The Iron Ring

GOLD is for the mistress—silver for the maid—
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.”
“Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
“But Iron—Cold Iron—is master of them all.”
-Rudyard Kipling

Whether you’re within the first few days or the very last days of your engineering education, it is important to understand the origins and symbolism of the ring given to graduating engineers each year in Canada.

The ritual of Calling of an Engineer has a history dating back to 1922, when seven past presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada attended a meeting in Montréal with other engineers. One of the speakers was mining engineer Professor Haultain of the University of Toronto. He felt that an organization was needed to bind all members of the Engineering profession in Canada more closely together and a statement of ethics to be made. With the help of Rudyard Kipling, the first Iron Ring ceremony took place on April 25th 1925.

The Iron Ring is relatively plain, originally made from iron, now made from stainless steel, the ring still retains its original character. The simple grey ring has the appearance of being worked, not a smooth polished finish like a common ring worn as jewelry. Today, worn proudly on the small finger of the working hand, the ring serves to remind the owner of the responsibilities they hold as lives and safety are at stake for every engineer’s decisions. It also identifies the owner to the world as a Canadian engineer. If you are graduating and need information about the iron ring ceremony, please contact your departmental grad rep or the EUS Graduation Director (grad@ubcengineers.ca).

This year, the Iron Ring Ceremony will be taking place on Wednesday March 9th, 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver. The main doors to the Theatre will open at 1:15 PM so students should plan to be there ready to enter at that time. Doors will be closed at 2:15 pm and no one will be allowed in or out after that time. The actual Ceremony will start at approximately 2:30 PM and should finish at around 3:45 PM.

The Wardens of Camp 5 wish to hold two briefing sessions at UBC on Thursday February 25th, 2016 at the Norm Theatre for all students registered to attend the March 9th Iron Ring Ceremony. At the sessions Camp 5 Wardens will provide valuable information regarding procedure at the Ceremony and the history and tradition of the Iron Ring. 

Attendance is mandatory; and anyone who is unable to attend a Briefing Session due to a legitimate critical alternate commitment only, must appoint a classmate to take notes on their behalf. Course conflict is not a legitimate excuse as the faculty has already been informed and the students must work with their respective professors to arrange alternatives. Please speak to your grad representatives regarding the time and location of this session.

Anyone wishing to have a Ring presenter must email Leslie Hart at hart3582@telus.net at with the name, relationship and email address of their presenter. The deadline for this is February 15th. and the following conditions apply;

1) Ring presenter must be Obligated Engineers wearing their own Iron Ring

2) Ring presenter must be a relative of the registered student receiving the ring.

3) Ring presenter and ring recipients are seated in a relatively small section of the auditorium so only one presenter per student is

Once Iron Ring has confirmed that they are Obligated Engineers, they will email the presenter and attach an information file giving timing, Ceremony procedure etc. They will also copy the email to the student concerned so that they know too.

Any Obligated Engineer wearing his or her Iron Ring is welcome to attend the Ceremony and does not need to register beforehand.

No, unfortunately you will have to wait until next year’s ceremony. You may attend a ceremony in any other region if you will be out of town.

The faculty has been informed of this timeline. They are doing their best to accommodate any conflicts. If the conflicts are NOT resolved by the end of February, directly contact Jeanie Malone at vpcomm@ubcengineers.ca.

More information will be communicated towards the end of February.

Prior to the Ceremony, anyone registered to attend the Ceremony and take the Obligation picks up their ring from the appropriate registration desk, and pushes it down to the first knuckle of the little finger of the working hand. It is shown in this way to a door usher as a ‘ticket’ to enter the auditorium seating area. During the Ceremony Camp 5 Wardens and Ring Presenters, if approved, will push it down to its final position.

There will be a social night organized at a bar most likely in downtown Vancouver. Departmental Clubs are encouraged to arrange for a post-ceremony dinner of sorts if they wish and attend the social after.

VPCommThe Iron Ring