How to Start a Chapter

How to start a KHK Chapter at your school.

A manual designed for a club of Electrical Engineers
who propose to affiliate with Kappa Eta Kappa


Issued March 1939
From the office of the Expansion Vice-President of Kappa Eta Kappa

Revised August 1992
from the office of the Vice-President of Delta of Kappa Eta Kappa, Steven R. Wranovsky


Table of Contents
Structure of Kappa Eta Kappa
Information About Formation of a New Chapter
Mechanisms for Formation of Club
Petition Form
Early Operation of a Chapter
Relevent Section on forming new chapters from KHK National Constitution
Sample Constitution
Sample By-Laws


The purpose of this manual is to supply information to organize a club of electrical engineers with the aim in mind of meeting the requirements to petition Kappa Eta Kappa for a charter.

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The procedure followed in presenting this material to you is to give considerable general information concerning Kappa Eta Kappa, to show what is necessary to form a chapter, to present the mechanics of a well organized
club, to suggest petition form and material, and to explain some of the early problems of a newly formed chapter.

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Structure of Kappa Eta Kappa

Kappa Eta Kappa is a national professional electrical engineering fraternity established at the State University of Iowa on February 11, 1923. Chapters are currently established at the following schools:

  • University of Minnesota– Beta
  • University of Wisconsin– Delta
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering– Theta
  • St. Cloud State University– Iota

Beta and Delta chapter were formed practically as a unit, in the early 1920s. Theta chapter was added in 1957, and Iota chapter was installed in the fall of 1990.

Kappa Eta Kappa was formed in a time when electrical engineering was almost a strictly male field. Kappa Eta Kappa remained an all male fraternity until the early 1980s. Upon consideration that Kappa Eta Kappa is a professional fraternity, and with the growing number of female engineering students at the time, a number of the chapters voted to allow female members within their ranks. The decision to allow female members is currently made at the chapter level.

The purposes of Kappa Eta Kappa are set forth in the model constitution found elsewhere in this manual. Membership is restricted to electrical engineers, and therefore we are intent on promoting better relationships within our profession. Since the various branches of engineering are not closely united, we, as electrical engineers form a rather homogeneous group. Although our possibilities for membership are more or less restricted, we believe Kappa Eta Kappa offers the best type of organization for your school, as it is an opportunity for the largest number of students in any one department to acquire the advantages of a fraternity. Since it must represent a group whose member’s financial abilities vary over a wide range, the costs of belonging to a fraternity must be kept low in order to make a professional fraternity a practical item in the life of a professional man.

Kappa Eta Kappa makes no claim as an honorary fraternity, as that field is amply served by Eta Kappa Nu. Kappa Eta Kappa desires to be a cross section of the field of electrical engineers. In your class we want some of the brilliant men, we want the average ones, and we want some of the poorer students who work hard for their grades. We want a strata-cut of electrical engineers similar to what one finds in the field after graduation.

In addition to the activity of the active chapters on their respective camps, Kappa Eta Kappa has an active group of alumni associations for each of the active chapters. Alumni around the country are contacted by the Electron, the official publication of Kappa Eta Kappa, and by newsletters of the various active chapters. A file of addresses of all alumni is kept by the Editor of the Electron

The government of the chapters and the alumni associations is vested in the Convention and the National Executive Council chosen by the Convention. The Convention is held each year, usually in the month of January, at one of the schools where a chapter is located, that Convention being sponsored by that chapter. The National Executive Council consists of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and the Treasurer. The Vice President also holds the position of Editor of the Electron. Because of the diverse conditions under which the chapters and associations are operating, the work of the Council is mostly of the form of coordination and standardization. The chapters are left to themselves in most matters of government, as there are really but few local matters that are of national fraternity concern.

