Founding of the Society of Hammer and Tongs

On October 15, 1904, mining engineering students Erich Schrader, Elwin Vinal, William Lewis, and Isaac Hanks founded the Society of Hammer and Tongs at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The four founders desired to create a society in which engineers could promote professionalism while maintaing a strong social bond between fellow engineers. Hence, the purpose of Theta Tau was scribed:

"The purpose of Theta Tau is to develop and maintain a high standard of professional interest among its members, and to unite them in a strong bond of fraternal fellowship."

Theta Tau Halts Activities for War Period

The war caused Theta Tau to temporarily discontinue conventions. The war also affected various chapter's member initiations and participation. Although the conditions for the fraternity were poor during this time, most chapters prevented themeselves from becoming offically inactive.

Facts About Our Past

Founder Schrader

Erich Schrader is the principal founder of Theta Tau. He desired an engineering society, just as there had been societies for law and medecine at the time. He served as Grand Regent until 1919, and after that served as Grand Scibe for 35 years. Because of his dedicated service, he was awarded the honorary position of Counselor, which is to be held by only him. Additionally, the fraternity created the Schrader Award which is given to the chapter with the most Schrader points each year. The chapter given the Schrader Award is usually the most acitve and dedicated chapter of the fraternity.

Notable Alumni

Joe Engle - Astronaut and Commander of Space Shuttle Discovery
Robert R. Gilruth - Director of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center
Samuel Higginbottom - Chairman & President of Rolls-Royce
Simon Ramo - Led the Development of the Microwave
Lloyd Reuss - President of General Motors
Cliff Stearns - US Congressman from Florida
Maxwell R. Thurman - First four-star officer from NCSU, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1983 to 1987, credited with the Army's "Be all you can be" slogan

National Conventions

The first National Convention was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1906. This convention set the precedence for every other convention to be held in the name of Theta Tau. At each convention, delegates from each Theta Tau chapter join to discuss fraternity politics, bylaws, Hall of Fame nominations, Executive Counsel news, and various other topics regarding the future of the Fraternity. It is held every two years in a different city. The last Theta Tau National Convention was held in the summer of 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Brothers Daniel Krinke, Kunal Sarkhel, and Fritz Reese represented the Xi Delta Chapter.

Regions and Regional Conferences

As the fraternity grew nationally, the Executive Counsel decided to split the chapters into regions. The current regions are Atlantic, Western, Midwest, Central, Southeast, Northeast, Great Lakes, and Gulf. Every semester, one chapter from each region hosts Regionals which brings together all of the chapters in that region to learn about chapter news and bring together ideas.

Competitive Fraternities

Since the founding of Theta Tau, a person wishing to join the fraternity was not allowed to be involved with other competing engineering fraternities. Throughout the chapter's history, fraternities have been added and removed based on activity. The current list is as follows: Alpha Chi Sigma, Alpha Omega Epsilon, Alpha Rho Chi, Alpha Sigma Kappa, Phi Sigma Rho, Sigma Beta Epsilon, Scarab, Sigma Phi Delta, Sigma Rho, and Triangle.

The Gear of Theta Tau

The Gear of Theta Tau was established as the fraternity's national magazine in 1913 at the Second National Convention. Today, the Gear of Theta Tau is released annually with important news about the chapter. The edition also includes scholarship recipents, chapter highlights, service opportunities, and alumni relations. As a Brother of Theta Tau, one is automatically subscribed to the magazine for life.

Atlantic Region