University of Massachusetts Amherst

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First engineering student societies established

1950 to 1960

An important factor in the student/faculty/industry relationship was the establishment of student chapters of the national professional engineering societies on campus. The first such chapter to be established was a student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers in January of 1950. This was followed by student chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (September, 1950), the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (October, 1950), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (February 1954), and the American Institute of Industrial Engineers (October, 1960). To reflect its current membership more aptly, the Electrical Engineering Society later became identified as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Scholarship has always been an important aspect of engineering education, and national engineering honor societies existed to recognize and promote such recognition. Tau Beta Pi elected members from all disciplines of engineering and was established on this campus as Massachusetts Zeta Chapter in February, 1955, under the direction of its faculty advisors, Professors Hendrickson and Dittfach. At that time it was the 99th Chapter to be established in this country. Three departmental honor societies were later installed. Eta Kappa Nu (Electrical Engineering) was established in May, 1960; Alpha Pi MU (Industrial engineering and Operations Research) was installed in October, 1966; and Pi Tau Sigma (Mechanical Engineering) in the Fall of 1974.