A professional fraternity offers numerous advantages over non-fraternity membership or other types of fraternities. A member of Kappa Eta Kappa must personally know a large number of students in order to help add new members to his fraternity. Thus, non-members of Kappa Eta Kappa derive the benefit of acquaintanceship and associations from this activity of a member of K H K. Once a student has become a member of Kappa Eta Kappa, he must work with other men in the interests of his organization, as he will have to do in a similar way in his work after being graduated. If he is not a mixer, if he refuses to take part in social activities, if he is mentally lazy, or if he is quite independent in all his work and play, Kappa Eta Kappa is an important factor in adjusting the man for a well rounded life. Through the fraternity the faculty members have a dependable support for the IEEE, electrical engineering exhibits and programs, and similar activates sponsored by the department. The faculty members have an opportunity to have more personal and informal contacts with their students through Kappa Eta Kappa by which they may determine the likes and dislikes of the students. After you have been graduated, the fraternity offers an opportunity to retain friendships, make new ones, and to renew interest in your own professional field as well as allied fields.

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Information About Formation of a New Chapter

In order that a charter may be issued to a school for a chapter of Kappa Eta Kappa, it is necessary that the organization display considerable stability and permanence. The procedure in this case is to form a local club with the idea in mind of petitioning for a charter as soon as the club has obtained sufficient strength, as is evidenced by membership, school recognition, activity, attendance, spirit, etc. To many, however, information of this nature is not available, and it is intended that this manual aid you in obtaining your charter.

To have a working organization, the initial membership should be at least twelve members, and in order to have a chapter of that size there should be at least one hundred students enrolled in electrical engineering.

The usual method of introducing the idea of a fraternity similar to Kappa Eta Kappa is to correspond with faculty members in an effort to obtain recommendations of students who might be interested in a professional fraternity. If that student displays considerable interest and discusses it with other students, with resulting enthusiasm, organization will follow. We know, we have seen it work. Once contact has been made, all the efforts for a chapter should originate from the students, as Kappa Eta Kappa is an organization for the students and its demand and approval should emanate from them.

To the student or students that are approached in regard to Kappa Eta Kappa — it is your duty to relay this information to others, add to it your own ideas and suggestions, and sponsor the organization until it makes more headway. As a matter of fact, your duties are the ones requiring the most initiative without reward, because after the organization has gained considerable momentum there will be others to work.

It is worthwhile to remember that any organization is exactly equal to what unselfish service each member gives it. If an individual is in accord with the principles and policies of an organization, he should serve that organization as he contracted to do when he took the obligation of membership.

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The routine work in forming a club will be suggested herein; however, there are many items of local color that the members will have to outline.

University or college recognition must be obtained for the club. Usually some application is made to the institution, this information being obtainable through the head of the department, dean of engineering, or some such official.

Some suitable name should be chosen for the club. The Electron Club, the Proton Club, the High Tension Club, or the Greek initials of some name might be suggested. The advantage of choosing a suitable and likeable name is primarily one of publicity. The club should receive favorable and regular publicity on the campus as a means of obtaining a good reputation among other groups as well as among the electrical engineering students.

The Constitution and By-laws to govern the club are suggested in this manual. The former is the framework of the Constitution of Kappa Eta Kappa, using only portions which will apply for a local club. The By-laws are the ones used by several chapters, with some revision. It is possible to use them as given, or they may be changed to suit the particular requirements. The By-laws will give much information concerning the operation of a club, specifying the officers, committees, meetings, fees, and selection of new members.

Meetings should be held every two weeks unless activity indicates that it will be worthwhile to meet every week. Usually, academic fraternities will meet on one night a week, professional fraternities on another, clubs and societies on another, and so on, so that it is advisable to choose one certain night and adhere to that schedule. Of course special meetings may be called for any time — for luncheons, in the evening, or possibly at ten at night.

The amount of money to operate the club varies quite a bit. It depends on what activates the club participates in, what they cost, and whether the members wish to operate on a co-operative basis or to develop a small surplus by paying a monthly term fee. It is generally true that the members will show more interest if they have a small amount invested in the organization. This can best be handled by requiring members to deposit an amount to be credited to their initiation fee in K H K at the time they become members of the club. The assessments for dinners, parties, and general operation can be made on a term budget plan or on receipt of the bill or bills for the function, whatever it might be. Regardless of the amount of money or the extent of the club’s activity, it will be found wise to have a complete and up-to-date set of books kept by the secretary, treasurer and corresponding secretary.

A program of activity is well worth considering at all times, as it helps keep the organization in a constructive attitude. Professional meetings are of value if no other agency has anything parallel to it in your department. At such meetings a lecture or a forum system dealing with purely professional subjects or engineering subjects may be followed.

