Tau Kappa Epsilon is a fraternity that was started on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in 1899. Tau Kappa Epsilon now has chapters that spread across the United States and Canada. Tau Kappa Epsilon, or TKE, has the largest number of active groups of any fraternity currently operating. Tau Kappa Epsilon was started by Joseph L. Settles, James C. McNutt, Clarence A. Mayer, Owen I. Truitt and C. Roy Atkinson as a society for young men to aid them in mental, moral and social development. Originally titled the Knights of Classic Lore, TKE sought to be different from the other fraternities that were already established on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan. The founders of TKE wanted to have importance placed on the members’ individual characteristics rather than their families' personal wealth.
As the Knights of Classic Lore, the organization was approached by some alumni of the Illinois Epsilon chapter of Phi Delta Theta. The alumni of Phi Delta saw this new organization as a chance to restore their charter, which had been surrendered in 1897. The Tau Kappa Epsilon name was adopted in order to make the organization more appealing to Phi Delta Theta. On October 19, 1907, it was decided that the TKE fraternity would be recognized as a national fraternity. The first conclave was held in February of 1909 where all of the national officers were appointed. TKE is one of the few fraternities started before 1920 that never had a discrimination clause preventing membership due to race or color.
The official philanthropy of Tau Kappa Epsilon is the Alzheimer’s Association, adopted in 2001. TKE partnered with the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute in this effort.
“Not for wealth, rank, or honor, but for personal worth and character.”
- The mythological patron of TKE is Apollo
- The official membership badge is made of white or Roman gold adorned with three white pearls
- The red carnation is the official flower of TKE
- The TKE Coat-of-Arms contains a shield of the Norman form with five equilateral triangles, a scroll with the initial letters of the secret motto in Greek and designed in the cherry and grey colors
- The official TKE flag features five triangles in cherry red on a grey bend with a red field background
- Founder's Day is used to celebrate the five founders each year on January 10th
- The official symbol of TKE is an equilateral triangle featuring the cherry and grey colors
- The colors for TKE are cherry and grey
- Since May of 2006, more than 230,000 men have been initiated into the fraternity
- As of May 2006, there were more than 270 active collegiate chapters of Tau Kappa Epsilon in the United States and Canada
- Nickname is Tekes
- Terry Bradshaw (NFL Star)
- Ronald W. Reagan (40th United States President)
- Merv Griffin (Entertainer)
- Willie Nelson (Country Music Star)
- Elvis Presley (Entertainer)
TKE, Tau Kappa Epslon, Tow Kappa Epsilon, Tau Cappa Epsilon, Tau Kappa, Tekes