Illinois Alpha

University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois

Charter Date   March 16, 1915

Chapter No.   1

Advisor   Dr. Surya Pratap Vanka

Chapter Status

Annual Chapter Reports

Illinois Alpha


Pi Tau Sigma had its beginning in the year 1915 when a group of upperclassmen in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois planned an honorary fraternity for mechanical engineering students. They organized "to foster the high ideals of the engineering profession, to stimulate interest in co-ordinate departmental activities, and to promote the welfare of its members."

A. F. Barron and R. C. Maley, both of the class of 1915, and O.C.K. Hutchinson of the class of 1916 were the leaders. These men received the encouragement and advice of Professors C. R. Richards, B. W. Benedict, G. A. Goodenough, and O. A. Leutwiler, who expressed the opinion that such an organization could foster co-operation between students and faculty and promote worthwhile student activities. The original charter was approved by the Council of Administration of the University on March 16, 1915.Illinois Alpha Chapter has continued to perform these functions since its inception.

Prepared by: Jack Lund

Throughout the years, the Illinois Alpha chapter of Pi Tau Sigma has maintained a constant presence on the UIUC campus through our various service, social, and personal advancement activities. This year we welcomed a total of 46 initiates, 26 initiating in the spring and 20 in the fall.


Illinois Alpha holds a 6 day long barbecue each semester to raise money for charity. This year, we raised about $1500 for the Brother’s Brother Foundation in the fall to assist with hurricane recover and about $1500 in spring for the United Way of Champaign County. Additionally, our chapter spearheads an initiative to educate elementary schoolers about engineering principles called Booker T. Washington Engineering and Technology Club. Two days a week over 6 weeks of a semester, members visit Booker T. Washington elementary school to lead children in creative and informative afterschool activities.

Similarly, we hold Family Engineering Picnics which are science fairs in which families can participate in demonstrations designed to instruct young students in STEM principles.

Illinois Alpha exhibits at Engineering Open House every year as well, and this year was no different. These events are open to the public, and designed to showcase to younger students what engineers can do! This past year, Illinois Alpha showcased a fluids project, a creative design project, a catapult project, and a robot to compete in the MRDC robotics competition.


Every year our chapter hosts biweekly happy hours and holds two barcrawls per semester, one with other departmental organizations and the other on our own. Additionally, we hold numerous social events, such as game nights and potlucks. We also held two pig roasts throughout the year. We bought a pig from our university’s meat salesroom and roasted it in an oven of our design.  Our exec board loves planning for this all-day event and feasting on the rewards of our labor.


Illinois Alpha organizes meetings with various companies throughout the year in order to provide our members with access to representatives so that they may make connections and receive career advice and opportunities. Companies that visited us this year include P&G, Cummins, Vesuvius, Caterpillar, 3M, Ford, Kimberly-Clark, Rolls Royce, Chrysler and others.

Additionally, we held a graduate student panel consisting of current graduate students at Illinois to field questions from students interested in academia.

Our chapter also fields four project teams every year. This year we created a creative project using a gearing system and vacuum to create a showcase similar to an arcade claw, a catapult, a fluids project which demonstrated how a non-newtonian fluid behaves under shear stress, and a robot for the Midwest Robotics Design Competition.

We’re excited to see what next year brings!