Every year, graduates transition from students to professionals. With this important change comes great responsibility. To mark its significance, 43 young men and women from every department in the College of Engineering participated in the Order of the Engineer ring ceremony on Saturday, March 9, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The Order of the Engineer was started in 1970 “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.”
During the ceremony, graduate and registered engineers are invited to accept the Obligation of the Engineer and a stainless steel ring. The obligation is a creed which sets forth an ethical code, and it 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 wealth.
“This instills a sense of pride and responsibility when wearing the ring in which I’m honored to be apart-of. I joined because I find it important to constantly be aware of the impacts you make as an engineer, and that each decision should be done by holding high ethical and performance standards,” said Alex Bulger, a student in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. “Students should take the oath to signify that they too are conscious of their work …that they will actively apply those values into their work and livelihood. The Order of the Engineer is unique and exciting to be apart-of and an opportunity to hold yourself and fellow engineers to a higher standard.”
“It shows your honor and pride in the profession,” said Jamie Szwalek, a clinical assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. “It is similar to a medical doctor’s Hippocratic Oath. It’s good for the profession to ensure engineers are ethical in all that they do. It is a nice ceremony for those graduating since family and friends are welcome to attend.”
After a hiatus of more than 10 years, Szwalek decided to re-establish the Order in 2016. She has been committed to hosting it the past four years, which allowed more than 300 UIC engineers to participate in the ceremony and take the oath. She said she plans to keep it going every spring for graduating seniors, and faculty and alumni who didn’t have an opportunity to take part in past.
The participants do not have to pay dues or attend meetings. It is a one-time ceremony and there are no other commitments other than the ring ceremony.
“They wear a ring on their hand, which reminds them daily of their obligation to the profession to be ethical. They feel a sense of the importance of engineering to society,” said Szwalek.
By David Staudacher, UIC