Eta Kappa Nu is a unique membership organization dedicated to encouraging and recognizing excellence in the electrical and computer engineering field. Members consist of students, alumni, and other professionals who have demonstrated exceptional academic and professional accomplishments, along with superior character and attitude.

Built on Tradition

“We did not propose to ignore scholastic standing . . . but we did not propose to debar a good man because he was not a good student in all subjects . . .”

-Maurice L. Carr (HKN Founder)

Eta Kappa Nu was formed as a result of the vision of Maurice L. Carr, an electrical engineering student at the University of Illinois. He shared his vision of a unique organization that recognized academic excellence in engineering with nine other students, and together they founded Eta Kappa Nu on October 28, 1904.

Although the organization's original purpose was to honor scholarship and help engineering graduates find employment, it was also noted that selecting students with the character and attitude that would make them probable leaders in the profession was even more important. These views are still present today, as members accepted into the society must demonstrate strong ingenuity and academic skills, but also superior character, scholarship, and attitude. At its roots, Eta Kappa Nu also strives to symbolically reflect and honor the engineering concepts which its members are passionate about. For instance, the letters in the honor society's name are directly taken from the Greek spelling of "electron" (ΗΛΕΚΤΡΟΝ).

Since its founding, Eta Kappa Nu's influence has spread quickly, and today there are over 200 student chapters across the world, comprised of over 200,000 members. The Eta Kappa Nu Lambda Chapter was established at the University of Pennsylvania on March 12, 1913.
View our archive for a history of HKN at the University of Pennvylvania over the past 100 years.

Current Day Organization

Eta Kappa Nu is a nonprofit, public-service organization comprising nearly 200 university chapters, a variety of committees, many active member volunteers, and thousands of student members. On February 14, 2009, Eta Kappa Nu merged with IEEE, the largest technical professional society in the world. While the merger maintained HKN's goals of recognizing young professionals for academics and character, a new system of management was adopted to govern the joint collaboration.

A Board of Governors provides the leadership and guidance to Eta Kappa Nu. A set of Operating Procedures provides the basis for the association's day-to-day operations. Numerous committees composed of Board members and volunteers provide additional service to the organization.

The International Engineering Consortium provides management services for HKN. The IEC is a nonprofit educational and service organization that serves industry and academia. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association is managed by the IEC.

To learn more about HKN, please visit the HKN National Website.