The mythological ideal or patron of Tau Kappa Epsilon is Apollo, one of the most important of Olympian divinities. The Grecian god of music and culture, of light and the ideals toward which all Tekes must constantly be striving. Typifying the finest development of manhood, the selection of Apollo is most appropriate.
The official membership badge, made of either white or Roman gold and adorned with three white pearls, is by far the most important item of TKE insignia in general use. Only this badge may be worn by undergraduate members. Jeweled badges, crown set with pearls, diamonds, rubies or emeralds, according to choice, may be worn by alumni members. Frequently the standard membership badge is used as a token of engagement. Miniature badges are also available for mothers, sisters, or for engagement purposes. The TKE 'badge of gold', unique in its design and distinctiveness, has never been changed since its adoption. The meaning and connotations of the badge are revealed to members during initiation.
The official flower of the Fraternity is the red carnation. From the red carnation is derived the color for our Coat-of-Arms, flag, banner, and many other symbols. The official flower is worn during initiations and at TKE banquets. It is also represented by the Red Carnation Ball, a banquet and dance celebrated by most TKE chapters each year.
Red Carnation
The TKE Coat-of-Arms consists of a shield of the Norman form, upon which is a bend with five equilateral triangles, surmounting a scroll bearing the initial letters of a secret motto in Greek, and surmounted by a skull, or death's head, three-quarters profile. This assemblage is done in the official colors, cherry and gray, properly mantled. Its connotation, or meaning, is also revealed by the initiation ritual. The Coat-of-Arms may be used only by official members of the Fraternity on stationery, jewelry, and other personal effects. It is used by the Fraternity upon its official stationery, membership certificates, and other documents. Distinctive and beautiful, the TKE Coat-of-Arms is vastly unique to that employed by any other Fraternity. Modified slightly several times during the early years of Tau Kappa Epsilon, the present Coat-of-Arms, adopted in 1926, was designed by Dr. Carlton B. Pierce and Ms. Emily Butterfield.
Coat of Arms
The present design of the TKE flag, as adopted at the 1961 Conclave, features five voided triangles, in cherry red, on a gray bend surmounting a red field. Due to it's patterning after the shield of the Fraternity Coat-of-Arms, the flag is readily associated with Tau Kappa Epsilon. Individual chapters may also purchase and use pennants and wall banners of various designs. These usually employ the name or Greek letters of the Fraternity and chapter, and may incorporate the basic TKE insignia. TKE insignia must be purchased from the Offices of the Grand Chapter.
Founders' Day
On or near January 10th of each year, undergraduate and alumni chapters of Tau Kappa Epsilon celebrate the founding of our Fraternity and honor the five Founders. This day, known as Founders' Day, is usually celebrated by a traditional banquet. At this celebration, contributions are collected for the Founders' Student Loan Fund, and the Grand Prytanis sends a subtle message to each chapter to be read as part of the program.
In April of 1921 members of the Fraternity at The Ohio State University made their way to the Conclave in Madison, Wisconsin. At the conclusion of the vote granting their charter as Omicron Chapter, one of the members pulled from his pants pocket a rusty horseshoe which the fraters had picked up along the way. Believing that the horseshoe had granted the chapter good luck, the tradition began to pass the horseshoe down to each chapter. The original horseshoe was lost during World War II at the Alpha-Chi Chapter, and was replaced with a new horseshoe to continue the tradition. In mid-1995, the original horseshoe was discovered by Past Grand Prytanis Rodney Williams among some artifacts belonging to Alpha-Chi Chapter, which had been held for years by a charter member of the chapter. At the 49th Biennial Conclave, the original TKE horseshoe from Omicron Chapter was displayed, and the story behind its loss explained.
Horse Shoe
Symbol and Colors
The primary symbol of the Fraternity is the equilateral triangle. It appears proudly upon the Fraternity's badge, upon it's Coat-of-Arms, and upon the Fraternity flag. Equal-sided, representing the striving toward a full and equal development of mind, body, and heart, it means much within ranks of our Fraternity. It serves as a reminder, too, of the early days of the Fraternity and the traditions established by its founders, since the first three chapters of Tau Kappa Epsilon, which supplied the foundations for its growth, formed an equilateral triangle in their geographical relationship. The official colors of Tau Kappa Epsilon are cherry and gray.


