OU alumnus is international ‘sweetheart’


Maria Willett, recent Oakland University graduate, will be crowned this month as the 2013 Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) International Sweetheart in Washington D.C.

The crowning will take place at the fraternity’s conclave Aug. 8-11. The TKE website describes the conclave as a biennial convention, where TKE members from all over come together for three days to select leaders, discuss politics and create friendships. 

The TKE International Sweetheart was created by Frater Alan Derr. The first Sweetheart was selected in 1953 and began as a calendar of chapter sweethearts that members voted on as most popular.

 “A TKE Sweetheart is a woman who is like a sister to the fraternity and shares the same values of love, charity, and esteem,” Willett said. 

TKE Sweetheart applicants must include a head shot, at least three other photos, a page statement explaining why she wants to represent the International Sweetheart and a $25 entry fee. 

After all the applications are received, six to eight finalists are selected through online voting.  

Willett, as winner, received a $500 scholarship award, her selection as International Sweetheart will be featured in the spring issue of The TEKE magazine and her photograph will appear in the new edition of the TKE Guide, which is the membership manual every TKE member receives during the pledging process. 

“She knows no boundaries when it comes to living her dreams and helping others live theirs,” said Nicholas McCormick, who serves on the board of advisors as secretary to the TKE chapter at OU. 

Willett a member of, Gamma Phi Beta (Delta Omega Chapter), applied last year for the International Sweetheart as well, and made it into the top six. 

“I was in complete shock when I got the news,” Willett said.“Words cannot explain the amazing moment when I read my letter and saw that I had been chosen. I couldn’t stop smiling.” 

Willett graduated from Oakland in April with a degree in political science and a minor in sociology.  

This summer, Willett, is keeping occupied by working as the Sustaining Our Planet Earth Summer Coordinator, Housing Ambassador, and an intern for Macomb County’s Executive Office.

She hopes to stay involved with her chapter by participating in the Rush Committee as well as the Red Carnation Ball Committee. 

 “It is such a huge honor to be the International Sweetheart, and I truly feel blessed to have been given this opportunity.” Willett said.