Monday, July 16, 2007

With This Ring: The Order of the Engineer

From Wikipedia:

The Iron Ring is a symbolic ring worn by many Canadian engineers. Obtaining the ring is an optional endeavour - the ring is not a prerequisite for practicing professional engineering in Canada.

The Ring is given as part of "The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer" [1], written by Rudyard Kipling. Legend says that the rings are made from the steel of a beam from the Quebec Bridge, which collapsed during construction in 1907, killing 75 construction workers, due to poor planning and design by the overseeing engineers. This is only a legend, although a bolt from the bridge is attached to the chain that is held by the engineers-to-be during the ritual. The Ring is a symbol of both pride and humility for the engineering profession.

The Ring is always worn on the little finger of the dominant hand, where the facets act as a sharp reminder of obligation while the engineer works. This is particularly true of recently obligated engineers, whose rings still bear facets nearly sharp enough to be considered serrations. The location of the ring on the dominant hand also means that it is the furthest from a wedding ring made of gold or other precious metals, which symbolizes that monetary gain should not be what motivates an ethical engineer.

The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer is the ceremony where Iron Rings are given to graduating engineers who choose to obligate themselves to the highest professionalism and humility of their profession. It is a symbol that reflects the moral, ethical and professional commitment made by the engineer who wears the ring. The ceremonies are private affairs with no publicity. Invitations to attend are extended to local engineering alumni and professional engineers by those who are scheduled to participate. For some schools, the invitation to witness the ceremony is open to anyone in the engineering profession, non-obligated engineers may not participate in the ritual. For other schools, the invitation to witness the ceremony is open to everyone. Some graduating engineers choose to receive a ring passed on from a relative or mentor, giving the ceremony a personal touch.

Although the details of the ceremony are not secret, they are considered sacrosanct and obligated engineers normally do not discuss the ceremony, even with engineering students.

The word "camp" is used to describe these regional organizations because it conveys a smaller, close-knit sense of community.

The Obligation of the Engineer:

I am an Engineer, in my profession I take deep pride. To it I owe solemn obligations.

Since the Stone Age, human progress has been spurred by the engineering genius. Engineers have made usable Nature’s vast resources of material and energy for Humanity's [Mankind’s] benefit. Engineers have vitalized and turned to practical use the principles of science and the means of technology. Were it not for this heritage of accumulated experience, my efforts would be feeble.

As an Engineer, I pledge to practice integrity and fair dealing, tolerance and respect, and to uphold devotion to the standards and the dignity of my profession, conscious always that my skill carries with it the obligation to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.

As an Engineer[, in humility and with the need for Divine guidance,] I shall participate in none but honest enterprises. When needed, my skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public good. In the performance of duty and in fidelity to my profession, I shall give the utmost.

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