History

Purposes of Trigon

Trigon was established in 1924 as a political organization. Through the years, Trigon has evolved and matured into a cohesive Brotherhood bound by similar goals and ambitions. The modern Trigon can be defined as a society which unites engineering students with a fraternal spirit, allowing them to derive the most from their “Cavalier Experience” while at the University and to give of themselves to the University and community.

Perhaps the most important part of Trigon is the fraternal spirit, which permeates the Brotherhood. Through a careful selection of pledges with diverse interests, but a similar desire to improve themselves, the Brotherhood, the Engineering School, and the University, Trigon remains a close-knit group. With Trigon setting the stage, many close and lasting friendships develop among the brothers.

With an organized group of people comes a powerful potential to accomplish worthwhile projects. In addition to Trigon-sponsored services, brothers also make significant contributions as individuals based on their Trigon experiences. With a willing, enthusiastic Brotherhood, Trigon contributes significantly to the University while simultaneously improving the Society and the individual.

The History of Trigon Engineering Society

Trigon Engineering Society had its beginnings in the student political system in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In an effort to rid the School of its one-party political system, engineering students met in the spring of 1924 in Room 10, Cabell Hall to form a new society, the Delta Society. In the early twenties, there had been growing dissatisfaction with the student political organization. It was believed at that time that a “one party” tyranny existed, which attempted to overwhelm the opposition and place a select few in positions of power. On November 3, 1924, the Delta Society held it first official meeting in Room 17 West Lawn, the residence of Mr. Woods Stockton Walker, and continued to meet as the Delta Society until May 26, 1925 when it became the Trigon Society. During that first year, the Society quickly initiated its political involvement with its own party ticket in the Engineering School’s elections. They met early success with a victory in their first election.

fraternal and service activities to accompany its political interests. An initiation ceremony, which put each member under oath, was approved in order to prevent the members from joining similar organizations. The initiation fee that year was $1.00 for charter members and $2.00 for later initiates; dues were $.50 per term. In keeping with fraternal spirit, a pin, motto, handshake, and symbol were also adopted. The pin, as originally designed, was of gold base with a hypotenuse of forty-six sixtieths, shorter leg of twenty-five sixtieths, and longer leg of thirty-two sixtieths. The Greek letters Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon appeared on the shorter, longer, and longest sides respectively. In the midpoint of the triangular surface a red garnet was inset. The motto of Trigon comes from Hesiod’s words: “Diligence Increaseth the Fruits of Toil.” The handshake, along with other Society secrets, is described only during the initiation ceremony. The symbol of the Society is similar in design and proportion to the pin. Red was approved as the color of the Society, partly because it implied life and vigor, and partly because it had long been the emblem of the class, a symbol of insurgency and liberalism.

Trigon Engineering Society became the new name for the Trigon Society on September 29, 1925. Ewing G. Simpson, considered the founder of the Society, was elected the first president of Trigon. Both the Trigon shingle and symbol were designed by Mr. Simpson. Mr. Simpson lived in Room 17 from 1925 until 1929, and his residence remained the headquarters of the Society although the meetings had moved elsewhere after 1926. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Trigon developed its characteristic involvement in the Engineering School and in the University. The Society became a close-knit group of “brothers” as the term “comrade” was dropped in the 1930’s. The first Open House Visitation on March 1, 1936 was a significant success as three hundred visitors, guided by Trigon brothers, saw the newly built Thornton Hall. Recruiting and orienting students to the Engineering School was another important service project that served to strengthen the name of Trigon and the School. Trigon’s political activities at the time were: 1) providing a ticket of Trigon members to run for school office, 2) helping in the actual election process, 3) sponsoring an open forum for all candidates to speak to the engineering students, 4) campaigning as a group for the election of certain candidates, and 5) presenting issues and platforms for the Engineering School.

The spirit of Brotherhood continued as Trigon acquired the house at 111 Harmon Street in Charlottesville during the 1940’s. However, financial difficulties during World War II forced the Society to give up the house. On a better note, the Society took pride in its Alumni Scholarship Fund. Founded in 1942, the fund awarded $50.00 to the brother who had a dean’s list average and had done the most for the Society.

