In unison, 285 USF senior engineering students took an
oath to forever stay focused on ethics across their careers, as they participated
in the annual Induction into the Profession Ceremony for the USF College of
The ceremony, held May 5 this year at the USF Marshall
Student Center, honored students of two career tracks: engineers, who agree and
sign a formal statement known as the Obligation of an Engineer; and computer
science students, who also sign an oath and then take the Pledge of the
Family and friends, as well as engineering faculty, watched
as each student accepted either a stainless steel ring for engineering or a lapel
pin with binary code for computer science students, and then receive
congratulatory handshakes from each faculty member in their respective major.
“Engineering is all about people, so this ceremony is a
great opportunity to take an oath that is founded in ethics and that serves the
greater humanity,” said Robert Bishop, PhD, dean of the USF College of
For engineering students, they were inducted into the
Order of the Engineer, a national group that represents the transition from
student to working engineer. A stainless steel ring was presented as a symbol
of their promise and their professionalism. During the induction ceremony, each
engineering student placed his or her primary hand through a large ring to have
an Order ring placed on their finger by a faculty member.
Kingsley Reeves, PhD, associate professor of industrial and
management systems engineering, offered a history of the Order of Engineers,
saying that it is based on a 1907 bridge collapse in Canada that resulted in
the death of 75 construction workers.
“Engineering is more than just number crunching. It is a
matter of life and death,” Dr. Reeves said. “The profession’s moral obligations
were stark and obvious. Engineers increasingly realized that technical
expertise was not enough. In 1925, a group of Canadian engineers formally and
publically promised to uphold the highest ethical standards. To remind
themselves of their pledge, they fashioned iron rings, to be worn on their
outer finger. Today, the stainless steel rings worn by the Order’s members are
recognized throughout the world as the outward sign of an inward commitment to
Qiong “Jane” Zhang, PhD, associate professor of civil and
environmental engineering, offered further insight into the Order’s significance.
“The purpose of the Order of the Engineer is to foster a
feeling of pride in being an engineer and to instill a dedication to ethics throughout
the engineer’s professional career,” Dr. Zhang said. “The Order is symbolized
by the acceptance of obligation and the wearing of a stainless steel ring on
the little finger of the working hand. Students, the obligation to which you
will soon subscribe, is a composite of several creeds emphasizing honesty and
integrity and acknowledging the work your predecessors have done to gain the
knowledge and the skills that have been passed on to you during your years of
For computer science students, a lapel pin with a binary
code inscription is presented, offering a coded message of professionalism. Kenneth
Christensen, PhD, professor of computer sciences and engineering, offered insight
into the Pledge of the Computing Professional.
“The act of joining a profession in modern society is
often accompanied by a rite of passage,” Dr. Christensen said. “In 2007, USF
and Ohio Northern University created an organization for their graduates in
their respective computer programs. The Pledge of Computing Professionals was
created by an international team of 17 computing professionals. Today, over 25
institutions offer the Pledge ceremony. Throughout this ceremony, we foster professional
pride, moral obligation, and ethical responsibility in all graduates in
computing disciplines. The initiates who are present today will soon stand and
take the Pledge. Members are expected to uphold the Pledge and honor the
computing profession. The certificates and pins our initiates receive will
serves as reminders of this promise throughout their professional careers.”
Dr. Christensen then added: “Encoded in the pin is a
keyword. It is up to you to decode it.”
For each senior student – engineering and computer
science majors – the ring or a lapel pin will serve as a constant reminder
across their careers of their promise to practice their careers with integrity.
For Tiana Jameson, an industrial engineer major, the
ceremony offers an opportunity to serve others.
“This reminds us to do good in the world and symbolizes
our commitment to serve our environment and our country,” said Jameson, who is
a military veteran (Navy) who is headed to a job with Lockheed Martin here in
the Tampa Bay area.
Information technology major Tom Campo saw the ceremony
as a strength for USF and its engineering program.
“This ceremony makes me feel that USF cares about our
futures, and shows how they view engineering,” Campo said.
Pedro Zamora-Albor saw the ceremony as reinforcing the foundational
purpose of his profession in chemical engineering.
“We need to be reminded why we came to this program in
the first place,” said Zamora-Albor, who is headed to an engineering consulting
job in San Francisco. “This gives us perspective and is a reminder that we’re
here to make this world a better place.”
The 285 students participating in the Induction into the
Profession Ceremony were among the 727 undergraduate, master's and doctoral engineering students in the Class
of 2017 – the largest graduating class in the history of the College of
Story by Sarah Worth, USF Communications, photos by Ryan Wakefield, USF College of Engineering.