The Great Decision
Late in 1907, several undergraduate members of Tau Kappa Epsilon were again preparing a petition to be presented to the Phi Delta Theta national convention in 1908. The wisdom of petitioning, however, was being questioned with increasing frequency. To increase enthusiasm for this fourth attempt, a banquet was held on October 19, 1907, at which speeches were made both advocating and questioning the proposal. One of the most notable and influential speeches given was a blistering address by Wallace G. McCauley, titled "Opportunity Out of Defeat," in which he advocated the abandonment of the petitioning process and the substitution of a campaign for TKE to become its own national fraternity.

At the banquet, Frater McCauley said, "Someone has said that most victories are defeats. As to the truth of that statement, numerous instances can be cited tending to establish it. But just as true is the converse of that proposition that most defeats are victories, and I truly believe an instance of this was our failure to have reinstated the Phi Delta Theta charter of Illinois Epsilon. I believe this in spite of the fact that no one labored more zealously to that end during the first two campaigns than myself. And, too, no one felt the defeats at the time more bitterly than myself; but now, after an absence of a year or so, I am brought to the conviction that Tau Kappa Epsilon was indeed fortunate in her defeats, because thereby there was reserved for us a large opportunity!"

"Interwoven about the sentiments of our name and our pin, and engrained in the fiber of every member is the Teke spirit - a spirit typical of our fraternity - a spirit that does not shrink from sacrifice, that knows no defeat, a spirit indomitable. A spirit which if breathed into a national Tau Kappa Epsilon would spread our organization throughout the schools of our country!"

"But if we keep Tau Kappa Epsilon intact, the Teke spirit will flow on forever. Let us not lack faith in this project. Remember faith as a grain of mustard will overcome mountains of difficulty. The history of other organizations lends us encouragement. Phi Delta Theta was born a few years before the Civil War in a student's room in a building of Miami University, less pretentious than the preparatory building on the Wesleyan campus, and today Phi Delta Theta is the fourth largest fraternity in existence."

"Fellow brothers, Tau Kappa Epsilon was conceived in the early struggles of our existence. Time is now right to start in on a national career, and we, its godfathers here tonight, when it is grown to be a strong and lusty organization, touching student life everywhere with the beneficence of its principles, will obtain a satisfaction inexpressible in the part we had in its inception."

Although arousing bitter opposition at the time, this speech ultimately reduced the fourth petition to a bare formality and became one of the significant turning points in the history of the Fraternity. The complete "Opportunity Out of Defeat" speech is available in the Appendix.

One of the measures advocated by McCauley in his address was the publication of a quarterly magazine called The Teke. This proposal met with immediate approval and the first issue was published in January 1908, with Clyde M. Leach as the editor.

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