Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity: Coming Back to Arkansas State
JONESBORO – Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE), one of the most prominent national Greek letter fraternities, has been invited to return to Arkansas State University, largely because of enthusiastic support from the A‑State chapter's dedicated alumni.
Jerry Halsell, president of the Beta-Psi Chapter Alumni Association of TKE, joined Chancellor Tim Hudson and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rick Stripling this morning to sign an agreement authorizing re‑colonization of the chapter on the A-State campus.
"TKE had a strong 58-year history at A-State, a great heritage and a great tradition," Halsell told fellow TKE alumni and university officials at the signing. "We plan on being nothing short of what we were. We want to build character and scholastic accountability among members, and to serve the A-State community and the northeast Arkansas community."
Halsell emphasized the very valuable role interested undergraduate students have played over the past few years to help sustain interest in bringing back the chapter.
"We are delighted the TKEs are interested in coming back on campus. We are firm believers in the role that Greek life can play on a comprehensive campus," Hudson said. "We're especially happy it's an organization that has a history with Arkansas State University."
Stripling explained the university welcomed TKE back to the campus following a careful evaluation process.
"The end result is the Beta-Psi chapter is the one that was invited back," Stripling said. "They have a long history, a legacy here, and that is very important. We see that connecting to the students today."
The national TKE headquarters issued a news release announcing plans to return to Arkansas State.
Several local TKE alumni gathered in the Administration Building lobby to witness the historic occasion. TKE was first chartered at Arkansas State University March 6, 1949.
One of the chapter's most famous initiates was Elvis Presley. Chapter members Ricky Husky, Don DeArmon and Jeff Shearer made fraternity and university history in October 1960 when the fraternity invited the singer to join TKE.
Presley responded by inviting the TKEs to Graceland. Faculty adviser Bob Howe accompanied the trio to Memphis as they welcomed the 25-year-old rock 'n roll icon to TKE membership.
Their association with Elvis is featured in the university's 1961 yearbook and the summer 2006 issue of Voices, the magazine of the Arkansas State University Alumni Association.
Representatives of the national TKE headquarters have met several times with local area alumni to help prepare for re-colonizing the chapter and recruiting prospective members.
Beta-Psi's Alumni Association has remained strong during the interim period. The group’s activities in recent years earned them the National Top Tau Kappa Epsilon Alumni Association of the Year at their recent biennial conclave last August in New Orleans.
TKE alumni are involved in a fundraising campaign to build a house that will join seven other fraternities and five sororities who have chapter houses. More details about Beta-Psi’s plans are on the alumni chapter website.
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