In 1992, Temple’s Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity changed the history of Greek life.
Many probably aren’t even aware of what occurred.
According to TKE President Jody Dominick, Temple’s TKE chapter actually originated at Spring Garden College. But when Spring Garden folded a few years later, the entire fraternity picked up and moved to Temple University in 1992.
This marked the first time in Greek history that such a move occurred.
But, after that astounding occurrence, TKE lost its momentum at Temple as well.
The fraternity occupied a house on campus next to Pi Lambda Phi until 1999, when many of the brothers graduated or transferred.
There was little to no pledging for the next few years after losing the house.
Now TKE is making a comeback.
In the fall of 2002, four 5th-year students who were TKE brothers got together with friends around campus, mostly freshmen, and proposed an idea: recruit more pledges.
Twelve pledges agreed, bringing the TKE’s membership total to sixteen.
However, since the whole group decided collectively to re-introduce TKE to Temple’s active Greek community, the 12 new guys were not considered real pledges.
They weren’t required to go through initiation, just ceremonial procedures to be recognized as brothers.
The 16 active brothers have recruited eight pledges for the spring 2003 semester, which is an unusually high number for spring.
They plan on utilizing a six-week program this term to initiate the pledges.
The TKE brothers also plan on working with the Special Olympics as volunteers on May 3.
This event has long been TKE’s chosen community participation activity nationwide.
Although they still haven’t bought a house with letters (they currently gather at a brother’s house on Diamond and Carlisle Streets), they plan to next spring.
They hope to purchase a house near other fraternity houses on 16th Street, and eventually transform it into the new fraternity row.
The fraternity plans to continue the typical tradition of parties on campus.
However, in the future, they plan on being exclusive and low-key.
“We’re not a frat, we’re a fraternity. We’re not trying to buy 70 cases of beer and open the door,” said Social Chair Rob Homan.
After the recent occurrences at other fraternities, brothers are now forced to be careful about the types of events they hold, and who they allow inside.
“Next year, we want to change the reputation of fraternities at Temple,” Homan said.
According to Dominick, fraternities aren’t just about partying.
“As president, I want what is best for Temple’s Greek organization, and despite what those outside the system may think, fraternities are an excellent way to make lifelong friendships and learn leadership skills,” Dominick said.
According to the “Five Facts About Fraternities and Tau Kappa Epsilon” pamphlet, 76 percent of U.S. senators, 85 percent of our nation’s top executives and 71 percent of men listed in Who’s Who in America were all fraternity brothers.
TKE has many famous attributes to its name. Well-known TKE brothers include Elvis Presley, Terry Bradshaw and Ronald Reagan.
Drexel’s TKE house recently appeared in rapper Eve’s “Satisfaction” video.
Currently, the fraternity has 220,000 active members nationwide and 277 active college chapters, more than any other fraternity.
Temple’s TKE hopes to grow as well.
“We’re very excited to bring TKE back to Temple, and we encourage whoever is interested to check us out,” said Treasurer John Baumgardner.
With such determination among the brothers, Tau Kappa Epsilon’s future looks bright.
Casey Kockler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.