Social functions, of course, are always welcome. A party, picnic, banquet, or whatever it may be should be included in your program, as they are necessary parts of fraternity life. It may be possible to arrange joint parties with other organizations in order to reduce party expense.

In addition to the above listed sources of activity, there are many other fields one can suggest. For example, noon luncheons should be popular if once started, or offering a club program for the I E E E, or aiding in engineering exhibits, or helping new Freshmen learn about the campus, or participating in intramural athletics. It is needless to suggest more activities similar to those because the club will find enough to do once it is successfully underway.

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Petition Form

The petition is the formal application to the fraternity for admission of your club as a chapter. A few members of Kappa Eta Kappa are in intimate contact with your club and know quite a bit about it. But to the vast majority the petition is the only source of information about you and what you have done.

Therefore the petition, as your representative, should be in the best form. It should be neat, concise, in good taste, and informative. The following form is suggested, under the headings:

  • Cover
  • Title page
  • Formal petition
  • General history of the University
  • History of the Club
  • Directory of members
  • Letters of recommendation

The cover above all should be neat and unpretentious but at the same time distinctive looking. The printing on it — A PETITION TO KAPPA ETA KAPPA FROM THE ELECTRON CLUB — should be typewritten rather than printed poorly. The title page should bear — A Petition to Kappa Eta Kappa from the Electron Club — University of State — March 10, 1992 — or something of that nature.

The following page should contain a formal petition.¬†Thus — We, the undersigned, believing that we should band ourselves together to promote . . . . . . . , do hereby petition the National Executive Council of Kappa Eta Kappa for a charter of said fraternity at the University of State under the stewardship of the undersigned.¬†This should be signed by all honorary and active members who intend to be members of Kappa Eta Kappa.

A general history of the university or college should then be included, it should not be too lengthy, but still it should contain all the important facts. It is generally practical to start with the university as founded, and then proceed to the engineering and electrical engineering divisions. The history of the club will be shorter, but it also should contain all the important facts about the club. This is one reason why the secretary of the club should keep complete books.

All the names of those signing the formal petition should appear in the directory of members. Assume some particular tabular form to include the member’s name, home address, year of graduation, and his recognized campus activates. Letters of recommendation should be from professors in the electrical engineering department, the head of the department, the dean of the engineering division, other college officials, and from faculty members who know the members as a group. A large number of good recommendations aid the petition considerably.

Only one copy is required (although a copy should be kept for historical reasons), and it is to be sent to the National Executive Council. The National Executive Council will then distribute copies to the active chapters. This copy should be well type-written, neat and clean, and should have wide margins and contain plenty of white space. Let your petition represent your club in a way that benefits your application to the Fraternity.

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Early Operation

Here is a note of encouragement. From our experience as a fraternal organization, a newly formed chapter rarely finds any difficulties of major significance. A new chapter of Kappa Eta Kappa will find its life and growth excellent from the start and the usual cry of its new members is to learn why such an organization had not been started at that particular school some years before. Chapter difficulties of importance usually arise from some malignant condition in the electrical engineering department itself — consolidation of schools, poor instruction drawing the poorer type students, inferior equipment, or some such cause which does not bring an assortment of electrical engineering students to the school concerned. Therefore, it is to your advantage to take account of your school in order to keep it above the average calibre of electrical engineering departments.

Other difficulties may arise from financial troubles or from the formation of cliques within the chapter. These should always be closely watched by the President of the chapter, who should quickly effect a compromise or remedy. An alert President of your new chapter will mean much in solving your early problems.

Kappa Eta Kappa, as a professional fraternity, maintains chapter houses in some sections of the country, as do similar organizations in other fields. The matter is optional with the local chapter. Some chapters lease or own their house and supply board for its members, and other lease both room and board facilities. The chapter without a house will find it of value to rent a chapter room or hall for meetings, recreation room, and possibly also for social functions.

A prerequisite to successful chapter growth is the wise selection of its members. Then, good leadership and a sound financial condition will lead a new chapter to a fruitful and worthy existence.

