Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity was founded by five methodist seminarians in 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan College as the "Knights of Classic Lore".
These men "desired an organization different from those represented
by the existing fraternities." Their desire was to establish a
fraternity in which the primary requisites for membership would be the
personal worth and character of the individual rather than the wealth he
possessed, the honors or titles he
could display, or the rank he maintained on the social ladder. The
Founders of the Knights of Classic Lore had little regard for many of the common
characteristics of fraternities at that time, including their usual
snobbery and disdain for persons outside of a fraternity.