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Order of the Engineer: Our sacred oath

 

Posted December 13, 2017

The stainless steel ring worn by many engineers on the little finger of their working hand is a true symbol of the sacred responsibility our profession has to the public. And last month, 12 newly licensed engineers took an oath to uphold the standards of this obligation. They were officially inducted into the Maryland link of the Order of the Engineer.

 

The Order of the Engineer is an honor society among practicing engineers of all disciplines. The inductees express their acceptance of the obligation during a ring ceremony. They promise to:

undertake none but honest enterprise; to place public service before self; to protect public health, safety, and welfare; and to work for the betterment of all mankind.

 

Many technical and professional societies have a similar Code of Ethics, which all engineers are expected to follow. The wearing of the ring as the symbol of The Order of the Engineer, reminds us of the sacred trust of engineers.

 

The Order of the Engineer has its origin with our Canadian counterparts following a tragic collapse in 1907 of the Quebec Bridge over the St Lawrence River.  After nearly 4 years in construction of this 3,000-foot cantilever bridge, a sudden collapse resulted in the deaths of 79 construction workers. In the aftermath of the investigation, an inadequate design effort was charged on the part of the bridge company and its designers and a calling was sounded for competent engineering design for all public facilities.

 

Legend has it that during the attempted reconstruction of the bridge, the unusable steel and iron from the collapse were used to fashion ‘iron’ rings to be worn by graduate engineers as a reminder of their humility and dedication to public service.  The first rings in Canada were awarded in 1925.

 

Subsequently, U.S. engineering counterparts adopted a similar program as the Order of the Engineer. In June 1970, the first OE Induction Ceremony was held at Cleveland State University and has grown throughout the country under the sponsorship of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Army Corps of Engineers.

 

All graduate engineers along with all professional engineers that have not yet taken the oath are encouraged to join the OE by accepting the Obligation. 

 

The next induction opportunity will take place on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 when the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers will again host the Maryland Board for Professional Engineers and newly licensed engineers.

 

Interested in joining the Order of the Engineer? Contact Melissa Edwards at MDSPE HQ at 443-962-1055 to register. A nominal fee of only $15 is requested to cover the cost of the Ring and the accompanying certificate.

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more Calendar

11/15/2018
Maryland Society of Professional Engineers 2018 Annual Conference

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