Founders' Day 2015 - Bob Barr, PGP
This Founders' Day, as I join all of you in reflecting on the history of our beloved Fraternity, now 116 years young, I continue to be awed by the innumerable accomplishments of Tau Kappa Epsilon. From local chapters performing valuable services for and in their communities to distinguished alumni changing the world in virtually all fields of endeavor, Fraters in the Bond have strived to reach our goal of Better Men for a Better World.
In so many ways, we've done just that. We have indeed built a better world through building better men. On behalf of all Tekes everywhere, I thank you for your part in that magnificent effort.
In 1899, when TKE was born, our Founders started the Fraternity with the purpose of preparing men for the challenges of society, certainly a noble endeavor. It was our very first Grand Prytanis, Lester H. Martin, recalling his time with Founder Settles, who stated, "The idea, as it struck brother Settles, was not a Fraternity in the usual acceptation, but an organization for the development of men to fit them to cope with the world when their school days were over and they would be forced up against the stern realities of life."
Much as America's founding fathers before them, our Fraternity's Founders were pioneers filled with the spirit of building a new and better enterprise—not just for them, and not just for their time, but for all brothers for all time.
These men laid the foundation for joining collegiate men together not based on wealth, rank or honor but on something more important and timeless—personal worth and character—in a bond that provided equal opportunity for all college men to join in a worthy endeavor.
In TKE, the term fraternity man took on a new and positive meaning, something that has endured to this day 116 years later.
Yes, our Founders truly were visionaries. It's up to each of us, as their progeny, to not only continue to live that vision and that experience in the real world but to pass it on to those who follow us, to ensure it lives and guides, not only our own lives, but the lives of the Fraters whom we touch and all men, women and children we come in contact with throughout our own lives.
As I reflect back on the impact of our great Fraternity, I'm encouraged by the progress we've made just in this past year. For the first time in a generation since 1992, our chapters and colonies initiated more than 4,000 new men. Our charitable giving has reached new heights; collegiate and alumni Tekes raised more than $300,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
TKE has continued to expand to new colleges and universities, with our new colony at University of Alaska Anchorage and charter issued to Upsilon-Omega Chapter at Santa Clara University. These accomplishments and so many more are a very real and proud tribute to the hard work and dedication of our active members and of the alumni volunteer teams who educate and support our mission. In celebrating our 116th birthday, we know our TKE work is not done nor should it be. In fact, it is and will never be completely done. Tekes never just sit back and rest on their laurels. As responsible Fraters, we know we must constantly strive for excellence in our daily actions and demand the same from our fellow Fraters. Better Men for a Better World is a commitment we make each and every day to each other and our beloved Fraternity.
It's a challenge I proudly accept without hesitation as I know all of you do as well.
Fraters, I love the Fraternity.
Yours in the Bond,