Our History



Theta Tau was founded as the "Society of Hammer and Tongs," on October 15, 1904, by Erich J. Schrader, Elwin L. Vinal, William M. Lewis, and Isaac B. Hanks, mining engineering students at the University of Minnesota. It is the first and largest engineering fraternity in the nation.

The founders agreed that character qualifications should have top priority in membership selection. In 1911, the society’s name was changed to Theta Tau at the fraternity's first national convention at the University of Minnesota.

Theta Tau is the largest (as well as the oldest) professional fraternity in the field of engineering. Over 30,000 have been initiated with 41 active student chapters.

For more details, please visit our national website.


The local engineering fraternity Theta Tau Sigma was started under the guidance of Theta Tau Executive Director Michael “Abe” Abraham in December 2005. In its first active semester of Spring 2006, a board of ten dedicated students was established.

After earning official recognition from the University in May 2006, Theta Tau Sigma's request for colony status was approved by the brothers of the national fraternity. The colony, led by founder and Regent Jason Phan, was certified on November 11, 2006, becoming the University of Pennsylvania Colony of Theta Tau.

After growing from eight to thirty-three in just over a year, the brothers of the Penn colony sought to improve their organization and sustainability in 2008 by ratifying local bylaws, establishing the committee structure which remains today, and developing a balanced palette of events including community service, professional development, and fraternal fellowship. Their volunteer efforts coordinating school-wide events, mentoring freshmen, and fostering student leaders earned the Colony the SEAS administration’s award as the best student organization for engineers in May 2008.

On the weekend of March 28, 2008, the brothers' hard work and dedication culminated in their installation as Tau Gamma Chapter in the traditional ceremony, preserved since the Fraternity’s founding in 1904. The brothers, led by Regent Daniel “Xander” White, welcomed national officers, local alumni, and brothers from Sigma Gamma and Psi Beta chapters for this milestone in the history of Theta Tau.

Since its installation, Tau Gamma Chapter’s brothers have expanded its mission of brotherhood, professionalism, and service as the principal coordinators of student and family outreach events in the Engineering School. Additionally, the chapter board established officer training, strategic planning lock-ins, leadership workshops, and a chapter wiki to facilitate institutional memory as the founding brothers approached graduation.

Tau Gamma continues to grow in energy, enthusiasm, and population. One of the first chapters in the nation to adopt Theta Tau’s robust New Member Education Program, Tau Gamma looks forward to sharing the joys of brotherhood with the newest rush class!