Celebrating 10 Years Together: IEEE and its Honor Society, Eta Kappa Nu

With their merger in 2010, IEEE Foundation, IEEE and its honor society, Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), created a pathway for IEEE and IEEE-HKN to identify and develop future leaders in the IEEE fields of interest. Ten years, 48 new chapters, 26,000 inductees, and hundreds of thousands of community service hours later, IEEE-HKN is an engine for innovation and excellence.

“The leadership of IEEE realized the potential of this merger and many people worked tirelessly to make it happen,” says Bruce Eisenstein, 2000 IEEE President, 2010 HKN President (pictured center), who has made a 5-year giving pledge to IEEE-HKN. “We can look with pride at the result today.”

A large part of the success and growth of IEEE-HKN, a beneficiary of the Realize the Full Potential of IEEE Campaign, is the dedication of you: our volunteers and supporters.

With 265 chapters in 20 countries, the merger with the honor society has provided IEEE a way to reach and bring into its volunteer and leadership ranks the best and brightest students, industry professionals, and academics. HKN offers a strong feeder system for IEEE societies since it is populated with ready and willing volunteers for STEM outreach, tutoring, humanitarian efforts, and committee and board-level positions throughout IEEE. Some 23 IEEE presidents -- and every one since the merger -- are HKN members.

In turn, HKN gained the resources to grow and transform into a multi-faceted, vibrant, global society with a US$5 million endowment from IEEE. About half of IEEE-HKN’s annual budget is funded from the endowment; the rest is funded through a one-time member induction fee and philanthropy.

As such, beginning on 1 September 2020 (the anniversary of the merger), IEEE-HKN embarked on a US$116,000 campaign (the honor society is 116 years old on 28 October 28 2020) to ensure the society can continue to support our members and nurture innovation. Please consider contributing to the giving campaign.

S. K. Ramesh, 2016 IEEE-HKN President and current Chair of its Development Committee, says: “The merger happened because of the vision and foresight of champions like Bruce Eisenstein, Stephen Goodnick, and John Orr, who guided us through the formative years to make IEEE-HKN what it is today: A vibrant globally diverse organization that engages students and professionals, celebrates excellence in scholarship and service, transforms individuals, and brings IEEE’s mission to life in communities worldwide.”

The merger of IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu went into effect on 1 September 2010. Bruce Eisenstein (center) looks on as 2009 IEEE President John Vig (left) and 1984 IEEE President and IEEE Foundation President Emeritus Richard Gowen (right) shake hands in the photo taken to mark the signing of the agreement to merge.

Learn more about the IEEE-HKN merger from the IEEE History Center resources and the upcoming HKN Experience (virtual version of the Student Leadership Conference) starting on 28 October which is HKN Founders Day. Contact Nancy Ostin, Director, for more information about IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu.

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