State of the Fraternity - April 2017
"Tau Kappa Epsilon is earthly proof that God is at work."
Recently, I was saddened to hear of a member of the Omicron Chapter at Ohio State University had taken his own life. There cannot be a worse day than to hear the news of a Frater passing at a young age. As a father, I cannot imagine the pain a family feels. Due to family commitments of my own, Frater Tim Murphy, a former CEO of TKE and recipient of the Order of the Golden Eagle attended the funeral in my stead along with Nate Lehman who is a part of our staff.
The father of this Frater gave a terrific eulogy during which time he mentioned how important our Fraternity was to his son numerous times. The most striking words were, "Tau Kappa Epsilon is earthly proof that God is at work." We are grateful for the positive impact TKE made on this man’s life. Rest in Peace in the Chapter Eternal Frater.
What is this letter?
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” With this thought in mind, we want to ensure another medium to communicate the news within our organization. I will strive to make these letters impactful and worthy of your time to read.
TKE and TEF Meet Jointly in Dallas
The Grand Council and TKE Educational Foundation Board came together in Dallas, TX on March 23-25, 2017. The meeting began with a ritual and gavel pass where every Frater had the opportunity to share their thoughts and hopes for the future of TKE and the fundraising efforts to make that future brighter. Before ritual, attendees were provided a presentation on current trends within colleges and universities. This highlighted the financial and cultural landscape of college campuses.
Additionally, the two groups met for over three hours jointly discussing strategy to provide further value to our membership and enhancing the donor base of our fraternity. The weekend was a motivational time for our leadership to dissect our challenges, but more importantly highlight our opportunities. Venerable Grand Prytanis Rod Talbot and TEF Chairman Elmer Smith have committed to even deeper collaboration as we head into the 2017 Conclave.
Conclave Registration Live!
Registration has begun for the 59th Biennial Conclave that will take place at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. We hope that you can join us in celebrating the past biennium, the election and inauguration of the Grand Council, the awarding of the highest honors in TKE to chapters and alumni along with a special thank you to a TKE Legend, Frater Buckwheat Perry!
To register or find more information, please visit www.tke.org/conclave. We look forward to hosting you in the Crescent City!
TKE at Indiana University Initiates 81
As we have all heard through our journey in Tau Kappa Epsilon, “recruitment is the lifeblood of our fraternity.” Recruitment was always like Christmas to me as a collegiate member, an opportunity to find and bring in the best new member class on our campus. This year, Gamma-Kappa at Indiana University set a new standard, recruiting 81 men to join the bond of TKE - 23 more than their nearest challenger (Sigma-Alpha at Florida International University).
The recruitment of this large class is the culmination of hard work for the past four years at Gamma-Kappa. During that time, the group has been re-chartered, has sent multiple men to Province Forums, the TKE Leadership Academy, and Regional Leadership Conferences. In 2016, they received a Top TKE Chapter Award and began leasing a house on campus.
We are extremely proud of the work Gamma-Kappa has put in and grateful for the hard work of alumni, staff, and volunteers who have supported them.
Expansion Nets Five New Groups
The return of an Expansion Team at Tau Kappa Epsilon has resulted in the creation of five new groups in 2016-17 and the revitalization of an additional two. TKE expanded to Chico State University (Theta-Pi | 21 men), Arkansas State University (Beta-Psi | 27 men), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Gamma-Epsilon | 27 men), Sacramento State University (Theta-Upsilon | 40 men), and the University of Illinois-Chicago (Nu-Iota | 16 men) this year. Additionally, our expansion team has worked throughout the year to revitalize our chapters at Auburn University (Beta-Lambda) and the University of Texas (Gamma-Upsilon).
We will be announcing in the next couple months where TKE will be expanding for the fall of 2017. We have a strong slate in the works!
Alumni Associations Show Tremendous Growth
TKE has long called itself “The Fraternity for Life.” It wasn’t until the past three years that our fraternity invested in staffing to boost the commitment to our largest section of membership – those who have graduated college. This investment is beginning to pay dividends. In January of 2016, TKE was proud to have 67 Alumni Associations. In January of 2017, we are happy to share that number has grown to 105 Alumni Associations. The addition of alumni receptions and events throughout TKE Nation has netted a growing engagement with our alumni. I hope many of those newly engaged Fraters are reading these very words and that they pass this letter along to another Frater who hasn’t been involved.
We all have an obligation and honor to continue to be involved in some way, no matter how large or small. Todd Farmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) leads our Alumni Engagement Team and is happy to work with you to start an alumni association or point you towards any events happening in your local area. I hope to see you at an alumni event in the future.
Resource Guides Provide Value
The largest challenge in our industry among collegiate groups is the constant turnover that we experience from one officer core to another. In attacking this challenge while seeking to provide value, the Offices of the Grand Chapter have focused on the creation of resource guides to educate our membership on successful practices.
This has led to twelve current guides posted at www.tke.org/guides. These guides range from proper candidate education, officer transitions, how to stay engaged as an alumnus, being a successful Crysophylos, how to restart your chapter, and a guide to utilizing social media among others. We have additional guides currently in production to further benefit our membership. Please check them out!
Alumni Success Story of the Day
Frater Gary LaBranche (Omicron, Ohio State) a past Grand Prytanis was recently appointed President and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) located in Alexandria, VA. Frater Gary previously served as the President and CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth in Chicago, IL.
NIRI board chair Valerie Haertel shared on his appointment, “We are thrilled to welcome Gary LaBranche to the NIRI community. Gary is a visionary leader with a stellar record of strengthening, growing and transforming professional associations. Through the course of his successful career he has proven to be thoughtful, inclusive and collaborative in working with all stakeholders for the betterment of the associations he has led. We will benefit from his financial markets and association industry knowledge as we continue to reimagine NIRI to ultimately serve our members in new and innovative ways.”
Congratulations to Frater LaBranche on this new opportunity to influence those across the globe!
On behalf of Tau Kappa Epsilon, thank you for your current engagement in our fraternity. Whether this is as a local or international leader, a collegiate member, parent, donor, alumnus, or simply someone who stumbled upon this letter, we appreciate your time in reading this and I look forward to providing further updates on a regular basis.
Yours in the Bond,
Donald E. Aldrich