The Engineering Technology field emerged around the end of World War II when many military veterans returned to attend institutions of higher education as a result of the GI Bill. Since Engineering Technology was a relatively new field there was no national honor society to honor those students in this field.
To address this issue, Tau Alpha Pi was created in 1953 by Professor DeFore at Southern Polytechnic Institute. As Engineering Technology programs increased throughout the nation, Tau Alpha Pi became the basis for the establishment of a national honor society for Engineering Technology. Southern Tech became the location of the first chapter and numerous chapters were added, with Dr. Frederick J. Berger becoming the Founding Executive Director. Dr. Berger remained the Executive Director of the society for over three decades. He made Tau Alpha Pi the most selective honor society in the nation by admitting only the highest 4 percent of an institution’s total engineering technology enrollment in a given academic term. The society has always been open to both associate and bachelor degree candidates.
In 1997, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) took over the management of Tau Alpha Pi. The constitution of the society was revised in 1999 to accommodate a petition for Tau Alpha Pi’s entrance into the Association of Collegiate Honor Societies (ACHS), the umbrella group for many honor societies.
Since Tau Alpha Pi has been under ASEE’s management, thousands of students have been inducted into the society, representing the best engineering technology students at two- and four-year colleges and universities nationwide.