During the 1950’s, Trigon increased its services to the Engineering School in the form of gifts. The Society donated calculators and typewriters to the Engineering School Library as well as making $50.00 donations per semester for the purchase of books. Trigon’s activity took on an international color in 1956. On December 11, the Hungarian Student Committee of Trigon allocated scholarship money to allow a Hungarian student to come to the United States. The Hungarian Student Scholarship provided moral support and social contact for the student and his whole family.

In recognition of Trigon Engineering Society’s continued activities, role in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Brotherhood’s historical affiliation with 17 West Lawn, the University of Virginia designated that room as the “Trigon Room” in 1966. The room continues as the spiritual center for Trigon as well as a social center for many traditional gatherings. Each February, the Brotherhood elects a deserving member to occupy the room for the following school year. A bronze plaque, a gift from the 1978 pledge class, now hangs in the Trigon Room along with the current brotherhood composite above the mantle. It is tradition for the selected lawn room resident to leave a gift behind for the lawn room.

The addition of women to the University did not fail to affect the Society. “Rolls” to girls’ schools became less important as women were seen not only at the University but also among the ranks of the previously all male Brotherhood. Since 1972, when the first female pledges were initiated, the female brothers of Trigon, as they prefer to be called, have served to broaden and strengthen the interests and commitment of the Society. The first woman president, Susan Byington, served in the spring of 1983. Under the guidance of Mr. Charles E. Echols, who replaced Mr. Tony Iachetta as faculty advisor in the mid 1960’s, Trigon continued to grow. In response to a balanced political system in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the political aspect of the Society was abandoned on March 20, 1980.

In April of 1982, Trigon established a new committee to administer the Margaret Elinor George Scholarship. Miss George’s parents donated $10,000 to the Board of Visitors to create the permanent scholarship fund from which a deserving student, chosen on the basis of scholarship, leadership, character, and service, is given a partial scholarship. Miss George was a member of the 1976 pledge class.

Sadly, in the Fall of 1991, Mr. Charles Echols, the beloved faculty advisor of Trigon for over 25 years, passed away. Honorary brother, Dean Thomas Hutchinson, replaced him as Trigon’s faculty advisor. Professor Hutchinson has offered his house for many events, including at least one BBQ each year and has helped Trigon through many tough decisions.

As Trigon looks toward the future, the membership plans to increase its traditional service to the University and the Charlottesville community. Activities co-sponsored by Trigon and various other engineering organizations will continue to unify the students of the Engineering School and increase their exposure to the engineering profession. The Society will strive to maintain its good reputation among the faculty, administration, and students, not by dwelling on past accomplishments, but by seeking stronger ties between brothers, alumni, the School and the community through future activities.

