crimson lake, and the shade of gray known as pure silver. 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. ["The Golden Book of Tau Kappa Epsilon". 1949. p 74.]


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, Illinois 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, Phi Delta Theta was also beginning the struggle to restore its Illinois Epsilon chapter. 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 Alpha, Illinois Beta, and Missouri Alpha. 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.

ymbols and traditions


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


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.

The triangular badge is worn at an angle so that the left side of the triangle appears vertical. This is done to reflect the geographic positions of the three original chapters.


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.


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.


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 10th of each year, undergraduate chapters and 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 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) - Mark K. Johnson
*Grand Epiprytanis (vice-president) - Dr. Herbert L. Songer
*Grand Grammateus (secretary) - Kevin H. Pollard
*Grand Crysophylos (treasurer) - Edmund C. Moy
*Grand Histor (historian) - Robert L. Barr
*Grand Hypophetes (chaplain) - Rodney G. Talbot
*Grand Pylortes (parliamentarian)- Robert A. Jarred
*Grand Hegemon (educator) - Christopher Hanson

Professional Staff
*Chief Executive Officer - Kevin Mayeux, CAE

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.

Notable alumni

Chapters and colonies

To find a TKE chapter, use the [http://www.tke.org/locator/index.htm 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 includes the [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corps_Franconia_Darmstadt Corps Franconia zu Darmstadt] , Corps Vitruvia Munich, Corps Montania Clausthal, [http://www.altsachsen.de Corps Altsachsen Dresden] and other fraternities.


External links

* [http://www.tke.org/ Tau Kappa Epsilon]
* [http://www.jointke.org/ Information on TKE Membership]
* [http://www.tkeresource.com/ Tau Kappa Epsilon Resource Site]
* [http://www.tkefamilytree.com/ Tau Kappa Epsilon Family Tree Site]
* [http://www.tke.org/gmap.html?cid=498/ TKE Chapter Map]

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