Letter from our President

TKE Mu-Omega Alumni Association

July 30, 2020
Dear Fraters & Friends of our Fraternity,

Greetings to each of you.  Sorry it has taken so long for me to send out any kind of communication to you. Things have been busy with me and with the TKE Mu Omega Alumni Association (AA) so I will try and catch you up as best I can.

First to update you on my health – Many of you may not know, but I have suffered and battled Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  Earlier this year, my AML relapsed  but I am now in remission (again) and waiting for my 2nd bone marrow transplant to occur (tricky with COVID issues going around, etc.) I am feeling fine. Also, earlier in 2020,  I retired.

By now you probably know, we rescheduled our 50th Anniversary Celebration to October 16, 2021 – we tried to keep it this year, but the City of Fairfax imposed restrictions that would make it impossible to do any celebrating.  It is never to early to get your ticket for the celebration in 2021.  Please RSVP to this important event to celebrate our long history.  Our chapter in 50 years has initiated 899 young men to our bond.  Since, we have lost 45 Fraters to “Chapter Eternal,” and today, we are missing digital contact information for nearly 1/3 of our Fraters. 

With that in mind, big time SHOUTOUT to Fraters Rick Lowrey (scroll #276), Don Early (#249), and our Decade Champions, Fraters Joe Kelliher (#123), Jim Winkler (#425), Marty Meehan (#345), Travis Floyd (#614) and  Mitch Gilman (# 772) for leading the task of verifying our scroll listing and finding “lost fraters.” Our focus is to gather contact info (email addresses preferred) so we can keep in contact. Fraters, this is of UTMOST importance to us as an alumni Association.  You can help this effort.  Please click on the link below to review the list and update any Frater record.  We try to keep everyone up to date via Facebook and LinkedIn but some Fraters choose not to participate in social media (understandable) so we need to communicate via email or the old fashioned way – phone calls. 

Speaking of phone calls, I received a phone call from Frater Bob Denig (scroll #108) on Wednesday – genuinely nice to hear from him – first time speaking to him in over 40 years. I have his contact info if anyone would like to talk with him – he is looking forward to staying in touch – even put October 16, 2021 on his calendar.  Speaking of contact information, and related to “Lost Fraters,” feel free to reach out to any AA board member if you are looking for an email or phone number for a Frater.  We would be happy to facilitate you reconnecting. 

TKE International Alumni Directory – you “will” be contacted by a third-party publishing company regarding the 2020/21 Alumni Directory sponsored by HQ – this is legit – it is expensive – you don’t need to buy anything if you don’t want to, but please take the time to update your information with them. Your info will not be shared with any other vendors.  Likewise, if you would prefer, go to mytke.org and update the information yourself.  The AA benefits from that by securing our ability to contact you with updates on the association activities supporting our mission.

We have as a Board made some strides in establishing Our Mission as the TKE Mu Omega Alumni Association (yes, we are registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission):

  • Fellowship  – Fellowship is the most important part of our Mission – the Alumni Association main focus is on you – our fellow Alumni
  • Networking – We have a wide variety of skill sets and this will be one of our primary ways to support our undergraduates in the future. (and Alumni).  Be sure to register at TKE Mu Omega Alumni LinkedIn Group
  • Scholarship – The Gene Barnes Scholarship will be supported by our Association; we do have a nice balance in the fund to assist as leverage in recruiting new Fraters and assisting them with their education endeavors.

The Board of Advisors (BoA is the governing body for the undergraduate chapter) is making great progress with our recolonization of “George Mason TKE Colony” – TKE International HQ is sending an expansion expert (Frater Paul “PJ” Malafronte) to the GMU campus on August 20, 2020 – they already have a list of 120+ prospects that was provided to them by the University, so it looks to be a good start here – please follow the BoA updates provided by Board Chairman Mark Monson for further details.

