To witness the progress of young engineers is a gratifying and rewarding experience—especially to the experienced professional strong in pride of a profession recognized by the public as contributing to the welfare of man.
Progression from the academic world to the world of engineering practice is a transition from learning to a reality that requires a clear vision and understanding of what engineers have done, and must continue to do, for humanity and the quality of life everywhere. As engineers, we also owe a debt to our profession.
To meet the needs of the future, we look to the engineers of the future, and place our faith in them not only to rescue the environment, but also to help bring about a unity that can only bode well for the entire spectrum of the profession and the public. As engineers, we have a responsibility to become licensed, join, and assist in this endeavor.
Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist, defined a society as the vital articulation of many individuals into a NEW individual. Decades ago, our engineering counterparts in Canada had this same feeling. They found a need for the introduction of a spirit of community and cohesiveness among engineers. The Canadians believed that a good way to go about achieving this would be to instill in engineers a consciousness of belonging to one another, to themselves as individuals, and to those they serve.
The result of this need for community resulted in the Canadian “Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer.” The words of the ritual were written by the British author Rudyard Kipling. Kipling had much depth of feeling for engineers–the builders of things intended to benefit mankind. The ritual also includes the placing of a ring on the little finger of the working hand.
The ring is an excellent symbol of continuity and community. It is worn for all to see and, in effect, says, “Here is an engineer possessed of a publicly avowed dedication to the profession and those it serves.” Maxims similar to those of Kipling took hold in Ohio, and correspondence began between members of the Canadian Calling and the then officers of the Ohio Society of Professional—notably Lloyd Chacey, Homer T. Borton, and Brooks Earnest—with a view toward extending the Canadian ceremony to the United States. Due to legal restrictions, this was not possible. However, at the invitation of the Canadian wardens, Homer Borton and Brooks Earnest received their first rings in Canada.
During 1966, a group of U.S. engineers began to pursue the establishment of what was then known in Ohio as “The Order of the Engineer.” While this group deliberated, seniors at the Fenn College of Engineering at Cleveland State University, counseled by Dean Burl Bush, designed and held the first ring ceremony and reception on June 4, 1970. About 170 engineering seniors and faculty members participated in the ceremony, during which each participant signed a creed and received a stainless steel ring placed on the little finger of the working hand. 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. We ask you to accept and interpret, most seriously and with price, the meaning and purpose of the ceremony to which you are about to subscribe: to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession.