Gules, on a bend argent, five equilateral triangles, bend wise,
at the first, voided. Crest- Above a peer's helm, a death's head, three-quarters
profile, proper. Mantling- Gules doubled argent. Motto- pi alpha omega epsilon
alpha. 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.
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.
The official colors of Tau Kappa Epsilon are cherry lake red and pure silver gray.
These colors are displayed in the official flower, the red carnation, and in the
official jewel of the fraternity, the pearl.
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
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 it's 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 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.
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 WWII at the Alpha-Chi Chapter (it 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 this past August,
the original TKE horseshoe from Omicron Chapter was displayed, and the story behind its
On the cold night of January 10, 1899, students of Illinois Wesleyan University in the small midwestern town of Bloomington had just returned from the Christmas holidays when Joseph L. Settles went to the room occupied by James C. McNutt and Clarence A. Mayer at 504 East Locust Street to propound organization of a new society on campus. Joined immediately by Owen I. Truitt and Roy C.Atkinson, these five men then drew up the first set of regulations for the Knights of Classic Lore, a society whose avowed purpose was "to aid college men in mental, moral, and social development." This organization would eventually become Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, and has grown into the world's largest social fraternity.<\p>
On or near January 10th of each year, undergraduate and alumni chapters of the
fraternity celebrate the founding of Tau Kappa Epsilon and honor the Five Founders.
There is usually a traditional banquet on this day. Fraters take time to remember the
vision of the Founders, and to reflect upon the commitments they have made to one another.