Happy Founders Day 2011
I wish all Tekes across the world a Happy Founders Day. Today marks the 112th birthday of this wonderful Fraternity. It has been a long standing tradition that on Founders Day, the Grand Prytanis takes the opportunity to remind Tekes everywhere of our birth and the passionate vision of why our founding fathers established Tau Kappa Epsilon.
This is a time when we reflect on our tradition and ritual. It’s also a good time to talk about why our ritual is so important to us as a Fraternity. One of the primary functions of our ritual is to remind us of the wisdom of our Founders. We remember the names who gathered at Illinois Wesleyan on that cold night of January 10, 1899 to lay the cornerstones of Tau Kappa Epsilon - Joseph L. Settles, Owen I. Truitt, C. Roy Atkinson, Clarence A. Mayer, and James C. McNutt.
Through our ritual we are reminded of the guiding ideals and principles that provide the reasons for why TKE exists. We understand that this Fraternity "stands for men" and "we consider no man from the standpoint of those qualities and advantages he has not attained by personal effort." Has our fraternity experienced trying times in the past? Of course it has, but we know that "we stand for men whose manhood has withstood the test of trying conditions." We understand that the mark of a true Teke is his character - the character that allows him to persevere with all the changes and challenges it entails.
What else does our ritual do? It provides us a common, universal language that connects us to our past. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, leader or follower, our ritual provides a consistent way of bonding with every Frater on earth. These are all worthy reasons for participating in our ritual often, as I hope you all have a chance to do.
On this Founders Day, I would urge you all to celebrate and proclaim your TKE passion loudly. Indeed, you have much to be proud of as we continue to grow and prosper. As the largest social fraternity in the world today, I am happy to report that the second year of this biennium looks to be stronger than ever. We have moved the international offices into a beautiful building in Indianapolis, Indiana which reflects the very success of the Fraternity. Our headquarters, and the professional staff that call it home, are truly impressive. Our volunteers across the country continue to give their time, talent and treasure to insure that Tau Kappa Epsilon continues to prosper. Our collegiate Fraters continue to excel on campuses across the country. We wouldn't be who we are today without the continued effort of each and every one of you. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your Grand Prytanis. A huge "thank you" goes out to one and all.
Fraters, I love this Fraternity!
Dr. Herbert L. Songer, Grand Prytanis
Alpha-Upsilon, Fort Hays State University