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Relevant Sections from the KHK Constitution on forming a Chapter

Article III – Chapters

Section 1

A petition for the establishment of a Chapter and for a Charter for the same may be made by any organization whose members are eligible under Article III of the Constitution. Such a petition shall be addressed to the Secretary of the Fraternity. It shall set forth the desires of the petitioners and their willingness to subscribe to and obey the Constitution and By-laws of K H K.

It shall specify the present membership, which shall include not less than twelve (12) active members.

The petition shall be submitted to the Executive Council. If approved by a unanimous vote, it shall be referred to the active chapters for action, and shall be declared granted when three-fourth of the active chapters have acted favorable upon it by a three-fourths vote of the membership in each.

When a petition has received the required favorable action, the petitioning organization, each Chapter, and the members of the Executive Council shall be notified by the Secretary of the Executive Council.

The Secretary of the Executive Council shall then prepare a copy of the charter, Constitution and By-laws. The Executive Council will then proceed in person, if possible, or appoint a deputation to take the above documents to the petitioners, and install the petitioners according to the ceremonies of the Fraternity.

Section 2

The Chapters of this Fraternity shall be designated by the letters of the Greek alphabet, the first being Alpha Chapter, the twenty-fifth being Alpha Alpha Chapter, the twenty-sixth being Alpha Beta Chapter, and the other chapters being designated in alphabetical order.

Section 3

The national fee for granting a new Charter shall be fifty dollars ($50.00), due before installation.

The national fee for each member of any organization to which a charter is granted shall be three dollars, due before installation.

The national fee for each man initiated thereafter shall be eleven dollars and fifty cents ($11.50) due before installation.

The national dues shall be ten dollars per year per active member, due at the National Convention for the following year.

The above dues shall be collected by the Chapters and sent to the Treasurer of the Executive Council on or before the date on which they are due. Under no circumstances shall the Chapters hold this money after it has been collected, nor shall they use it for any purpose whatsoever.

Section 4

Subject to this Constitution and By-laws of the Fraternity, each Chapter shall have full control of its individual affairs, and may enact By-laws for its own guidance in all matters not herein set forth.

Section 5

The necessary officers of each chapter shall be President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, all of whom shall be active members.

Article I By-laws

Section 4a

Each active Chapter shall have a minimum of 2 delegate votes. Each active Chapter shall have an additional vote for each active member group exceeding a base of 2 active member groups. An active member group is defined as having a minimum of 3 members and a maximum of 7 members where 5 is considered the standard number. There shall be no more than one authorized delegate per vote of fraction thereof and no delegate shall have more than two votes. A sample table follows:

0-12 members…………… 2 votes
13-17 members………… 3 votes
18-22 members………… 4 votes
23-27 members………… 5 votes
28-32 members………… 6 votes
33-37 members………… 7 votes
38-42 members…………. 8 votes
43-47 members…………. 9 votes
48-52 members…………. 10 votes
53-57 members…………. 11 votes
58-62 members…………. 12 votes
63-67 members…………. 13 votes

Section 4c

Effective with the convening of the 1959 Convention, the National Executive Council will assume all Convention costs.
A. These costs will include the total cost of food, travel expense for authorized delegates, printing of minutes and miscellaneous Convention costs.
B. The host chapter, in order to be reimbursed for its expenses, shall submit to the NEC within two weeks after the Convention, a full statement of costs incurred.

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Sample Constitution


Believing that attainment of education as well as technical training is the aim of all true engineers, we band ourselves together to foster and promote fraternal relationships among the electrical engineering students; to strive at all times for the maintenance of a complete and lasting understanding and fellowship between the faculty and students; to unceasingly cherish and develop character and ideals of service as the necessary attributes of the profession.

Article I – Name

Section 1

The name of this organization shall be

Section 2

This organization shall consist of the group established only at the University of

Article II – Purpose

Section 1

It shall be an express purpose of this club to foster the general welfare of electrical engineering.

Section 2

It shall be an express purpose of this club to promote social relations and good fellowship among the students of electrical engineering.

Section 3

It shall be an express purpose of this club to promote a cordial relationship between the students of electrical engineering and the members of the electrical engineering profession.

Section 4

It shall be an express purpose of this club to promote a more cordial relationship between the members of the electrical engineering profession.

Section 5

It shall be an express purpose of this club to maintain a standard such that our organization will be a credit to electrical engineering students and to the electrical engineering profession.

