Dedicated to the purpose of maintaining and promoting the status of Civil Engineering as an ideal profession, Chi Epsilon was organized to recognize the characteristics of the individual Civil Engineer deemed to be fundamental to the successful pursuit of an engineering career, and to aid in the development of those characteristics in the Civil Engineering student. Engineering, the application of scientific principles to the practical needs of society, is assuming a constantly increasing responsibility for the physical well-being of all people, and thus calling for competence of a high order. This responsibility can be discharged only by a professional group whose members are possessed of a good basic technical ability, intelligence, moral integrity, and effective social poise in their relationship with the larger community of which they are a part. To contribute to the improvement of the profession, Chi Epsilon fosters the development and exercise of sound traits of character and technical ability among Civil Engineers, and its members, by precept and example, toward an ever higher standard of professional service.
Chi Epsilon retains as its motto the Greek letters Chi Delta Chi, which formed the name of the junior honor society founded in 1922 at the University of Illinois and which is one of the roots of Chi Epsilon. Chi Delta Chi. These three letters shall symbolize our English motto: Conception, Design, and Construction. These are the three phases of every creative project. Conception is inventive; it perceives the opportunity to do something and recognizes the means of accomplishment. Fitting that means of accomplishment to the specific case and planning a definite method of work is design. Construction is the actual building. It makes a reality of the idea of conception and the plan of design. Conception requires imagination and intelligence. Design requires education and practical experience. Construction requires energy, determination, and perseverance. In these functions, your adherence to the principles of Chi Epsilon will serve you well.
In the Spring of 1922, a group of seniors and a group of juniors at the University of Illinois independently originated the idea of organizing a fraternity that would recognize the student who excels in the fundamental qualities of the successful civil engineer, and who would use those abilities constructively in advancing the civil engineering profession. When the two groups learned of each other’s existence, they joined under the name of Chi Epsilon.