April 10, 2009

Tau Kappa Epsilon Celebrates 50 Years

VALDOSTA - Members of Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Zeta Nu chapter celebrated the fraternity’s 50th anniversary at Valdosta State University on Saturday, April 4, in the University Center Cypress Room. Remaining charter members Dr. Lamar Pearson, Levis Deweese, Dr. Hugh McIntyre, Alan Pendelton, Robert Waters and Paul Webbwell gathered with about 75 other people who have been involved in the Zeta Nu chapter throughout the years.

“It is great to have lived long enough to see a 50th anniversary,” said Pearson, who graduated in 1961. “A lot of wonderful memories are associated with the people here today. I don’t think I’ll see the 75th anniversary, but if I’m still alive and have somebody to push my wheelchair, I’ll come back.”

Returning to Valdosta State University brought back memories for many of the older fraternity members. Alan Pendelton, ’61, of Valdosta, Ga., said the bonds he formed and the memories he made as a member of the fraternity are the strongest of his life. To him, Valdosta State “will always be VSC,” but he mentioned his amazement at the tremendous transformation the campus has experienced since his college years.

Pearson recalled that TKE dues were $5 a month. The retired VSU history professor also commented about former U.S. President and TKE member Ronald Reagan’s campus visit. Pearson said Reagan ignored reporters and other onlookers and headed straight to meet with his fellow fraternity members.

“It’s been a great experience being a TKE. We got to meet President Reagan, but he wasn’t president then. We even got an invitation to a White House luncheon,” said Pearson, who has contributed more than $100,000 to the university during his 50-year association with the campus. “A good experience was also being one of the original brothers when we went from an affiliate to a national -- to a Mu Alpha affiliate to Zeta Nu. That was special.”

At the event Sean Nichols, ’99, who is a member of the chapter’s board of trustees, discussed starting an alumni association for the Zeta Nu chapter of TKE.

“We are currently petitioning for a charter for a Zeta Nu alumni association through TKE International Headquarters,” said Nichols, who is overseeing the project. “We’re going to start our own Zeta Nu alumni association so we can stay in touch and put together more events like this.”

The evening turned solemn when the group honored charter and other members who have died. Before taking a respectful moment of silence, Nichols, a former Zeta Nu president, addressed the crowd of about 40 people about the need to keep the memories of their fallen brothers alive.

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