TKE Foundation Completes Leadership Academy $1 Million Match

TKE Foundation Completes Leadership Academy $1 Million Match

In 2014, the TKE Foundation entered into a commitment to fully endow the Charles R. Walgreen Jr. TKE Leadership Academy. Completing the Elmer Smith $1 million match would ensure future generations of Tekes continue to benefit from TKE Leadership Academy by maintaining low participant costs and creating greater opportunities to support Fraters accepted to attend the program.

Today, it is our pleasure to announce the completion of the Elmer Smith match! This historic achievement would not be possible without the commitment of over 600 donors contributing more than 1,700 gifts.

Foundation donors cover 90% of the cost for the 72 Fraters selected to attend Leadership Academy each year. For Fraters like Dominick Gillette (Delta-Zeta, Southeast Missouri State), donor support was essential to his Leadership Academy experience.

“At the time I attended the Academy, I was facing some financial hardship, and if not for the Foundation donors, I would have had to turn down this amazing experience,” Dominick shared.

For Dominick and many other Academy graduates, the lessons and skills learned during the program have a lifelong impact on their personal and professional development.

Mason Ohnemus
Epsilon, Iowa State
2018 Leadership Academy XXXII

Mason Ohnemus

“I attended the TKE Leadership Academy in the summer of 2018. I was currently a freshman in college and had a passion for the Fraternity but lacked many of the skills needed to lead the men. After going to the Academy, I understood what was needed of me in my chapter and have since applied the lessons with great success. The Academy helped me become the Fraternity man I want to be.”

Michael Cerussi
Nu, California, Berkeley
2009 Leadership Academy XXIII

Michael Cerussi

“The Leadership Academy had a great impact on my life because it showed me how to more effectively coach others, and I continue to use these skills in the workplace and my personal life today. It taught me great lessons on how to make a deeper connection with someone and understand their point of view and, in turn, develop trust and compassion with this person. This has led to great growth in myself and in my career as I continue to employ these learnings.”

Christopher T. Hanson
Past Grand Prytanis
Alpha-Pi, George Washington
1999 Leadership Academy X

Christopher T. Hanson

“My experience at TKELA X in the summer of 1999 helped to set the stage for my personal journey through leadership positions in TKE and in my professional career at the National Institutes of Health. The personal discovery, leadership lessons, and experiential activities I encountered provided me with the skills and building blocks for success in life. One of the highlights of my time as Grand Prytanis was returning to witness this again and to speak with the participants. Seeing their energy and passion firsthand brought back fond memories of my time in their shoes. These memories, the enhanced friendships I’ve maintained, and the developmental impact of the TKELA continue to spur me as a donor and strong supporter of the program.”

Thank you to our many generous Fraters and friends across TKE Nation who have contributed toward the Leadership Academy match and continue to support Tekes selected to attend this premier program.

To make a gift in support of our mission, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Rachel Stevenson

317-872-6533 ext. 246

The Grand Council of Tau Kappa Epsilon has released our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Looking for a way to contribute to the future of TKE? Make a gift to Life Loyal Teke today.