In August 1978, TKE officially joined Frater Danny Thomas in the fight against childhood cancer by raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Now, 30 years later, TKE is recommitted to this amazing cause and will strive to continue the pledge set forth by our fellow Fraters. Even though Danny died in February 1991, his vision for St. Jude lives on.
Danny Thomas formed ALSAC to raise funds solely for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. And while the hospital struggled to sustain growth during the early years, support from individuals and organizations like TKE helped keep it afloat. Danny noted in the Fall '78 edition of THE TEKE, "Every time we'd think we had enough for next year, the researchers would come up with a bigger need. Fortunately, with people like my Fraters in TKE, we have been able to accomplish what we initially thought was a hopeless task."
Though this was the era when fraternities were viewed as wild and reckless, Danny noted how Tau Kappa Epsilon seemed to be driven by a different beat - one of goodwill.
"There's a unifying bond that grows from young men working together for community service to others that will keep them together for the rest of their lives," Danny noted during a 1978 interview for THE TEKE. "And when they work for something as important as saving the lives of children, that experience can't be equaled."
Tekes began a Keg Roll for St. Jude that same year, and chapters from across the country participated. One of the first chapters that participated was the Theta-Mu chapter at the University of New Orleans where their event was a marathon distance (26.2 miles). Many other chapters followed suit and these fundraisers continued until the early 1990s. The negative connotation the keg brought to the fraternal world ended the TKE Keg Roll, but its philanthropic impact on St. Jude is still being felt.
Danny further stated in THE TEKE: "I am proud to be a Teke, and I know St. Jude is going to approve of this marriage between the greatest Fraternity in the world and the greatest hospital with the most miraculous research center."
At Conclave 2015 in New Orleans, Chief Executive Officer Donald E. Aldrich and Past Grand Prytanis Bob Barr announced that Tau Kappa Epsilon fulfilled its 5-year, $1 million pledge to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital--a year early, nonetheless. Fraters across TKE Nation continue to support the children of St. Jude, but we still have work to do. Now is the time to make your work count!