On a cold winter’s night 113 years ago, five students determined to establish a new kind of fraternity, one that the world had never seen before.
*Watch my personal video message.*
The typical fraternities at that time recruited members based on how rich they were, where their families ranked in society, and what kind of honors were bestowed upon them. Once initiated, they would look down at those they deemed not worthy to join their ranks. Their strength came from being exclusive and birthright.
Joseph L. Settles, Owen I. Truitt, C. Roy Atkinson, Clarence A. Mayer, and James C. McNutt had a different kind of fraternity in mind. They wanted to recruit members not for wealth, rank, or honor, but for personal worth and character. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor or if you came from a prestigious family or not. Even more, it didn’t matter what race, ethnicity, or nationality you were. It didn’t matter what religion you practiced or if you had no faith at all. What did matter was whether you were a man of integrity and had the courage to live out your moral principles. Our Founders wanted to recruit a better man.
But that was not all. TKE’s purpose was also radically different from other fraternities. Our Founders envisioned a fraternity that would help each member grow in their mental, moral, and social abilities. Instead of circling the wagons to protect a privileged class, TKE was all about developing better men through self-improvement. Our Fraternity takes this responsibility seriously by providing great training and education programs, mentoring, and plenty of opportunities to practice learned skills. TKE’s strength comes from being inclusive and through personal effort.
After graduating, Joseph Settles and Owen Truitt served people’s spiritual needs by becoming ministers. James McNutt became a physician and practiced family medicine for more than 50 years. Roy Atkinson became an accomplished musician and community volunteer. Clarence Mayer founded a music and arts college. Each recognized a calling to do well by doing good. A better man is not content with selfish gain. A Teke wants to make the world a better place.
Better Men for a Better World. Our Founders’ intent is just as relevant today as it was 113 years ago. It has inspired generations of men to become wonderful husbands and loving fathers, exemplary professionals in every field including President of the United States, and pillars of their communities through giving of their time, talent, and treasure. As we begin our second century, this great heritage is in our hands now. Let us make our Founders proud.
Happy birthday TKE Nation! And many, many more.
Fraters, I love this Fraternity.
Yours in the Bond,
Edmund C. Moy