Tau Beta Pi History

Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society, was founded at Lehigh University in 1885 by Dr. Edward Higginson Williams, Jr. to "mark in a fitting manner those who have conferred honor upon their alma mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as undergraduates in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges."

Since the founding of Tau Beta Pi, the society has grown steadily; there are now chapters at 225 collegiate institutions, chartered alumnus chapters in 59 cities, and a total initiated membership of more than 453,000. The Utah Alpha chapter of Tau Beta Pi was founded at the University of Utah in Dec 8, 1933.

Tau Beta Pi is a founding member of the Association of College Honor Societies, an association member of the American Society for Engineering Education, an associate member of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Junior Engineering Technical Society.

Until 1969 membership in Tau Beta Pi was limited to men, although qualified women were offered an award called the Women's Badge. From its authorization in 1936 until its elimination by the admission of women to membership, 619 Women's Badges were awarded by 98 chapters. Those women have now been offered membership by their chapters.

Prior to 1905, the headquarters of Tau Beta Pi had been moved to wherever the offices of the Secretary were located. Since 1905, the national headquarters have been located on the campus of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Tau Beta Pi: Integrity and Excellence in Engineering