The History of TKE at Northern Illinois
Note: Delta Eta has no official history, much of it is steeped in folklore passed around campus and also built on the memories of Delta Eta alumni. The following is what is known about our chapter through these sources and official University documents along with articles from the Northern Star.
On May 9, 1953, Tau Kappa Epsilon established its Delta-Eta chapter at Northern Illinois University, based off of a local fraternity of men by the name of Sigma Pi Delta. These men had sought a national affilation and decided that the values of Tau Kappa Epsilon best exemplied these ideals. For many years, the men of Delta Eta chapter were the dominant force on campus, winning many sporting events and hosting a number of social functions. They originally rent a house on Russell Road and later built a house at 902 Greenbrier (currently Pi Kappa Alpha).
The Chapter continued to build itself and attract the best members in the Greek area. However, in 1968, the White Pines incident occured. Rumors are highly circulated about what occurred on that evening. What is known is that the Delta Eta Chapter was dissembled by the University and not allowed to return for an indefinite time.
In the mid seventies the Delta Eta chapter returned and reestablished itself on campus. However, this was not to last. One winter the Fraters decided that the basement of the house the Chapter was using would best be served as an ice hockey rink. However, the freezing of the water in the basement for the rink cracked the foundation of the building. Not owning the house, and not able to afford to replace it, the chapter was again disbanded by the University.
In 1983, the Delta Eta chapter again returned. They resided at 824 Greenbrier across from what is now Alpha Kappa Lambda. These were, as described by one of the period, "the wild TeKE years." The majority of the house eventually spent at least one night in jail for any number of events and it was not uncommon for the Chapter to get into fights. They were once placed on probation for starting a fight during an After Hours party with the NIU football team. However, they would never recover from the probation, and eventually could not gain the numbers to become an official chapter.
In 1999, after being gone for several years, Dave Dervy and his roomate, Shea Newcomb decided to answer an ad in the Northern Star title "Would you like to start a Fraternity?" They were soon met by Dave Plunkett, Aaron Adams, Pat Griffin and Josh Duffy . Together, they reinstated Delta Eta at the colony status and grew from there. In 2000-2001 they had a very successful fall rush, boosting membership to 15 motivated young men. In the fall of 2001, Delta Eta Chapter returned to Greek Row and moved into 914 Greenbrier (now the Sigma Pi house). The Fall Rush netted 15 men, the largest active to new member ration of that rush class.
On April 20, 2002 the Delta Eta Chapter was reinstated at Northern Illinois University during a special Red Carnation Ball attended by members of TKE Nationals. That following fall a strong rush occurred with another 15 motivated men joined the Chapter. Far out growing the small sixteen room house at 914, the Chapter has now leased the house at 907 Greenbrier. Through extensive renovation, the house now boast 26 rooms and a capacity of 42. Tau Kappa Epsilon continues to be the oldest "established" fraternity at Northern Illinois University. They look forward to the future of the Chapter and remind you that you are always welcomed to visit the Chapter at their house.