Most engineering disciplines have a recognized national honor society. For the Civil Engineering profession, Chi Epsilon fills this role. Chi Epsilon was founded in 1922 to recognize and honor civil engineering students and professionals, and now has 137 active chapters at universities across the United States. It is widely recognized in the profession and has initiated over 114,000 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.
Chi Epsilon is the National Civil Engineering Honor Society in the United States. We honor engineering students who have exemplified the principles of "Scholarship, Character, Practicality, and Sociability" in the civil engineering profession.
Chi Epsilon retains as its motto the Greek letters Chi Delta Chi, which formed the name of the junior honor society founded in 1922 at the University of Illinois and which is one of the roots of Chi Epsilon.
These three letters 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 is 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 officers in the formulation of the early plans for initial organization and expansion that Chi Epsilon has been able to progress steadily.
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 the civil engineering student.
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 are possessed of 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’s National Headquarters is currently located on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington. The Headquarters office is staffed by Dr. Glenn Goss, the Executive Secretary, assisted by Susan C. Brown, Office Administrator, Sichan Lee, National Office Secretary, and Michele Singleton, Assistant National Editor.
The government of Chi Epsilon is administered by delegates from student chapters and through the National Council. Delegates and the Council meet in Conclave on a biennium basis, always on even-numbered years, to decide on the rules of governance for the biennium. Day-to-day operations are then administered by the Executive Secretary, at the pleasure of the National Council. The National Conclave is always hosted by a member school.
There are ten District Councillors, each representing a geographic district of the United States. These districts are as follows: