Ken Myers '64: Q&A

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Brother Myers can be found in the second row, last Brother on the right.

How did you meet your wife? You mentioned she was your pin-mate. How does that process work?

“Summer of ’64. Walking across the HUB parking lot. Introduced through a friend of my little brother. She became my pin-mate that December.  I don’t know how the process works today, but when I was in Pi Chapter a pin-mate was next thing to a fiancé.

She was recognized and respected throughout the fraternity, and the pledges were always required to know her name.  After being pinned, the entire house would show up in tuxes outside her window at night with candles to serenade her with our favorite TEKE sweetheart songs and present her with a bouquet of red carnations. Usually the pin-mate would end up engaged and married to the frater.  This is how it worked when I was in Pi Chapter, and it worked well for me. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last September.”

Aside from your wife, what three things did you gain from TKE that you consider most valuable?

“The most valuable thing of course was the camaraderie with my brothers when I was in college; as an engineering student, I didn’t have much of a social life before joining the fraternity, and Pi Chapter changed that.  It had a very active social program, always something going on: intramural athletics, IFC singing competitions, weekend parties, Sunday dinners, service projects, rush etc.  Finally, I got to know and appreciate a close-knit, diverse team of men, all with different personalities and outlooks than mine but with common goals and the will and determination to achieve them.”

What advice do you have for future generations of TKE Brothers?

“Use your time in TKE to get to know your brothers, work and play together with them and make life-long friendships. Find a good woman who is interested in your well-being, create a family, pursue your career goals, but don’t forget your roots and TKE ideals.”

Tell me about your children, family, etc. (Were any of them fraternity or Sorority members)?

“My wife Lee has traveled the country and supported me in a 28-year Air Force career followed by 24 years so far with industry. All my military assignments and years in industry have been rewarding, and we were fortunate to be blessed with five healthy kids along the way. It was not always easy raising five kids, and there is not enough space here to recount all the war stories I could tell but somehow I think my fraternity experience helped prepare us to get through the many difficult moves and growing pains endured with our children.  None of our kids chose to follow in our footsteps but we are grateful that they all succeeded with degrees from good universities and are now independent and active in their own professional careers.”

How did your time in TKE help prepare you for life outside of Penn State?

“TKE gave me leadership and social skills that have helped throughout my career.  I learned to work with others and appreciate their diverse views and how to work toward and accomplish common goals.  Social lessons like simple table manners, respect for others and proper dress codes were things that provided many intangible benefits throughout my career and would not have been obvious to me without the fraternity experience.”

If your pledge class were to reunite today, how do you think they’d stack up against current TKE Brothers?

I have not had much contact with the current actives but I read Pieces of Pi very carefully. The impression I get is that my pledge class would have been no match for the current TKE brothers; but those of us who made it through initiation probably withstood more hardship and became more closely bound than the current brothers.  Over the years, the composition of Pi Chapter residents has changed, and I believe the current brothers are a superior breed compared to residents of other years when unfortunate problems occurred.  Thanks to the efforts of the actives and many devoted alumni, Pi Chapter came back to greatness. Time has also taken a toll on many Pi traditions that I believe were helpful in molding us as brothers and future citizens of this nation.  We were certainly never perfect, and change is not always bad, but our TEKE ideals are timeless.  I trust that the many new ways of doing things will sustain the fraternity and continue to offer challenges and opportunities to many young men who aspire for a college education, a place in our society and a leading role in our country’s future.”

I have noticed you are a devoted donor to your fraternity, why is it so important for Alumni to give back, long after leaving PSU?

“I think the last sentence says it all. I was fortunate to have had a good experience at Pi Chapter, and I would like to give back to help young college men have a chance for the same. I also recall the elements of true brotherhood – love, charity, and esteem – and that TKE stands not for wealth, rank or honors but for personal worth and character.  We endorsed those principles and pledged to uphold them as brothers.  I believe that a fraternity built on those sound principles is worthy of continued support.  That is why I gave back.”

YITB,

Ken Myers, ‘64