A Monumental Step for UC Irvine’s Tau Beta Pi Chapter

Bent monument installed in Engineering Gateway Plaza

The UC Irvine Tau Beta Pi Chapter celebrated a milestone five years in the making with the installation of the Tau Beta Pi Bent monument in the Engineering Gateway Plaza.  Installed after an extensive process involving the Tau Beta Pi national headquarters, the University of California, and UC Irvine campus officials, the monument is a significant step in the UC Irvine chapter’s history.

The Bent, the official symbol of Tau Beta Pi, is a watch key in the shape of the bent of a trestle, the load-bearing part of a bridge.  The Bent monument is both a sign of prestige for the chapter and a tool for increasing awareness of the chapter on campus. 

“The monument serves as a reminder of the importance of integrity in the engineering profession,” said Sabeen Cochinwala, ’09, the 2008-09 Tau Beta Pi outgoing treasurer.

The Bent installation is the result of the dedicated efforts of numerous Tau Beta Pi current and past officers, including:
  • Jeffrey Sawyer, ’05, 2004-05 President
  • Adam Halbardier, ’06, 2005-06 President
  • Henry Chu, ’07, 2006-07 President
  • Adam Ebnit, ’08, 2007-08 President
  • David Lai, ’08, 2007-08 External Vice President
  • Sabeen Cochinwala, ’09, 2008-09 Outgoing Treasurer
  • Christopher Dao, ’09, 2008-09 Outgoing Internal Vice President
  • Kenneth Wong, ’09, 2008-09 Outgoing President
  • Ricardo Komai, ‘10, 2009-10 Incoming President
The UC Irvine Tau Beta Pi Chapter, which has around 200 members, is a national honor society open to all engineering disciplines.  Students must complete an initiation process by meeting a set of requirements and demonstrating commitment to the organization before becoming official members.  An initiate must be in the top eighth percent of their junior class or top fifth percent of their senior class, and display exemplary character and integrity to be eligible to join Tau Beta Pi.
In addition to a strong academic background, members engage in community service, help with fund raising, and attend social events designed to build a sense of community among engineering students.  Members also attend events hosted by the Claire Trevor School of the Arts and other campus school units to show support for their fellow Anteaters. 

“Being a member means not just being a good student in the classroom, but trying to be a good student for the community as a whole,” said Komai, a third-year materials science and mechanical engineering undergraduate student.

Tau Beta Pi was founded at Lehigh University in 1885 by Dr. Edward Higginson Williams, Jr., to honor students for distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as engineering students or alumni.  The parent chapter, Alpha of Pennsylvania, existed alone until 1892 when Alpha of Michigan was founded at Michigan State University.  Since the founding of the Michigan Alpha chapter, Tau Beta Pi has grown steadily; there are now collegiate chapters at 235 institutions, chartered alumnus chapters in 59 cities, and a total initiated membership of 507,053.

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