INDIANAPOLIS – In this edition of #TekeTuesday, the Offices of the Grand Chapter would like to recognize Frater Robert E. Smith, commonly referred to as Dean Bob, for his service and commitment to Tau Kappa Epsilon. Frater Dean Bob served as the catalyst behind the conception and creation of the newly developed Heritage Center. It is because of his passion and dedication that artifacts and memorabilia of Tau Kappa Epsilon have a place to call home.
Frater Dean Bob is an honorary initiate from the Offices of the Grand Chapter. Since his initiation, Dean Bob has been heavily involved with Tau Kappa Epsilon over the last ten years. He is the Associate Dean of Students at Shippensburg University where he works with veterans and Title IX investigations, hence the nickname "Dean Bob". In his free time, Dean Bob serves as the Grand Province Advisor for the Dutch Province and Chapter Advisor for Shippensburg University.
"About a year and a half ago, I visited HQ for the first time and saw the space where many Fraters hoped to display historic artifacts and items to honor some of our many well-known alumni," said Frater Dean Bob. "Unfortunately, the space was full of items and was being used as a mailroom at the time… I saw a great space, but it was not being used to it's fullest potential."
Frater Dean Bob knew the vacant space in Tau Kappa Epsilon's International Headquarters would be suitable to hold the memories and artifacts of TKE. "I've done exhibits in Ocean City, NJ; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; and every year I do a historic exhibit at Shippensburg," said Frater Dean Bob.
With an opportunity to contribute something memorable to the Offices of the Grand Chapter, Frater Dean Bob began working toward his goal. He began collecting items specific to the history of TKE over the course of the next year; display cases, memorabilia from famous alumni and artifacts from the Offices of the Grand Chapter were all used in making the Heritage Center a reality.
In March 2014, Dean Bob would be given an opportunity to present his vision for the Heritage Center. "Frater James Upton (Iota-Omega, Glenville State College) and I set up a display in one of the conference rooms and asked to meet with Chief Executive Officer Donnie Aldrich," said Dean Bob. "We pitched the idea and it really was an easy sell… Aldrich gave us his blessing and could see the direction that we were heading in."
Four months later, Frater Dean Bob brought the articles and memorabilia he had been collecting over the past year from Pennsylvania to the Offices of the Grand Chapter in Indianapolis. "It was fun and I enjoyed hunting for items to help the exhibit become a reality," said Dean Bob.
After working for five days straight in the last week of July, the Heritage Center was nearly complete. Display tables of Ronald Reagan, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley and other notable alumni had filled the center of the room. Billboards and images of prior Conclaves and THE TEKE magazines had taken a place near the entrance. The Heritage Center was completed on August 1, 2014.
Take a look below to see the progression of the Heritage Center.
"The concept of a 'Heritage Center' goes back quite a few years and has been an idea that many individuals wanted to see come to life," said Dean Bob. "I'm happy to have been able to help. More important, I'm happy to have a space dedicated to notable Fraters and the history of Tau Kappa Epsilon."
The Offices of the Grand Chapter would like to thank Frater Dean Bob for his leadership and service in making the Heritage Center become a reality. His passion and excitement throughout the development of the Heritage Center has been inspiring.
For more information, or inquiries about donations to the Heritage Center, please contact:
317.872.6533 Ext. 252