It’s been five years since Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) merged with IEEE to become the organization’s honor society. Formed more than a century ago to recognize exemplary college students, it is now known as IEEE-HKN and continues to recognize excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Inductees are chosen on the basis of their technical, scientific, and leadership achievements. Since the merger, they must also be IEEE members.
The merger expanded HKN’s operations and chapters well beyond North America. Since 2010, IEEE-HKN has grown from 125 to 193 active chapters at universities around the world.
More than 100 years old, HKN itself was founded in 1904 by Maurice L. Carr and a group of nine other engineering students at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Although its original purpose was to recognize academic excellence, its goals expanded over time. Now IEEE-HKN alumni serve as mentors to recent graduates, and many society members give back to their communities by tutoring preuniversity students and organizing science fairs and exhibits. IEEE-HKN also presents a number of awards each year to outstanding students, teachers, practitioners, and leaders in the IEEE fields of interest.
The IEEE-HKN category of Eminent Member is bestowed on “individuals who, by their technical attainment and contributions to society, have shown themselves to be outstanding leaders in the field of electrical engineering and great benefactors to society.” Those honored include Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, 2007 IEEE President Leah Jamieson, mobile phone inventor Martin Cooper, and Intel cofounder Gordon E. Moore.
To learn more about the honor society and find out how to start a chapter at your school, visit IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu’s website.