Research & Innovation

Stevens Inducts More Than 200 Graduating Seniors into the Order of the Engineer

Membership in this respected organization highlights members’ commitment to the ethical and service obligations of the engineering profession.

“I am an engineer. In my profession I take deep pride. To it I owe solemn obligations.” — The Order of the Engineer Obligation Statement

In May, 226 engineering students in the Stevens Institute of Technology class of ’22 affirmed their pride and obligations in their chosen career by accepting membership in the Order of the Engineer.

Based on the nearly century-old Canadian “Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer,” the Order of the Engineer was launched in the United States 52 years ago to foster pride and responsibility in the profession. Engineers in the Order receive a stainless-steel ring, symbolizing strength and unity, to wear on the pinky finger of their dominant hand.

In 2016, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering Professor Leslie Brunell, P.E., who is also a member of the Order, had helped organize a ceremony at the request of civil engineering students. Last year, Provost of Manhattan College and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Order of the Engineer Dr. Steven Schreiner, had reached out to Brunell to gauge current interest in the Order. As a result, this year’s ceremony, held just after the senior awards program, marked the first opportunity for Stevens students in more engineering disciplines to participate.

During the ceremony, Schreiner delivered the welcome and concluding remarks and oversaw the students’ acceptance of the Order’s obligation. Brunell spoke about the history of the Order, and Assistant Project Manager at Skanska Patrick O’Hara ’17 returned to speak about the significance of the Order and the ring. Together, Schreiner, Brunell and O’Hara led the presentation of the Obligation statement and ring to each of the 226 new members.

“The Obligation is the formal statement of an engineer’s responsibilities to the public and to the profession,” said O’Hara, who had participated in the previous Order of the Engineer induction at Stevens. “It is… similar to the oath attributed to Hippocrates that is commonly taken by medical graduates and which sets forth an ethical code. The Obligation likewise contains parts of the canon of ethics of major engineering societies. Initiates… pledge to uphold the standards and dignity of the engineering profession and to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious and limited resources… The ring, a symbol of pride, prestige, honor and professionalism among all engineers in the United States, also serves as a reminder to the engineer of our obligation to society.”

The program was so successful, the team is already working on plans to offer the induction ceremony every fall and spring.

“This fall, we’ll join it with Fall Festival Weekend on Saturday, September 24, and we're going to gear it toward alumni, particularly those in the classes of ‘20 and ’21,” Brunell explained. “Our goal is that alumni who have been inducted will help, so once they're part of the Order, we’ll have a cycle of participants helping with each induction. It’s not just important for the Order – it’s also a great way to engage our alumni and keep those bonds and networks strong.”

""“The Order of the Engineer is a historic organization that emphasizes the ethics and moral standards of the engineering profession,” said Professor Leslie Brunell (second from left), who organized the induction ceremony for the Order of the Engineer. “It’s an important reminder that, in addition to knowledge and experience, we should never lose sight of our pursuit of a learned art in the spirit of public service.” Also part of the team that brought the ceremony to Stevens this year are (from left) Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean engineering (CEOE) Professor Sarath Jagupilla, P.E.; Patrick O’Hara ’17; Provost of Manhattan College and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Order of the Engineer Dr. Steven Schreiner; CEOE Academic Advisor Elizabeth O’Connell, who helped coordinate the event; (not pictured) School of Systems and Enterprises Professor Kate Abel who called the names of each student; Assistant Dean of Operations and Administration Robert Gonzalez Jr., who worked on logistics; and Executive Assistant to the Dean Jeriza Ouckama and Administrative Assistant Veronica Smith, who handled registration.

""“The symbol of your desire to serve the public is the engineer’s ring,” noted Patrick O’Hara (bottom left photo, at left, and bottom right photo, at left), who presented each of the 226 Stevens students with an Order of the Engineer ring at the May 2022 induction ceremony. “The ring you will wear on the fifth finger of the working hand will say to all who see it ─ here is an engineer, possessed of a publicly avowed dedication to the profession and the public they serve… It is a badge of recognition which will become known to all as the sign of a learned professional pledged to making the best use of earth’s precious and limited resources.”