PSPE History

It all began with a meeting of a group of President's Honor Award and Undergraduates Fellow Students on January 23rd, 1973, called by Assistant Dean C.S. Gerde. The meeting was called to discuss problems in the student body and to make recommendations for improvement. Civil Engineering Councilor and active Indiana Society of Professional Engineers and National Society of Professional Engineers member Robert D. Miles attended the meeting and brought up the idea of a chapter of the ISPE being created at Purdue. At the time the only student chapter of ISPE was at Purdue University, Calumet. Any suggestion of a Purdue West Lafayette chapter had been previously dismissed due to the theory that there were already too many organizations of the "technical and social type" on Purdue's main campus, but Miles thought the creation of a group of the "professional type" might represent an opportunity for improvement on campus. Upon the suggestion of the idea, ten students met Miles at the back of the room at the end of the meeting to discuss the possibility of the creation of such a society. One student, Edwin Yarbrough, seemed particularly interested and asked to meet with Miles in his office to further discuss the idea. A letter was prepared by Miles and was sent out to the freshmen student body at Purdue regarding the creation of the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers. With its first President Edwin Yarbrough, PSPE received its charter from ISPE on March 31st, 1973 and its national charter from NSPE a year later. Robert D. Miles, P.E. served as the first faculty advisor for PSPE until 1989, at which point Professor Joseph T. Pearson, P.E. began serving, which he did until 1993. Professor Robert Jacko, P.E. took over from there until 2007 when our current faculty advisor, Professor Emeritus Vincent Drnevich, P.E., PhD, assumed the role.

PSPE received their Order of the Engineer charter on May 22nd, 1975, and have performed the prestigious ceremony ever since. We were awarded the ISPE "Best Student Chapter" in 1992. It is estimated that the society has had over 600 officers, committee heads, and committee members over its 40 year history. Events have ranged from cookouts and barbeques to galas and balls. There have been senior awards issued, scholarships given, and Order of the Engineer rings awarded.

However, as I look at the history of our organization I see that one thing hasn't ever changed: the level of professionalism that was displayed in all we do. This brings me to my last statement about the rich history of PSPE. Professionalism is timeless, and I hope to look at PSPE another 40 years down the road and see respect, professionalism, and hard work as the pillars of this great society as they are today.