The Order of the Engineer

Professor Helbling places the ring of the Order of the Engineer on Joshua Martinez's, a Spring 2010 Aerospace Engineering graduate, pinky finger while Dr. Madler, Dean of the College of Engineering watches during the Spring 2010 Order of the Engineer Ceremony at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott Campus.

Engineering students have the opportunity to take the Oath of the Order of the Engineer just before graduation.  The Order of the Engineer is essentially a group that values ethical engineering practices by vowing to always do what’s right even if it means that you might lose your job.  I just signed up to participate in this year’s ceremony.

There are several instances of major engineering failures over the past few decades that could have been prevented if engineers had voiced their concerns rather than allowed themselves to be pressured by deadlines and company profits.   During your EGR 101 class’s engineering ethics unit, you will learn much more detail about these events through case studies.

I like to see the Order of the Engineer as a group of people who have taken an oath to use their powers for good rather than evil. After I learned about the group, I began to notice that several of my professors wore the ring of the Order.

Every semester before graduation, an Order of the Engineer ceremony is held for all graduating students interested in joining the order.  I went last spring to support one of my close friends.  

The ceremony takes place in the executive conference room on the top floor of the Academic Building. The room has large windows lining each of the walls with breathtaking views of Granite Mountain, Willow Lake, and the Granite Dells.

During the ceremony the history of the Order of the Engineer is shared with the graduates and their families and friends before the graduates say their oaths. The tradition originally started in Canada and has since expanded into the United States. In the U.S. those who choose to take the oath of the Order of the Engineer receive stainless steel rings that they wear on the pinky finger of their dominant hand.  The purpose for this tradition is that every time an engineer goes to sign a document, they will hear the clink of their ring on the table, which will remind them of their ethical responsibility and the oath that they took.

The entire group of new inductees says the oath together, and then each person walks up to the front of the room individually, places their hand through a large ring, has their ring placed on their pinky finger by one of our professors. Finally, the new member signs their Order of the Engineer certificate, hearing the clink of their ring for the first time.

The students I knew taking the oath last spring took their responsibility very seriously and were very proud to walk out of the ceremony with their rings, tapping it on every surface they can for the next few days.

The ceremony was beautiful and the tradition is one that I am excited to become a part of when I graduate this spring.

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