Buckwheat Celebrates 40 Years of TKE Service
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - During the last four decades, Tau Kappa Epsilon has seen many terrific men become members in college and go on to prominence in their chosen profession. A select number of these men gained their prominence within the doors of International Headquarters. One has had such an influence on the continued success of TKE, he is idolized whenever his name comes up.
The man - the myth - the legend - Dennis "Buckwheat" Perry.
Approximately 100 of Buckwheat's closest Fraters and friends gathered in Indianapolis to honor one of the most famous men in the Fraternity. Frater Tim Murphy (Omicron, The Ohio State Univ.) emceed the event that recognized his 40-years of service. Frater Mike Moxley (Beta-Beta, North Carolina State Univ.) spoke about "Uncle Buck’s" impact to the crowd.
"The greatest of TKE's traditions is that of sharing our Fraternity experience with others. The most famous Fraters; the ones with their names in the Black Book; the Founders, the National Founders and the Expansion Leaders, all earned their place in history because of their passion for membership, the sharing of our fraternity with others. In the entire history of TKE, no one has shared the fraternity experience with more men than has Buckwheat. That is why he is our most beloved Frater and probably the most inspiring Teke ever. TKE loves you Buckwheat."
One-by-one, men came to the stage talking about his accomplishments and how he exemplifies TKE's principles. A special award was presented, thanking him for his selfless service as a Knight of Apollo. No words capture how grateful the Grand Council, TKE Offices of the Grand Chapter and entire TKE Nation are. Send Frater Buckwheat a note by clicking here.
More about Buckwheat
In 1969, Dennis "Buckwheat" Perry (Alpha-Nu, University of New Hampshire) became the Recruitment Chairman's Assistant at the Alpha-Lambda Chapter at Kansas State University. He planned all of the summer recruitment events including cookouts, mixers, and even set the schedule for the chairman's visits. It was during this time that he became intrigued by the idea of recruitment, a passion he still holds dear even today. The chapter broke every record TKE had during a time dubbed as "The Fraternity Depression."
Brought in to a summer recruitment conference held at the newly opened Offices of the Grand Chapter in 1972, Frater Buckwheat was asked by the Grand Council why he was so successful during a time with steady declining recruitment numbers. After much discussion, Executive Vice President Frater T.J. Schmitz (Iota-Omicron, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) decided to create a position dedicated solely to recruitment. The idea had never been approached before in the interfraternal world and, so it's effectiveness was untested.
"January 1st, 1973, I came on staff with the approach that we were going to run this like a business," said Frater Buckwheat. "We had mass marketing plans, ran the first ever newspaper ad and recruitment materials to spread the word about TKE. Within four years every fraternity headquarters adopted this idea because of our success."
Armed with the ability to sell the fraternity to prospective members, Frater Buckwheat set out to start chapters from scratch. He quickly fell in love with the west and spent much of the first twenty years expanding in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and many more. His most memorable moment was a special hello from Frater Ronald Reagan (Iota, Eureka College).
"In the early days of his campaigning, the secret service always let Tekes past security for the sole reason that they wore the letters T-K-E," said Frater Buckwheat. "But, what keeps me going all these years is a small gesture by then-President Reagan during a difficult time in my life. I had surgery and was recovering in my room, when a nurse came in all flustered. There was a huge bouquet of red carnations from the President of the United States. They said, 'Who is this guy that would get flowers from the President?' But that's the kind of guy he was and it really touched me."
During the eight years of President Reagan's administration, he sent Frater Buckwheat a telegram to read at each of the new chapter installations. On top of that, Frater Buckwheat said he gets several phone calls a year from Fraters who say thank you for believing in them. There is no greater joy in his life, he said, than taking those phone calls and seeing the difference he makes.
During his 35-year tenure on the TKE Professional Staff, Frater Buckwheat has travelled around the United States and Canada helping men realize their potential and strive to be gentlemen of TKE. Happy Birthday Frater Buckwheat from the Offices of the Grand Chapter and the entire TKE Nation.
Details on How to get Buckwheat to your campus
For a limited investment , Buckwheat will come to your campus and help your members and advisors put together a great recruitment. Chapters interested should contact him at the Offices of the Grand Chapter (317)872-6533, and check availability. Chapters accepted to the program, who produce 10 or more new initiates over results from the previous academic year, will get a refund on their recruitment consultation fee as a reward for succeeding! His schedule fills up very quickly, so be sure to plan ahead. Call Buckwheat today for success tomorrow!
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