Article III – Membership

Section 1

Membership in this organization shall consist of members, past members, and honorary members.

Section 2

All students of the engineering school who are majoring, or will major, in electrical engineering; and who are not active members of any professional fraternity, are eligible for membership. Members who have completed their academic work become past members. Those of the faculty who are actively engaged in the instruction of students majoring in electrical engineering or those practicing the profession of electrical engineering are eligible for honorary membership.

Section 3

Members and honorary members shall be elected by ballot. No candidate shall be declared elected unless a unanimous vote has been cast in the affirmative. No member can be required to state in writing his reasons for a negative vote, and no man may be voted on more than once for membership any one school year.

Article IV – Government

Section 1

The general government of this club shall be vested in the members. Past Members and honorary members shall have advisory positions in the government.

Section 2

The officers of this organization shall administer the will of the club as defined by its policies.

Article V – Fees

Section 1

The fee for membership shall be five dollars. This amount shall be deposited in a recognized banking concern and cannot be used for general expenses.

Section 2

The monthly fees shall be ten dollars. This money shall be used for operation expenses of the club.

Section 3

For special assessments a three-fourths affirmative vote is require to become effective.

Article VI – Ritual

Section 1

The initiation ritual for members and honorary members shall be as proscribed.

Section 2

The ritual of this club shall be non-secret.

Article VII – Insignia

Section 1

The colors of this club shall be purple and gold.

Section 2

The badge of this club shall be a binding post.

Article VIII – Amendment

Section 1

This Constitution may be revised or amended providing that such amendment or revision be presented at a regular meeting and approved by a three-fourths vote of the members present. Said revision or amendment shall be presented one regular meeting before the vote is taken.

Section 2

Amendment to the By-laws shall be presented at a regular meeting of the club, and shall become effective when approved by a majority vote of the members present at the next regular meeting.

Article IX – Enactment

Section 1

The Constitution and By-laws submitted herewith shall go in effect when ratified by the members of this club at the time they apply to University for organization recognition.
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Sample By-laws

Article I – Jurisdiction and Purposes

Section 1

These By-laws shall be for the government of this club at the University of … and shall have jurisdiction at said university.

Section 2

The purpose of these By-laws shall be to further the ideals, relationship of the members, and discipline of the organization.

Article II – Membership

Section 1

A member is subject to all regular dues, fees, and special assessments hereinafter provided for, and enjoys the privileges of voting and holding office, and any other honors pertaining to the club; such privileges being subjected to the limitations of these By-laws, hereinafter provided for.

Section 2

Membership in this club shall be governed according to Article III of the Constitution.

Section 3

A past member shall enjoy all rights and privileges granted members, except voting and holding office. Any past member may resume membership by two-thirds a vote of the membership.

Section 4

Any inactive member or past member may be assessed subject to the will of the club for such social and other functions he attends.

Section 5

Any member or past member who has become two months in arrears with his fees shall be considered not in good standing. the Treasurer shall give notice to the club when such member becomes two months behind in his bills. The President shall then appoint one member whose duty it shall be to notify said member that he shall be subject to suspension. After two weeks from such notice, providing said member has not made arrangements to take care of his obligation, he shall be suspended by a three-fourths vote of the members present at the next meeting.

Section 6

Any member or past member whose actions, conduct, etc., is that unbecoming to a member of this organization shall be liable for suspension. Such person shall be notified two weeks in advance of such suspension. When any member becomes suspended, his name and a statement of the reason for such action shall be transmitted to all persons concerned.

Section 7

Suspended members cannot be reinstated until they become of good standing as determined by the members. A three-fourths vote is necessary for reinstatement.

Article III – Prospective Members

Section 1

Voting on prospective members shall be by secret ballot as provided in Article III of the Constitution.

Section 2

All names of proposed members shall be turned over to the membership committee who shall investigate them according to scholarship, character, potentiality, and manhood.

Section 3

All prospective members shall be instructed in the history and government of the club, and they will be required to pass and examination on this material with a grade satisfactory to the President.

Section 4

The initiation shall be in charge of the President and Vice-President and shall be carried on as proscribed in the ritual.

