Who we are
Chi Epsilon is the International Honor Society for the Civil Engineering profession. It was founded at the University of Illinois in the Spring of 1922 to recognize and honor Civil Engineering students and professionals, and now has 143 chapters at universities across the United States and beyond. It is widely recognized in the profession and has initiated over 125,000 members.
Students and professionals are selected to become members based on recognition of their Scholarship, Character, Practicality, and Sociability, considered by Chi Epsilon to be the four primary traits of a successful engineer. For student members, scholarship is determined by being in the top third of their junior or senior class. Members of Chi Epsilon are considered top graduates and are highly sought by Civil Engineering Employers
Being involved in the Missouri S&T chapter will provide opportunities to interact with fellow classmates, attend both academic and social events, and view presentations on major civil engineering projects from leading industry professionals.
We are dedicated to the purpose of maintaining and promoting the status of Civil Engineering as an ideal profession. Chi Epsilon was organized to recognize the characteristics of the individual Civil Engineer deemed to be fundamental to the successful pursuit of an engineering career, and to aid in the development of those characteristics in Civil Engineering students.
Engineering, the application of scientific principles to the practical needs of society, is assuming a constantly increasing responsibility for the well-being of all people, and thus calling for competence of the highest order. This responsibility can be discharged only by a professional group whose members who possess a good basic technical ability, intelligence, moral integrity, and effective social poise in their relationship with the larger community of which they are part.
To contribute to the improvement of the profession, Chi Epsilon fosters the development and exercise of sound traits of character and technical ability among civil engineers, and its members by precept and example, toward an ever higher standard of professional service.
Chi Epsilon retains as its motto the Greek letters Chi Delta Chi, which formed the name of the junior society founded in 1922 at the University of Illinois and which is one of the roots of Chi Epsilon.
Chi Delta Chi. These three letters shall symbolize our English motto: Conception, Design, and Construction. These are the three phases of every creative project.
Conception is inventive: it perceives the opportunity to do something and recognizes the means of accomplishment.
Fitting that means of accomplishment to the specific case and planning a definite method of work in design.
Construction is the actual building. It makes a reality of the idea of conception and the plan of design.
Conception requires imagination and intelligence. Design requires education and practical experience. Construction requires energy, determination, and perseverance. In these functions your adherence to the principles of Chi Epsilon will serve you well.
In the spring of 1922 two groups of civil engineering students at the University of Illinois, one calling itself Chi Epsilon, and the other calling itself Chi Delta Chi, independently of each other, took steps to petition the faculty for permission to establish an honorary civil engineering fraternity. As soon as the existence of the two groups became known to each other, plans were immediately propagated to merge the two groups. Dean M. S. Ketchum, Professor Ira O. Baker, and Professor C. C. Williams, later all chapter honor members, gave moral support to the idea of a departmental honorary fraternity and on May 20, 1922, the Council of the University granted permission to the petitioning group of 25 charter members to found the CHI EPSILON FRATERNITY. Upon the shoulders of the charter officers R. A. Black, president, Wm. A. Gurtler, vice president, and H.T. Larsen, secretary-treasurer, rested the burden and trials during the organization period, and it was due to the care and foresight used by these o fficers in the formulation of the early plans for initial organization and expansion that Chi Epsilon has been able to progress steadily.
As soon as the plans for the local organization had been perfected, steps were taken to expand into a national fraternity by banding together with groups at various other universities. For the furtherance of these plans a committee composed of Wm. A. Gurtler, chairman, M. W. Burns, and H. T. Larsen was appointed. An active expansion policy was decided upon and letter were written to the presidents of all the large engineering schools inviting petitions to Chi Epsilon. Meanwhile, the petition to the State of Illinois to incorporate as a national honorary civil engineering fraternity was granted and the certificate of incorporation issued on February 13, 1923. Many encouraging replies were received from various universities. but it was not until Marc h 29, 1923, upon the installation of the Armour Chapter at the Armour Institute of Technology, that Chi Epsilon became truly a national fraternity. April 28, 1923, saw the national organization increase to three chapters upon the installation of the Minnesota Chapter at the University of Minnesota. The work of the Committee on Expansion became very complex and required the assumption of authority for the fulfillment of its plans. With the assumption of authority the committee finally became the Temporary Supreme Council of the National Fraternity and in order that it be a representative body P. L. Bergquist of the Minnesota Chapter, and H. W. Munday, of the Armour Chapter were elected to it. As a result of the active expansion campaign, petitions were received from the Universities of Southern California and Cornell, and the chapters installed on January 5, 1924, and January 10, 1925, respectively.
The First Conclave was held at the Armour Chapter in Chicago July 4, 1924, at which twelve members representing four chapters were present. Drastic changes were made in the constitution and general government, most noteworthy being the establishment o f an endowment fund for conclave expenses. Members of the First Supreme Council were elected by the conclave expenses. Members of the First Supreme Council were elected by the conclave, who in turn elected the following officers: Wm. A. Gurtler, Grand President; P. L. Bergquest, Grand Vice President; C. W. Carlson, Grand Secretary-Treasurer; H. W. Munday, Editor of the Transit; F. M. Hines, member; and M. G. Burkey, member.
Due to the temporary slowing up of the work on the national expansion, a special meeting of the Supreme Council was called in Chicago in February, 1924. Present at this meeting were brother Gurtler, Carlson, Munday, and Burkey. An extensive campaign was planned with hopes that the number of chapters might be increased within the year, after which time a more conservative policy was to be enacted.
The membership had grown to 190 by February, 1925. The petition of the University of Wisconsin group resulted in the installation of the sixth chapter on February 14, 1925, at Madison, Wisconsin. The seventh chapter was installed shortly thereafter a t the University of California on May 10, 1925.
The Second Conclave of the Chi Epsilon Fraternity was held at the University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois, October 30, 1926. Present were three members of the Supreme Council, seven delegates, and several members of the Illinois Chapter. Since the time of the first conclave 205 members had been initiated, 21 of whom were members of a faculty and four were prominent engineers. Election of the Second Supreme Council resulted in the following officers: Wm. A. Gurtler, Grand President; F. M. Hine s, Grand Vice President; H. T. Larsen, Grand Secretary-Treasurer; P. L. Bergquist, member and H.W. Munday, member. Professor C. C. Williams’ recommended revision of the ritual, which tended to dignify it further, was the outstanding contribution of Second Conclave.
The only petition passed in 1927 was that of the group at the State College of Pennsylvania, which resulted in the installation of the Penn State Chapter on May 19, 1927. In less than five years, the membership of the fraternity had increased to a total of 535, of which 347 were active, 117 charter, 56 honorary, and 15 alumni members.
(The above in condensed from a short history of Chi Epsilon be W.A. Gurtler.)
The 22nd National Conclave was held at the University of Illinois, April 6-8, 1972. It was very appropriate for Chi Epsilon to return to the Illinois campus to observe the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. Fifty-eight of the then 78 active chapters had one or more delegates in attendance at this notable conclave. The membership of Chi Epsilon had grown to 28,500 by April, 1972.
The 25th National Conclave voted to change the name of our organization from Chi Epsilon Fraternity to Chi Epsilon. A total of 40,000 members had been initiated since the founding.
Scholarship Opportunities will either be posted here or on our other social media, or reach out to our current officers during general body meetings!