On January 10, 1899, five friends, all students at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, gathered in order to form the Knights of Classic Yore, a society whose purpose was “to aid college men in mental, moral, and social development.” They desired an organization different from all others, in which men were judged by their personal worth and character, not by the wealth they did or did not possess. From these small but honorable beginnings, they soon evolved into an all-new national fraternal organization: Tau Kappa Epsilon (Teke).
Since its founding all those years ago, more than 257,000 men have been initiated in the bond of Tau Kappa Epsilon, with 291 active chapters and colonies throughout the United States and Canada. Though the goals and ideals of its founders may appear lofty to some, Tekes are not daunted by a challenge, and indeed, many Brothers have come to achieve greatness in their lives, including Daniel Webster (U.S. House of Representatives, Florida, 2011-present), Mike Huckabee (44th Governor of Arkansas, 2008 Presidential Candidate), Willie Nelson (Country Music Singer/Songwriter), Elvis Presley (Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneer), and Aaron Rodgers (Quarterback for the Green Bay Packers). With Brothers like these, it is easy to see why so many men want to wear the Teke cherry and gray!
As excellence is a way of life, it is no surprise that Tau Kappa Epsilon is partnered in philanthropy with not one, but two organizations! Chapters across the country actively raise funds and awareness to support the dream of Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Teke Brother, who stated that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” During the 2010-2011 academic year alone, more than fifty Teke chapters hosted events for St. Jude, raising over $100,000 for the kids. In honor of another Brother, 40th President of the United States Ronald W. Reagan, Tekes have also adopted the Alzheimer’s Association, partnering with the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute that was established in 1995, one year after Brother Reagan announced to the world that he had Alzheimer’s.