Omega Chi Epsilon
Initiation Ceremony


Election to membership in Omega Chi Epsilon recognizes outstanding academic achievement and encourages the development of professionalism. The sharing of this honor with interested family and friends, like the sharing of most good things in life, makes the recognition more meaningful and joyful. The Executive Committee of Omega Chi Epsilon encourages each chapter to invite parents, husbands, wives, and close friends of the new initiates to attend the initiation ceremony. Each chapter, however, has the option of closing the ceremony to all except chapter members. For a closed ceremony, certain portions of the beginning of the ceremony are omitted.
Preparation for the Ceremony
1. You will need a long table and five chairs. The table may be covered with a maroon (or white) cloth.
2. You will need 5 white candles (8 to 10 inches tall) and some 1/2-inch wide maroon velvet ribbon. Tie a bow around each candle using an appropriate length of ribbon. The bow should be about half way up the candle. Place each candle in a low candlestick. Simple glass candlesticks can be obtained from a discount store.
3. You should have 5 copies of the initiation ceremony on the table, one in front of each chair.
4. You will need a chair for each new initiate. These should be placed in front of the table
in rows of 7 to 10 chairs. If more than one row is needed, leave enough space between rows so the chapter officers can walk to personally congratulate each new initiate after the ceremony.
5. Chairs for chapter members and other guests should be placed in back of the chairs for the new initiates.
6. You will need a large, colored replica of the Omega Chi Epsilon key. Poster board size (20 x 28 inches) is adequate. You may use the image of the key at the top of the Homepage. Alternately, a slide of the key works well when projected on a screen behind the officers. The significance of the key will be explained in the initiation ceremony. A spotlight may be used to illuminate the key at the appropriate time in the ceremony. This light should not be so brilliant as to illuminate the room.
7. New initiates will line up outside the meeting room in the order in which their names are to be announced. Each initiate will enter the room when the Pledge Master announces his or her name.
8. The officers should line up outside the room in the following order: President, Treasurer, Vice President, Faculty Advisor, Secretary A chapter member who is not an officer can serve as Pledge Master. Each officer will carry a candle (with maroon ribbon) in a candleholder. If the ceremony is open, only the president’s candle should be lit. If the ceremony is closed, all of the officers’ candles should be lit.
9. All members (and guests) should be seated before the officers enter.
Closed Ceremony
Item 8 under Preparation is changed. Officers will be seated at the table with a lighted candle at the top of each script.
The room lights are off.
President: Welcome to the initiation ceremony of the … name Chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon, National Chemical Engineering Honor Society. I will now ask the Pledge Master to introduce the new initiates.
Pledge Master, opens door for new initiates and leads them into the room: Mr./Madam President, I present to you … number students who seek membership in Omega Chi Epsilon.
Resume ceremony on following page below following OPEN CEREMONY where indicated.
Open Ceremony
The room lights are on. The President, carrying the lighted candle, leads the other officers to their places at the table. When all have arrived at their places, each places their candle at the top of his or her script and sits down.
The President addresses the audience.
President: Welcome to the initiation ceremony of the … name Chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon, national chemical Engineering Honor Society. My name is … name and I am president of the chapter. On my far left is our secretary, … name. On my immediate left is our faculty advisor … name. On my immediate right is our vice president, … name and on my far right is our treasurer, … name.
This afternoon/evening we will instruct a number of new initiates in the purposes and objectives of Omega Chi Epsilon. These young men and women have shown outstanding achievement and exceptional potential in chemical engineering. We are very proud of these students, and we invite you to share in recognizing their achievements.
The candles represent the five objectives of Omega Chi Epsilon. The candle I hold represents Professionalism, a quality that underlies all other objectives. The others are Recognition (light the secretary’s candle), Investigation (light the faculty advisor’s candle), Service (light the treasurer’s candle) and Comradeship (light the vice president’s candle). These objectives will be explained further in our initiation ceremony.
I will now ask the Pledge Master to introduce the new initiates.
Pledge Master,  turns off room lights, opens door for new initiates and leads them in: Mr./Madam President, I present to you … number students who seek membership in Omega Chi Epsilon.
Resume ceremony below
Resumption of Closed/Open Ceremony
President: Have they fulfilled all the necessary requirements for membership?
Pledge Master: Yes, they have completed all the requirements. Each has attained or exceeded the scholastic requirements as stated in the Constitution. Each has good character and has supported the ideals of the … name of the university. Finally, each has been considered worthy, by vote of the members of … name Chapter, to become a member of Omega Chi Epsilon.
President: Please announce their names and ask them to join us.
Pledge Master reads the names of the initiates. As each name is announced, the candidate enters the room and stands in front of his/her chair. Allow enough time for each candidate to reach his/her chair before announcing the next candidate.
President: Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. Initiates are seated. Before admitting you into Omega Chi Epsilon, we must instruct you about its history, its aims and ideals, and the responsibilities incurred by your membership. The Vice President will begin your instruction.
