TKE once, TKE, twice….
Maybe your chapter has a familiar cheer; our ending was NSFW, hopefully yours is better.
I am a former president (Prytanis in TKE-speak) of the EK chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon at Loyola University Chicago. The current EK chapter has won Top TKE Chapter, a prestigious national award.
While president, we won campus fraternity of the year, for helping our neighbors (a lot) following an intense Chicago blizzard. I don’t remember much competition for the campus award. Several fraternities on campus could have been inspirations for recently-released Animal House.
Leadership and collegiality
The leadership responsibilities of being president I liken to herding cats. Our old but charming house would have been beautiful if restored, but we didn’t have any money. The TKE house had no heat during two Chicago winters, once because the boiler was broken, and once because we couldn’t pay the gas bill. Clearly we didn’t have trust funds or helicopter parents! My job description never mentioned financing and maintaining This Old House! We survived somehow, though the house didn’t. We eventually donated the TKE house to the religious order of nuns that operated a close-by school, undoubtedly a form of penance.
Most of us turned out OK while still having a lot of fun. I still have the tee shirt from my pledge class, Benny’s Broad Jumpers, named after our pledge class Hegemon, Kirk Bennewitz.
Social media has helped me stay in touch with many TEKE friends. Fraters are as weird as ever, except now with families and jobs. A recent Facebook exchange included a frater’s observation about a tee shirt that said “don’t mess with an old man with a degree from Loyola”, to which another frater responded, “you graduated?!”
Life After TKE
I have enjoyed 40 years of marriage with my TKE sweetheart (she was my sweetheart first) and together we have four great kids.
My fraternity experience encouraged a form of entrepreneurship; maybe it’s really survival training, but that is a critical business skill, too. After graduating from Loyola, I passed the CPA exam, and went on to earn an MBA from The University of Chicago. I have worked for a Fortune 500 company, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and a couple of private companies.
Eventually I found my career, and mind, stagnating, and finally got up the courage to pursue my longtime dream of owning my own business. My wife and I started Lively Bottle, a seller of personalized fraternity gear – custom water bottles.
How did TKE prepare me for this journey? In a startup company, anything can happen. Need I say more?
Don’t Stop Learning!
“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after”, said Newton D. Baker. Your further education and on the job training quickly will supersede your undergraduate studies. Learn as much about technology as you can, because it will always differentiate you. And never quit networking. Believe it or not, your current peers, even TEKE’s, will be in a position to help one another in the future – networking is the source of most good jobs in the world.
As owner of Lively Bottle, I have learned a great deal about technology and digital marketing, art and design curation, and social media. We also have beautiful printing, which required learning commercial printing and color management.
Personalized Fraternity Spirit Wear
Creative people, such as artists and photographers, really appreciate our printing. Our website has design your own tools, and we also have licensing agreements with organizations such as TKE, and Delta Gamma, to which two of our daughters belong. Sports teams, businesses, and fraternities love Lively Bottle logo water bottles, in part because we can personalize by adding names and pictures.
As a college swimmer and water polo player, I also appreciate the fitness connection to our business. Lively Bottle encourages healthy hydration habits that I love promoting. Lively Bottles are reusable and made in USA and therefore environmentally friendly. We’d like to rid the world of disposable water bottles, admittedly a tall order.
Personalized Fraternity Gear TKE Water Bottles
The artwork presented below is a sampling of TKE water bottles available from Lively Bottle. The water bottle presented is a picture of the old TKE house at Loyola University Chicago, together with the commemorative wording of thanks from the nuns. We can print anything, and are happy to help with design. Contact me at [email protected] for your fraternity, business, or other personalized water bottle opportunities. Thank you! (We offer custom water bottles to non-TEKE’s, too, just contact me!)