Tau Beta Pi is the national engineering honor society. It was founded in 1885 at
Lehigh University by Dr. Edward H. Williams Jr. because he wished to recognize
students of distinguished scholarship and exemplary character.
The society has grown into an organization of 228 collegiate chapters and 16
active alumnus chapters which have initiated 472,706 members. Tau Beta Pi has a
world-wide reputation because of its high standards for membership. Among its
members are 13 U.S. senators and members of congress, 7 postage stamp honorees, 5 Draper prize
winners, 19 Nobel prize winners, 39 recipients of the National Model of Technology,
35 honorees in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 46 astronauts, 73 recipients
of the National Medal of Science, hundreds of members of the National Academy of
Engineering, hundreds of corporate CEOs, and even a few Olympic athletes and NFL
football players. Thousands of members have received top awards in their national
engineering societies. Tau Betas are known to be leaders in their profession.
Tau Beta Pi's national headquarters is located at the University of Tennessee
in Knoxville. The annual Convention, held on a different chapter campus each year,
governs the Association. At each one, four hundred representatives from collegiate
and alumnus chapters and national officers set the policies and establish guidelines
for the Society.
Collegiate chapters are governed by the student members who elect their own
officers. Each chapter operates within the national framework, but determines its
own specific needs and goals. Four alumni serve as advisors of each chapter to
provide guidance and continuity.
Tau Beta Pi chapters sponsor numerous projects which emphasize the Society's
objectives, recognizing outstanding engineering students and professionals and
encouraging the interest of engineers in non-technical fields, the college, and the
While each chapter annually elects new members, each chapter is also encouraged
to conduct activities that will broaden the interest and experiences of its
participants. Typical projects include sponsoring seminars and speakers, tutoring
fellow students, donating publication to libraries, stimulating faculty-student
communications, and evaluating faculty and courses. Tau Betas also assist their
communities in general volunteer activities, such as blood drives, educational
exhibits, and special projects for the elderly, the young, and the handicapped.
Through its national programs, Tau Beta Pi grants fellowship, scholarship, and
laureate awards, makes educational loans to its members, encourages students
involvement in non-technical activities, and provides excellent leadership training
The Fellowship Program has provided $4,065,000 in stipends for the graduate
study to 820 members since 1929.
Financial assistance from Tau Beta Pi's Students Loan Fund is available to
members who might otherwise be unable to remain in college. More than 1,700 loans
totaling $794,000 have been made since 1935.
Tau Beta Pi's Laureate Program awards cash grants of $2,500 to students members
who have excelled in extracurricular activities and engineering studies.
The engineering Futures Program provides trained instructors to teach
interpersonal and leadership development skills to student members.
On 228 campuses across the country, Tau Beta Pi chapters honor their fellow
students by inviting them to join the nation's second-oldest society. Membership
does not end with the completion of the college years, but represents a lifetime
recognition of each student's special achievements. Each member shares, during his
or her entire career, in the respect Tau Beta Pi has earned all over the world for
the following the high principles established at its founding in 1885.