The University of North Texas hosted its first Order of the Engineer ring ceremony on Dec. 8, 2012, joining a growing number of institutions and engineering societies offering an opportunity to join this prestigious organization.
The ceremony is the public induction of candidates into the Order of the Engineer, during which inductees take a solemn oath called the “Obligation of an Engineer” to “uphold devotion to the standards and dignity of the engineering profession.” Each inductee who accepts the obligation receives a stainless steel ring, which is to be worn on the fifth finger of the working hand, and signs a certificate of obligation. Inductees are encouraged to wear the ring and to display the signed obligation certificate as visible reminders of the publicly accepted as a contract with themselves.
UNT’s first ceremony included seven candidates from Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering and guests, along with Dr. Murali Varanasi, professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Veeral Patel, member of the Order of the Engineer, and Dr. Paul Hale, member of the Board of Governors of the Order of the Engineer.
The Order of the Engineer was initiated in the United States to foster a spirit of pride 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. Membership is voluntary and open to certain individuals including seniors and graduate students and EAC of ABET-accredited engineering programs, graduate students enrolled in other engineering programs housed in departments that administer EAC of ABET-accredited undergraduate programs, graduates of EAC of ABET-accredited engineering programs, and licensed professional engineers.
Jordan Simleness, an Electrical Engineering student who graduated at the end of the fall semester, helped bring the Order of the Engineer as one of her duties as vice president of for the IEEE Honor Society, Eta Kappa Nu. She said that there were several steps involved in bringing Order of the Engineer to UNT, including contacting seniors in ABET-accredited engineering departments seeking students who were interested in the program, finding three current wearers of the ring to participate in the initial ceremony, scheduling the ceremony, and organizing a reception after the event with the assistance of students Keith Rommel and Mitch Grabner.
Simleness said that membership in Order of the Engineer is a promise to put ethics first in her work. “The ring on the little finger of my working hand will touch everything that I sign, and that ‘clack-clack’ on the desk is a constant reminder of my promise,” she said. “Over time, my ring will become dented, scratched and dulled, displaying to all the work that I have done as an engineer. As an engineer, ethical considerations are not to be taken lightly, and membership in Order of the Engineer will show future employers and clients that I am serious about keeping the good of the public in mind through everything that I do.”
Once the initial induction was complete, UNT was eligible to apply for a charter, which should arrive within a few weeks. Dr. Varanasi said that plans for future ceremonies include opening this event to qualified students in other CENG departments, as well as an item that is part of the ring ceremony: a large ring that each member will put their hands through to receive their rings from a member of the Order of the Engineer after the inductee takes the obligation.