Order of the Engineers
Each semester the College of Engineering invites seniors who are graduating with their engineering degree (BE, CE, CME, MSE, ME) to join the Order of the Engineer and participate in an Induction Ceremony. The purpose of the Order of the Engineer is to foster a sense of pride, fellowship, and responsibility in the engineering profession, to bridge the gap between training and experience, and to present to the public a visible symbol identifying the engineer. The Order is not a membership organization; there are never any meetings to attend or dues to pay. Instead, the Order fosters a unity of purpose and honoring of one’s pledge lifelong.
The induction ceremony consists of reciting the “Obligation of an Engineer” (the code of ethics), accepting a certificate and the placing of a stainless steel ring on the little finger of the working hand. The certificate and ring are public symbols of your dedication to serve humanity through the engineering profession. The ceremonies are conducted by Links (local sections) of the Order.
The Obligation of the Order of the Engineer is similar to the Canadian “Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer” initiated there in 1926. After the collapse of the Quebec Bridge during its construction in 1907 there was a growing movement in Canada to license professional engineers and emphasize the ethical obligations of the engineering profession. Rudyard Kipling was asked to help develop an obligation and a ceremony for this purpose. In the text of the Canadian Calling, Kipling emphasized the social responsibility of the engineer by asking him or her to affirm their intent “upon my Honour and Cold Iron”. According to legend, the first rings were fashioned from the collapsed metal of the Quebec Bridge and the Canadian organization uses a wrought iron ring. The extension of the Ritual outside Canada was prevented by copyright and other conflicting factors.
The first Order of the Engineer induction ceremony in the United States was held on June 4, 1970 at Cleveland State University. About 170 engineering seniors and faculty members participated in the ceremony. A second ceremony was held in Akron, Ohio in February 1971, which included seniors at the University of Akron and practicing engineers. Since then, The Order of the Engineer has grown to include tens of thousands of members inducted at Links (local chapters) established in nearly every state in the union. Although patterned after the Canadian concept, The Order of the Engineer has differences that are distinctively associated with the United States of America.
The Obligation is a creed similar to the oath attributed to Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) that is generally taken by medical graduates and which sets forth an ethical code. It contains parts of the Canon of Ethics of major engineering societies. Initiates, as they accept it voluntarily, pledge to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession and to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.
Email Joe Law or call 208-885-6470 for induction ceremony information and deadlines.
Order of the Engineer FAQ
The Order is the roster of engineers in the United States who have participated in an Engineer’s Ring Ceremony and who have publicly accepted the “Obligation of an Engineer.”
The Purpose is to stimulate formal public recognition by engineers in the United States of two basic principles. These principles are that 1) the primary purpose of engineering is service to the public, and 2) all members of the engineering profession share a common bond.
The Obligation is similar to the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Engineer’s Creed, the Codes of Ethics as adopted by the Engineering professional societies and the oath that is part of the Canadian Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer.
The Ring Ceremony is the public induction of candidates into the Order of the Engineer, during which the engineer candidates formally accept the Obligation of an Engineer and receive a stainless steel ring to be worn as a symbol on the little finger of the working hand.
The Engineer’s Ring in the United States is a stainless steel ring, worn on the little finger of the working hand by engineers who have accepted the Obligation of an Engineer in a Ring Ceremony. In Canada, the Engineer’s Ring is a wrought iron ring accepted by engineers inducted into the “Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer” in a secret ceremony.
Any engineer is eligible for induction if he or she has graduated from an EAC of ABET program or holds a license as a Professional Engineer in the United States. Students enrolled in EAC of ABET degree programs are eligible if they are within one academic year of graduation. Other candidates may be considered eligible because of equivalent credentials, subject to the approval of the local Link Board of Governors or the National Board of Governors. Anyone may witness the induction ceremony. Families are often invited as guests.
The Order is governed at the national level by a National Board of Governors, composed of as many as 21 engineers who serve three year terms. The officers are a Chair, a Vice-Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. The National Board establishes policy, directs the national office, and charters local “Links” governed by local boards of governors. Such “Links” are granted the right to conduct Ring Ceremonies.
A Link is a local board of governors chartered by the National Board of Governors for the purpose of holding Engineer’s Ring Ceremonies. Links have been established by universities, engineering societies and government engineering organizations.
There is no formal connection between the Order of the Engineer and other organizations; it is independent. However, the Order recognizes ABET’s accreditation of engineering programs as a primary measurement of educational credentials for an engineer in the United States. In addition, Links of the Order have been chartered to various local components of Tau Beta Pi, NSPE, ASCE, and many other engineering societies.
During the 1960s, Ohio engineers attempted without success to extend the Canadian Ring Ceremony into American engineering schools. The first Engineer’s Ring Ceremony in the United States was conducted in 1970 by students at Cleveland State University’s Fenn College of Engineering. In 1972, the Order of the Engineer was incorporated in Ohio. The Order’s national office remained in Ohio until 1987 when it was relocated to the United Engineering Center in New York City, and then to its current location in Scottsdale, Arizona.
There are no dues and no meetings of the Order of the Engineer. Inductees are encouraged to wear the ring and to display the signed Obligation certificate as visible reminders of the publicly accepted Obligation as a contract with themselves.
Both. The impact of the formal program is likely to be greatest if inductees are engineering students about to enter the profession. However, until there is a preponderance of practicing engineers in the U.S. who have participated, as there is now in Canada, there will be a place for Ring Ceremonies at engineering functions. Although older practicing engineers may not be as impressionable as graduating seniors, the reminder of the common purpose of all engineers is a message which cannot be too often repeated.