Merger Set for IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu

Two societies share common interests

6 April 2009

The honor society Eta Kappa Nu and IEEE have announced their merger. The IEEE Board of Directors and HKN’s Board of Governors signed the merger agreement on 14 February in a ceremony held during the IEEE BOD meeting series in San Juan, Puerto Rico. More than 100 HKN members attended. The merger is a result of a three-year effort involving volunteers and staff members from both organizations.

HKN was established in 1904 by Maurice L. Carr, an electrical engineering student at the University of Illinois. It recognizes excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service, and currently comprises almost 200 university chapters. HKN has more than 100 000 inductees—students, alumni, and professionals who were invited to HKN on the basis of their technical, scientific, and leadership achievements. A special category of Eminent Members includes individuals who have provided significant contributions to humankind in areas such as education, government, corporate management, and professional society activities. Among the early Eminent Members of HKN were Vladimir Zworykin (1950), Frederick Terman (1951) and Lee DeForest (1952).

“IEEE is committed to making HKN the leading honor society in engineering, science, and computing,” says IEEE President John Vig. “We expect that HKN will attract and retain exceptional students and professionals from all over the world, and from all IEEE’s technical fields of interest.”

OLD FRIENDS The merger extends the nearly century-old relationship between the two organizations. They already hold joint award ceremonies, and many IEEE student branches work with HKN student chapters on tutoring preuniversity students, establishing engineering outreach programs with high schools, and sponsoring technical competitions.

“Over the last few years it became clear that IEEE and HKN would be able to enhance each other’s scope of activities and their appeal to students and young professionals,” says Bruce Eisenstein, president of HKN and 2000 IEEE President. “Both organizations will end up as winners.”

HKN will be an organizational unit of IEEE, governed by the new IEEE–HKN Board of Governors. The IEEE Foundation has established an endowment account to support HKN’s activities, which will fund awards and educational programs. The endowment was created from HKN premerger assets and a donation of US $1.2 million from IEEE. Future funding will come from donations by IEEE, IEEE members, charitable foundations, and others.

The merger is not official until sanctioned by the state of New York, where IEEE is incorporated. Approval is expected in the next few months.

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