The Tau Beta Pi Association, national engineering honor society, was founded at Lehigh University in 1885 by Dr. Edward Higginson Williams, Jr., "to mark in a fitting manner those who have conferred honor upon their Alma Mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as undergraduates in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges."
Edward H. Williams, Jr., was born at Proctorsville, Vermont, on September 30, 1849; he died at Woodstock, Vermont, on November 2, 1933. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was head of the mining department of Lehigh University when he determined to offer technical men as good a chance of recognition for superior scholarship in their field as that afforded by the other society in the liberal arts and sciences.
Working alone he conceived an organization, gave it a name, designed its governmental structure, drew up its constitution, prepared its badge and certificate, established its membership requirements, and planned all the necessary details for its operation including the granting of chapters and the holding of conventions.
New York Gamma
The New York Gamma Chapter of Tau Beta Pi was founded on June 12, 1908 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Currently there are over one hundred members in eleven engineering disciplines. Requirements for membership include academics, character, and service. Juniors in the top eighth of their class and seniors in the top fifth of their class are eligible for membership.
Each semester TBP hosts several on-campus programs for members as well as for the Rensselaer community. Activities include the Annual Egg Drop during Grand Marshal week and Student Forums on Accepted Students Day.