Tau Beta Pi Arkansas Alpha
Tau Beta Pi is the only engineering honor society representing the entire engineering profession. It is the nation’s second-oldest honor society, founded at Lehigh University in 1885 to mark in a fitting manner those who have conferred honor upon their Alma Mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as students in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the filed of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges.
There are now collegiate chapters at 250 US colleges and universities, 47 active alumni chapters in 16 districts across the country, and a total initiated membership of approximately 554,000.
History of Tau Beta Pi at the University of Arkansas
Tau Beta Pi came to the University of Arkansas with the installation of the Arkansas chapter on December 14, 1914, becoming the 28th chapter in the society. From 1914, the chapter continued without any interruption until World War II. During that period, the chapter became inactive for a period of about two years because of the lack of student body, since everyone was in military service. In 1946, three members of the faculty, including Professor L.R. Kirby who was then of the Civil Engineering Department, gathered together with one student that they were able to find on the campus who was a Tau Beta Pi member. These four gentlemen then elected four new members to form the nucleus of the reactivated chapter that has maintained its continuity to this day.
The existence of the Arkansas Alpha chapter has been displayed by means of three Bents on this campus. The first Bent is a concrete Bent located about 100 feet due east of the southeast corner of Old Main. It contains a plaque which includes the names of the ten members of the graduating class who constructed that monument in 1925, and six faculty members including the first Dean of Engineering, W.N. Gladsen.
The second Bent was installed as a wall-mounted Bent in Engineering Hall, and is located today inside the north entrance of that building.
The third Bent is an upright Bent that was installed to the west of Engineering Hall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the chapter. It was removed in 1982 to make room for the construction of the Bell Engineering Center and now resides inside the northwest entrance of that facility.
As part of the chapter’s centennial anniversary, a fourth Bent was installed on the University of Arkansas campus near the north entrance of White Engineering Hall.
Updated 25 August 2020.