Vice-President: Omega Chi Epsilon exists for the purpose of bringing together into a fraternal organization students in the same profession. In later life, as we work together, these fraternal relationships will form a common basis for cooperation. Omega Chi Epsilon has five objectives, symbolized by the five candles on the table.
First, RECOGNITION. To recognize excellence in chemical engineering.
Second, INVESTIGATION. To promote original investigation and innovation in the various area of chemical engineering.
Third, SERVICE. To provide service to the Department/School of Chemical Engineering and the student body.
Fourth, COMRADESHIP. To promote comradeship among chemical engineers.
Fifth, PROFESSIONALISM. To encourage the development of honesty, integrity and social responsibility, the hallmarks of professional ethics.
As incoming members of Omega Chi Epsilon you will be called on to continue the work of the Chapter and the Society. Yours is the responsibility for seeing that Omega Chi Epsilon remains a worthwhile organization.
President: The Secretary will now instruct you about the history of Omega Chi Epsilon and the … name Chapter.
Secretary: Omega Chi Epsilon had its inception at the University of Illinois in the Spring of 1931. The idea for such an organization originated with Mr. F. C. Howard. With the counsel of Professors Keys and Krase, A. Garrell Deem, Ethan M. Stifle and John W. Bertetti undertook to develop the idea. They drew up a set of By-Laws, designed a key and petitioned the Council of Administration for a charter, which was subsequently granted. This thus became the Alpha Chapter of Omega Chi Epsilon.
The following year, a group of interested eligible students at Iowa State College formed a chemical engineering honor association and petitioned the chapter at the University of Illinois for a charter. The charter was granted, and the Beta Chapter was formed. In 1934, the Gamma Chapter was established at the University of Minnesota.
Fifteen years elapsed between the establishment of the sixth chapter (Zeta, Purdue University, 1942) and the seventh chapter (Eta, Newark College of Engineering, 1957). A period of very rapid growth occurred in the 1970’s. Between 1969 and 1981, 23 chapters received their charters. Omega Chi Epsilon now has 61 active chapters and over 19,000 members.
At this point, the Secretary should read a brief history of the chapter itself. Some of the questions answered could include:
1. When was the idea for your chemical engineering honor society first conceived?
2. Who (faculty and students) worked on obtaining the Omega Chi Epsilon charter?
3. When was the charter granted?
4. What are the current activities of the chapter?
5. How many members does the chapter have?
President: The Treasurer will now explain the significance of the various parts of our key.
Treasurer, walks to the replica of the key: Our key is a constant reminder of the objectives of Omega Chi Epsilon. The four arms of the Maltese cross (point to them) represent the first four objectives: RECOGNITION, INVESTIGATION, SERVICE and COMRADESHIP. These four are bound intimately together by the fifth, PROFESSIONALISM, represented by the circular maroon crest (point to it) in the shape of a globe, reminding us of the world-wide scope of chemical engineering. The gold Greek letters, Omega, Chi, Epsilon, are inscribed on a white band encircling the globe. The crossed retorts, the integral sign, and the bolt of lightning represent the three main tools of the chemical engineer--chemistry, mathematics and physics.
Thus, the key is a reminder of the objectives of Omega Chi Epsilon and a symbol of our standards of scholarship.
Mr. Deem, one of the student founders, interpreted the cross as showing a willingness to fight for independent professional status for chemical engineering, as opposed to remaining a branch of chemistry. The colors of Omega Chi Epsilon—maroon, white and black—are used in the key. The letters─Omega Chi Epsilon—represent both a title and a motto. They are the Greek equivalents of the initials of "Order of Chemical Engineers". They are also the first letters of the motto "Ode Chrototos Eggegramai" which means, "In this Society, professionalism is engraved in our minds".
President: Our Faculty Advisor will conclude your instruction.
Faculty Advisor: You are being admitted to Omega Chi Epsilon in recognition of your high scholastic average and your desirable personal traits. If your efforts were to stop at this point, the goals you have attained would be a hollow victory. Each member must continue to strive for excellence, thereby bringing credit to himself or herself, as well as to the chemical engineering profession. Be willing to assume leadership, as it is your obligation to be a leader. Use your talents to their fullest extent. Avoid, however, giving the impression of being filled with false pride, for the knowledge that we have is a pitifully small portion of all there is to know.
Lastly, while you are still in school you have an opportunity to become acquainted with a great many people of your profession, and to form friendships that otherwise you may never have had the opportunity to have formed. Learn to know your colleagues in … name Chapter, and form with them the type of friendship that will endure the test of years.
President: Retain these words, as they should inspire you to take a greater interest in your chosen profession, and to accept responsibilities in civic and technical activities.
Will the initiates please rise and repeat after me: "I, state your name, do solemnly promise/ to conduct myself at all times/ in an honest and professional manner,/ to uphold the name and dignity of Omega Chi Epsilon,/ and to serve my fellow engineers,/ my community and my country."
On behalf of the members of Omega Chi Epsilon, I extend our warmest congratulations to you!
Officers, led by the president, leave the table and shake hands with new members. The secret handshake can be used and membership cards may be distributed at this time.