History of the Order of the Golden Eagle

History of the Order of the Golden Eagle

Dr. William V. MuseTau Kappa Epsilon has many awards that honor Fraters who have fulfilled specific needs of our great Fraternity. From Top Tekes to Fraternity for Life recipients, all are vital to the success of the organization. There is one award, however, that tops the list – the Order of the Golden Eagle (OGE). Only a handful of men have received the coveted recognition, but each should be seen as a model of what it means to be a Teke.

The OGE was instituted by then Grand Prytanis, Leland F. Leland, in 1951 to represent the highest award given to an individual within Tau Kappa Epsilon. The primary criteria is an alumnus of the Fraternity who has contributed most significantly and materially to the advancement and welfare of TKE. The official description of the award is: 

"The award shall consist of a beautifully modeled spread eagle bearing on his breast the amorial bearings of Tau Kappa Epsilon. This Golden Eagle surmounts an estoile of five with arms pattee, braced all within a wreath of laurel, nimbused and rayed of six; debruising the lower section of the wreath a scroll lettered: The Order of the Golden Eagle."
The eagle being spread is meant to show it during gliding flight and symbolizes the swift action, strength and distinct foresight of the fraternity's needs, and the mobile courage and power to contribute to it significantly. The estoile (also known as a star) of five with flared arms stands for the five founders of TKE and symbolizes how their great contributions should inspire all Fraters to emulate their achievements.
The ancient Greeks crowned the victors with the laurel wreath and is why this symbol is used to show recognition of the contributions of the alumnus as an accomplished action.
Nimbused means glorified as by rays of a radiant light of glory which further emphasizes the significance of the award.
Rayed of six describes the equally spaced main rays who represent an equilateral triangle with a base at the bottom and another over it with a base at the top to make six significant points, rayed to represent the six qualities that make a contribution outstanding:
  • Dedication to purpose
  • Generous measure of time
  • Working harmoniously with others
  • Generosity of spirit
  • Spirit of sacrifices

The first Order of the Golden Eagle recipient was presented to William Wilson, the oldest surviving Past Grand Prytanis & National Founder, at an October 1951 meeting because he could not be present at Conclave (where the award is given out). Since then, only 46 men have been presented the medallion and certificate. Dennis "Buckwheat" Perry (Alpha-Nu, Univ. of New Hampshire) and Robert Planck (Epsilon-Omicron, Univ. of Houston) were the most recent recipients at the 2011 Conclave in San Antonio, Texas. The entire list is in order of acceptance:

Order of the Golden Eagle Recipient Chapter
William Wilson Alpha
Dr. E.L. Theiss Mu
Sophus Goth Nu
L.W. Tuesburg Alpha
Dr. R.C. Williams Alpha-Pi
Leland F. Leland Theta
Harrold P. Flint Alpha
Dr. Eugene C. Beach Iota
Frank B. Scott Beta
Orval W. Diehl Beta
John Gehlmann Delta
Paul Dunmire Alpha-Theta
William A. Quallich Delta-Epsilon
Lenwood Cochran Gamma-Mu
William H. Wisdom Alpha-Xi
George D. Moe Alpha-Sigma
Dr. William V. Muse Epsilon-Epsilon
Ronald Reagan Iota
Harry J. Donnelly Alpha-Chi
Millard Kratochvil Alpha-Xi
Carroll C. Hall Iota
Rodney Williams, Jr. Alpha-Chi
Charles R. Walgreen, Jr. Upsilon
John A. Courson Alpha-Epsilon
Joel E. Johnson Iota-Omicron
James C. Logan Xi
Bruce B. Melchert Beta-Theta
James T. Kane Theta
James S. Margolin Psi
Robert J. Borel Omicron
Donald W. Peters Delta-Epsilon
Michael A. Moxley Beta-Beta
T.J. Schmitz Iota-Omicron
Thomas M. Castner Lambda-Lambda
John R. Fisher Gamma-Epsilon
Dwayne R. Woerpel Iota-Alpha
Gary A. LaBranche Omicron
Raymond W. Franklin Lambda-Alpha
Lon G. Justice Pi-Alpha
Gabriel Anaya Alpha-Omicron
Steven Muir Beta-Eta
Mark Fite Delta-Xi
Mark Romig Theta-Mu
Bill Metzger Epsilon-Nu
Dennis "Buckwheat" Perry Alpha-Nu
Robert Planck Epsilon-Omicron

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