As perscribed by Black Book, Chapter XXII, Sec. 2, the following are hereby adopted as traditions of the Fraternity:

First: Death of Members. Upon the death of a member of a collegiate chapter, the members of such chapter shall wear the black ribbon under their badges for a period of fourteen days.

Second: Death of a Grand Officer. Upon the death of any of the Grand Officers, or of a Past Grand Prytanis, the members of all collegiate chapters shall wear the black ribbon under their badges for a period of 14 days.

Third: Wearing Badge. No member shall at any time permit his badge to be worn by a member of the opposite sex, except when pre-engaged or engaged to be married or married.

Fourth: Wearing the Badge to Commemorate the First Three Chapters. The badge shall be worn with the right side vertical in commemoration of the geographical location of the first three chapters in the form of an equilateral triangle, having its right or west side in a vertical or north-and-south line.

Fifth: Founders’ Day. January 10th in each year shall be known and celebrated as Founders’ Day by each collegiate chapter, each alumni association, and the Grand Prytanis shall send a suitable message to be read as a part of the program of each celebration.

Sixth: Parents’ Day. The Sunday in May of each year which is celebrated nationally as Mother’s Day shall also be celebrated by the Fraternity as Mother’s Day, and either the same day or some other day shall be celebrated as Father’s Day, at which time the parents of collegiate chapter members shall be entertained as the guests of the chapters with appropriate ceremony, provided that by resolution properly certified and filed with the Chief Executive Officer, any chapter may substitute a different day for Mother’s Day.

Seventh: Songs. At all banquets a Fraternity song shall be sung before those present are seated, and before Grace is said, and at the close the college alma mater shall be sung.

Eighth: Correspondence. All personal and Fraternity correspondence between Fraters in Tau Kappa Epsilon shall close with the phrase “Yours in the Bond.”

Ninth: Use of Colors:

(1) Whenever the national flag or Fraternity flag are flown together, the national flag shall at all times take precedence, flying either above or on the right.
(2) The national and Fraternity flags shall be displayed at full mast on:
(a) National holidays or celebrations when customary or appropriate.
(b) Occasions or celebrations by the institution at which the chapter is established.
(3) Both flags shall be displayed at half mast on occasions of national or institutional mourning.

(4) The Fraternity flag shall be displayed alone at full mast on:
(a) Days of Fraternity celebration, such as Founders’ Day, Father’s and Mother’s Day and other special occasions.
(b) The days when the Conclave of the Grand Chapter is in session.
(c) During official or invited visits of a Past Grand Prytanis, Grand Officer, or Volunteer or any distinguished visitor to whom honor is due.
(d) Whenever ordered by the Grand Prytanis, Grand Council or Grand Chapter.
(5) The Fraternity flag shall be displayed alone at half mast on:
(a) Days of mourning for a deceased member of the chapter, the time to be fixed by resolution of the chapter.
(b) On the death of a Past Grand Prytanis, or Grand Officer.
(c) Whenever days of mourning may be proclaimed by the Grand Prytanis, Grand Chapter or Grand Council.
(6) The Fraternity flag shall be used to drape the coffin of a member of the Fraternity in good standing when the ritual is to be used or may, at the request of the family, be so used when the ritual is not to be used.

Tenth: Use of Coat of Arms. The full coat of arms may be used by any member of the Fraternity in good standing upon his stationery, jewelry or other articles of personal use.

Eleventh: Little Sister Organizations. Auxiliary organizations or Little Sister groups, composed of collegiate women and affiliated with a collegiate chapter, are prohibited.

Properly Displaying the TKE Flag

In addition to the traditions outlined above through the Black Book of Tau Kappa Epsilon, the TKE flag should always be displayed so as to represent the Coat of Arms.

When hung from a flag pole or horizontally, the bend begins in the bottom right and continues to the upper left and the triangles should point to the upper left.

When the flag is hung vertically, the bend begins in the bottom right and continues to the upper left and the triangles should point to the upper left as well.