2019 Founders' Day Address - Christopher T. Hanson, Grand Prytanis
January 10, 2019
My Fellow Fraters,
Today marks the 120th anniversary of the founding of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. As we celebrate this milestone, we have an opportunity to reflect on the illustrious history of our Fraternity and to dream about our collective futures together this year.
We often recall the vision of our five founders to create a fraternity that was revolutionary in its progressive selection of members; valuing personal worth and character instead of the exclusionary requirements of our peers. I am especially proud of their foresight and the vast membership that TKE has grown to achieve since that time. TKE Nation now exceeds 285,000 lifetime members and continues to grow stronger every year.
As Grand Prytanis, I have experienced firsthand the amazing benefits our bond bestows upon those that choose to join. Our programming and leadership development opportunities help to develop and expand upon the true potential contained within each of us. Our philanthropic work for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other charitable organizations has a profound effect on the lives of those around us. Through these experiences and additional outreach efforts in our communities, we continue to foster next generation leadership among our collegiate and alumni members as the Fraternity for Life.
As the new year kicks off, our Fraternity is poised to capitalize on strategic growth opportunities that stem from our recent policy changes and internal accountability. We are becoming a stronger and healthier organization by coupling our ever-present grit and determination with bold initiatives and an overarching commitment to excellence. All of which are components of a championship culture.
In order to maximize our opportunities this year, we need to overcome the challenges and limitations that we all too often impose upon ourselves. What new goal can we achieve? Where will the road ahead take us? How will we influence the next chapter in TKE’s history?
TKE ideals and values endure through generations and connect our past to our future. The experiences that we share become the moments that unite us together as one TKE Nation. Let’s commemorate and celebrate those that came before us, while preparing and leading for the generations yet to come.
If we look back to our Centennial Celebration, now twenty years ago, a multitude of corollaries and visions continue to ring true. Past Grand Prytanis Gary LaBranche presided over the festivities and delivered remarks that touched on the legacy of success bequeathed to us: “a legacy of challenges met and overcome; of impossible goals made possible.” He went on to speak about alumni associations and alumni engagement. In fact, announcing a goal of having more active alumni than any other college fraternity by January 10, 2024, the date of our 125th anniversary.
As a young chapter Prytanis attending the festivities in Boston, I remember hearing those words and feeling a tremendous honor to be a part of TKE’s second century. It was truly the day the past met the future. Frater LaBranche further stated that “We cannot shelter our responsibility for the future of our Fraternity.” Now, following in his footsteps as your Grand Prytanis, I cannot echo that sentiment strongly enough today. This remains our call to action. We can and we must do better.
Fraters, in celebration of 120 years of Tau Kappa Epsilon, I ask that you all join me in a cohesive effort to embrace our values, expand our engagement, and fulfill our desire to be Better Men for a Better World. Let’s rekindle old bonds, make new ones, and embrace our opportunity to propel TKE forward in ways that no other organization has yet achieved. Together, we can make this dream a reality and demonstrate the power of the Fraternity for Life.
Looking ahead to August 1-4, be sure to mark your calendars and make plans to join us in Orlando, FL for the 60th TKE Conclave. It promises to be a magnificent celebration in the city where dreams do come true.
With utmost pride and enthusiasm, I say unto you all - Happy Founders’ Day. I love the Fraternity!
Yours in the Bond,
Christopher T. Hanson
Click here to read the Founders' Day Addresses from previous years.