National History

Theta Tau was originally founded as the Society of Hammer and Tongs on October 15, 1904 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis by four young engineering students Erich J. Schrader, Elwin L. Vinal, William M. Lewis, and Isaac B. Hanks. Erich Schrader felt that engineering deserved a prominent professional fraternity similar to those that existed for lawyers, physicians, and dentists. Schrader’s service to the fraternity remains unmatched, having served as Grand Regent from 1904 to 1919, followed by 35 years as the Grand Scribe.

Fifty years after its founding the Fraternity established the position of Counsellor to be held only by Erich Schrader at the Founders’ Golden Anniversary Convention. He held this position until his death in 1962. The remaining founders remained interested in Theta Tau throughout their lives until the last brother, Vinal, died in 1971.

Erich Schrader was chiefly responsible for the Ritual, Constitution, and the Bylaws adopted by the founders. The first badge was a gold skull with the letters Θ and Τ on its forehead and a crossed hammer and tongs beneath. Schrader’s Constitution allowed for additional chapters at other engineering schools, with the hope that the organization would take on a national chapter.

The oldest symbol of the fraternity still in use is the coat of arms, adopted in 1906, which may only be displayed or worn by members.

Robert Downing, a friend of Isaac Hanks and student at Michigan College of Mines worked with Hanks to install the Beta chapter in 1906. In 1907, founder William Lewis transferred to the Colorado School of Mines and set up the Gamma Chapter in 1907. These three chapters held the first national conference in 1911, during which a new ritual was approved, the present badge adopted, and the name changed to Theta Tau. It was also decided that all branches of engineering would be included.

Over the next several years, new chapters continued to be installed. The second conference was held in 2013 and designated The Gear of Theta Tau as the fraternity’s magazine with Jack E. Haynes as its first editor-in-chief.

Despite the toll wars took on numbers, the fraternity continued to grow for many years. This growth continued in 1977, when a decision from the 1976 national conference was implemented granting women membership in the fraternity, with the Delta Chapter from Case Western Reserve being the first to implement.

By the time Theta Tau celebrated its centennial in 2004, more than 30,000 members had been initiated. More than 20 new chapters have been installed and many more colonies certified since 2010, a testament to Theta Tau’s record growth in recent history.

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Chapter History

The Lambda Gamma chapter of Theta Tau was founded by Scott Kultau, Jason Gamble, and Penn Sanders on January 13, 2001. The installment ceremony was conducted by the Grand Region at that time, Grand Regent Glen A. Wilcox.

Throughout the years, Lambda Gamma has continued to grow without losing the core values of being a brotherhood of Theta Tau.

The Lambda Gamma chapter of Theta Tau respect the culture of brotherhood, lifelong relationships, and connection, mutual respect and professionalism, balance of social, service, and professional activities, and diversity of engineering disciplines and demographics.

The oldest symbol of the fraternity still in use is the coat of arms, adopted in 1906, which may only be displayed or worn by members.