Interested in serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for the next term beginning on October 1st? I have appointed Fraters Rick Lowrey and Wayne Spencer to be the nominating committee to have a slate of officers available to vote on for our September 23rd annual meeting. Please consider volunteering to serve. All officer positions are open for nominations.  If interested, please contact us through the LinkedIn or Facebook Groups, or send a message to muomegatke@gmail.com with your indication of interest.  Rick or Wayne will follow-up directly with you.

Facebook etiquette – we are developing guidelines for our Facebook page/all social media – please be mindful on the closed pages, we are all fraters and our pages should be treated with respect and courtesy. “Love, Charity, and Esteem.”

Lastly, please support our beloved Fraternity – due to COVID they are in operational mode but 95% of the operating income comes from the undergraduate members – which will be down significantly this year. A donation of $18.99 will make you a “Life Loyal TEKE” – it is tax deductible and you will be “esteemed” by your fellow fraters for having done so. Also, donations to the Gene Barnes Scholarship are always being accepted. You can contact me if interested.

Please text me at (703) 489-8107 or call if you have any questions or suggestions.
Yours in the Bond,
Steve Payne, Scroll #96
President Mu Omega Alumni Association
P.S. I am adding something I found on Facebook – please read!

The Pin You Wear
(This speech was given by Grand Histor Henry A. Burd, Alpha chapter, at the installation of Lambda Chapter in 1917.)

During the initiation this afternoon you were presented with a Pin, the emblem of Tau Kappa Epsilon. That emblem you now wear upon your breast. To you it is perhaps but a bit of gold set with pearls, and yet to you, even now, it must have little symbolism. The ceremonies of initiation must have given it a meaning which the uninitiated cannot know. To him it signifies only your allegiance to this as distinguished from other fraternities. To you it also signifies this, but beyond this, it has a deeper significance — a significance which will grow in meaning, in beauty, in sacredness as the years go by.

The Pin you now wear is the emblem of Tau Kappa Epsilon. It is a skull surmounted by a triangle in the angles of which are placed three pearls. The scroll symbolizes the bond of brotherhood which unites us. The Triangle symbolizes Deity. The Pearls symbolize purity.

To me this pin is a sacred heritage. I see inscribed on its scroll the names of many men. They are the names of men I came to know and to love in this Fraternity, men with whom I ate and slept, and worked and played. Men who influenced me strongly in the formative years of my life, and whose destiny may, in some small way, have helped to shape. Men who I have come to know and to revere in later years, men on whose judgement I rely, in whose integrity and honor I have utter faith, in whose true friendship I implicitly trust. There are names of those who are near, and those who are far removed. Some of them, in all human probability, I shall never see again, but the memory of our days together I shall never lose. There are names of some, but they few, thank God, who have passed on to join the Great Brotherhood beyond. Though they are gone, their memory lingers still.

This triangle binds together in sacred union the fraters of Tau Kappa Epsilon. It is a bond which distance does not loosen and time cannot sever. It encompasses nearly every state in the Union; it extends northward into Canada; it reaches the Orient. And everywhere the hearts of Tekes ring true, no matter what the nation or clime in which they live.
In the purity of these pearls I see the Inner lives of my fraters. Lives together under conditions in which deception was impossible and hypocrisy and sham were quickly brushed aside. Weaknesses are mercilessly revealed but mercifully corrected. Sterling qualities stand out with added prominence. And in this light, not dazzling brilliant but quietly revealing, I see young men lose there pettiness, their arrogance, their conceit, their self sufficiency. I see them become generous, humble, modest, sincere. I see them learn to live with their fellows, to give and to take, to sacrifice, to represent the rights of others, to value their opinions, to weigh their judgments. I see these men leave the active Chapter, make their homes for themselves, and take up their part of the business world— better fitted as homemakers, better fitted citizens, because under friendly and helpful conditions, and often without knowing it, they have learned much that is indispensable in the serious business of living.

This, Fraters, is what the Pin you wear means to me. This is the vision it reveals. To you it will in time come to mean much the same. The passing days and months will assemble the picture part by part, and the years will reveal the vision. Now you do not see or understand.

The pin you wear is our secret. Some day you will understand.