TKE Fulfills 5-Year, $1 Million Pledge to St. Jude

TKE Fulfills 5-Year, $1 Million Pledge to St. Jude

This story first appeared in the fall 2015 issue of THE TEKE magazine.

Four years ago at Conclave 2011 in San Antonio, Texas, Tau Kappa Epsilon publicly announced on stage that the Fraternity had committed to a five-year, $1 million pledge to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As a result, the Fraternity would name the MRI facility in the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Chili's Care Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

The announcement was cause for an overwhelming amount of cheer among a revitalized effort to give to the children of St. Jude, and then give even more. Following word of the Fraternity's remarkable pledge, an influx of events took place across the nation. From 30-hour bike riding events (Upsilon-Iota, IUPUI) to 80-hour trampoline jumpathons (Epsilon-Sigma, Central Oklahoma), Fraters of all ages were eager to host events on campus, in the community and by any other means to help the cause—namely, wild beards. Tau Kappa Epsilon and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital teamed up to hold No Shave for St. Jude Kids throughout the cold days of November. For the month, we encouraged our members to let their facial hair run rampant and unbridled in support of the children of St. Jude. Before long, #Beards4StJude took off on social media and the results were nothing short of amazing. Events like these proved the ability to have fun while supporting a truly remarkable cause.

When beards and mustaches weren't the center of conversation, Tekes were joining together in communities across North America to participate in the annual St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. And while the name of the event varied every year, our support was unyielding. In raising $45,000 in 2013 and more than $80,000 in 2014, the Fraternity proved to be a major supporter of St. Jude.

Since 1978, when Tau Kappa Epsilon first partnered with St. Jude, collegiate and alumni members of the Fraternity have worked diligently to support the lifesaving efforts of the hospital launched by Frater Danny Thomas from the Gamma-Nu chapter at the University of Toledo.

"There's a unifying bond that grows from young men working together for community service to others that will keep them together for the rest of their lives," Danny noted during a 1978 interview for THE TEKE. "And when they work for something as important as saving the lives of children, that experience can't be equaled."

The unifying bond as described by Frater Danny Thomas was evident from 2011–2015 and allowed the Offices of the Grand Chapter to make a shocking announcement. Following a stirring speech from a patient from St. Jude, Abby, and her father during Conclave, Chief Executive Officer Donald E. Aldrich and Grand Prytanis Bob Barr announced the Fraternity's accomplishment in achieving its five-year, $1 million pledge for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital—an entire year early!

The check—signed, unsealed and hand-delivered—prompted another standing ovation that mirrored the announcement made four years prior in San Antonio. Retweets, shares, and likes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram echoed the sensation in the grand ballroom of the New Orleans Marriott. The Spirit of the Fraternity was on full display.

This story first appeared in the fall 2015 issue of THE TEKE magazine. Read the full edition of THE TEKE at To receive your physical copy, become a Life Loyal Teke at

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Daniel Klopfenstein
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