Article IV – Meetings

Section 1

Meetings of this club shall be either regular or special. Regular meetings shall be the ___________ night of every (other) week. The first meeting of each term will be called by the President and they shall proceed in regular order thereafter. Special meetings shall be called by the President on twenty-four hours notice, the Secretary notifying all members.

Section 2

Meetings shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order.

Section 3

A fine of _____ shall be assessed each member who fails to attend the regular meetings unless excused by the President.

Section 4

Any member absent from three consecutive meetings during one term without proper excuse will be suspended.

Section 5

A quorum will consist of two-thirds of the total membership.

Section 6

The order of business in meetings shall be:

  1. Roll Call
  2. Secretary’s Report
  3. Financial Report
  4. Report of Standing Committees
  5. Report of Special Committees
  6. Action on Prospective Members
  7. Motions and Resolutions
  8. General Business
  9. Remarks
  10. Closing

Section 7

A petition signed by one-half of the members will call a meeting at the time specified by said petition.

Article V – Officers and Duties

Section 1

The officers of this club shall be:

  1. President
  2. Vice-President
  3. Secretary
  4. Treasurer
  5. Corresponding Secretary

Section 2

The duties of the President shall be:

  1. To preside at all meetings.
  2. To call special meetings when he may deem it necessary.
  3. To see that all officers and committees do their work.
  4. To act as ex officio member of all committees.
  5. To sign the minutes of previous meetings when approved.

Section 3

The duties of the Vice-President shall be:

  1. To act as President in the absence of the President.
  2. To assist the President in initiation.
  3. To have charge of and instruct all future members.

Section 4

The duties of the Secretary shall be:

  1. To record in ink or typewriting all proceedings for each meeting in detailed from in a book kept for that purpose.
  2. To open all mail addressed to the club.
  3. To report and record all absentees of the meeting, to post all fines concerning such, and to notify the Treasurer concerning such immediately after each meeting.

Section 5

The duties of the Treasurer shall be:

  1. To collect all money.
  2. To pay all bills and see that money or check is delivered to payee.
  3. To control bank account and sign checks.
  4. Keep daily cash book and provide term balance sheet.

Section 6

The duties of the Corresponding Secretary shall be:

  1. To handle all club correspondence with past members.
  2. To keep a history of the club.
  3. To issue a newsletter to all past members every two months.
  4. To act as Secretary for all past members.

Section 7

All officers shall be elected for a period of one school term. Nominations are to be made by the Nominations Committee.

Section 8

Election of officers shall be held the first week in April and the first week in December. Special election may be called to fill any vacancy in the line of office.

Section 9

Election of officers shall be done by secret ballot.

Article VI – Committees

Section 1

The committees shall be:

  1. Membership
  2. Social
  3. Financial
  4. Nominations
  5. Special

Section 2

The Membership Committee shall consist of three members, the Chairman of which is a senior. This committee shall look up the qualifications of all prospective members and shall keep record of all men majoring in electrical engineering. It shall have charge of all introductions, entertainments, and agencies intended to obtain new members.

Section 3

The Social Committee shall consist of three members, and they shall be in charge of all social affairs promoted by the club.

Section 4

The Financial Committee shall consist of the Treasurer as Chairman and two other members, a senior and a junior. They shall have charge of making a budget, formulating the financial policy of the club, and arranging collections and payments not handled on cash basis.

Section 5

The Nominations Committee shall consist of all senior members. In case there are less than three seniors, the remainder should be chosen from the juniors by the President.


Mister (Professor) ______, you have been chosen from the students (faculty) of electrical engineering to become a (honorary) member of the _____ Club, and we believe in you in that you will further the aims and ideals of our club. We believe that you will aid us in fostering the general professional welfare of electrical engineering. We believe that you will make our profession a more social one and that you will promote good fellowship (among the students as well as among other workers after being graduated). We believe that you will be (are) a credit to your profession, and that we can expect greater things for the future. We believe that you can help us maintain a standard such that our club will be considered an important and definite factor in improving our profession. With our ideals in mind and with your knowledge of the principles of our club, I now proclaim you a member of the ______ Club, and grand you all the rights, honors, and privileges pertaining thereto.

I now vest you with the insignia of the club. The badge of our club is _____. The colors of the club are ________. Etc., etc
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