Past Trigon Presidents

Session President
1924-1925 Ewing Gordon Simpson
1925-1926 Steven Nicholas Moore
1926-1927 Harrison Williams, Jr.
1927-1928 Harry Douglas Forsyth
1928-1929 Charles Edward McMurdo
1929-1930 Dave Maulsby
1930-1931 Charles A. Rueger
1931-1932 Rhodes Woodbury
1931-1932 Marvin Sutherland
1932-1933 Marvin Sutherland
1933-1934 Hunter Fielding Lewis
1934-1935 William Payne
1935-1936 Henry Daniels
1936-1937 George Forsyth
1937-1938 John Calhoun
1937-1938 Harry Langhorne
1940-1941 David Kjellstorm
1942-1943 Al Louman
1942-1943 J. Lynn Cochran
1943-1944 Millard Zeisberg
1943-1944 Warren French
1943-1944 Robert Winsboro
1946-1947 Doug McKeague
1946-1947 DeWitt Skinner
1946-1947 Kemp Crockett
1947-1948 Kemp Crockett
1947-1948 Dabney Kern
Fall 1948 Robert Montegomery
Spring 1949 Thomas O. Brock
Fall 1949 Bob Fair
Spring 1950 Roy W. Bayliss
Fall 1950 Bill Furlong
Fall 1952 Twyman Bowman
Spring 1953 Charles E. Echols
Spring 1954 Tony Iachetta
Fall 1954 George Holland
Spring 1955 Colin A. Harrison
Fall 1955 Charles Snead
Spring 1956 Malcom McKnight
Spring 1956 Beryl Stickley
Fall 1956 Ed Hardy
Spring 1957 William C. Rahmig
Fall 1957 Konrad Karnish
Spring 1958 Dewey Clower
Fall 1958 Dan Mackay-Smith
Spring 1959 Tim Fine
Fall 1959 Harold Rosenburg
Spring 1960 Edward W. Casper
Fall 1960 Fred Blum
Spring 1961 Ken Justice
Fall 1961 Jim Clenendin
Spring 1962 Frank Pasey
Fall 1962 Bill Bradley
Spring 1963 Mike McCartney
Fall 1963 Carle Hensen
Spring 1964 Frank Byrd
Fall 1964 David Jones
Spring 1965 Kirk Briggs
Fall 1965 Paul Hora
Spring 1966 Randy Huey
Fall 1966 Randy Huey
Spring 1967 Harley Miles
Fall 1967 Dick Riordan
Spring 1968 William M. McManus
Fall 1968 William M. McManus
Fall 1969 Bob Hickman
Fall 1970 Barry Shenton
Fall 1971 Jim Wamsley
Spring 1972 Jim Rinaca
Fall 1972 Andrew Coleman
Spring 1973 Chester Holsinger
Fall 1973 Hugh Riley
Spring 1974 Hugh Riley
Fall 1974 Bill Hughes
Spring 1975 Bill Hughes
Fall 1975 Mark Baylor
Spring 1976 Mark Baylor
Fall 1976 Bob Raymond
Spring 1977 Doug Lewis
Fall 1977 Rob Raymond
Spring 1978 Steve Graham
Fall 1978 Meade Rudasill
Spring 1979 John McKenney
Fall 1979 Meade Rudasill
Fall 1979 Ted Winter
Spring 1980 Rob Cross
Fall 1980 Chuck Meyer
Spring 1981 Thomas Taylor
Fall 1981 William Swanson
Spring 1982 Joseph Dennie
Fall 1982 Roger Leventer
Spring 1983 Susan Byington
Fall 1983 Jeffrey Sheldon
Spring 1984 Tobin Anthony
Fall 1984 Karen Guthrie
Spring 1985 Hugh Bryant
Fall 1985 Brett Pyle
Spring 1986 Brett Pyle
Fall 1986 Deborah Wheeler
Spring 1987 Andrej Vlahcevic
Fall 1987 Anthony Wenzel
Spring 1988 David McCarthy
Fall 1988 James McNabb
Spring 1989 Chrissy Porpora
Fall 1989 Anthony Wenzel
Spring 1990 Bruce Morris
Fall 1990 Elizabeth Walker
Spring 1991 Glen McDonnell
Fall 1991 Mark Gogolewski
Spring 1992 John Petro
Fall 1992 Susan Carroll
Spring 1993 John Petro
Fall 1993 Darren Wesley
Spring 1994 Stelios Makrinos
Fall 1994 James Walicek
Spring 1995 Steve Weller
Fall 1995 Mazen Baroudi
Spring 1996 F. Daryl Jones
Fall 1996 Gregory Youmans
Spring 1997 Jen Wilhelmi
Fall 1997 Troy Henry
Spring 1998 James Alexander
Fall 1998 Michael Switzer
Spring 1999 Brian Utt
Fall 1999 Brian Chambers
Spring 2000 Jeffery Ludden
Fall 2000 Thomas Buist
Spring 2001 Paul Cahn
Fall 2001 John Robinson
Spring 2002 Kari Danek
Fall 2002 Timothy Mulholland
Spring 2003 Robert Smith
Fall 2003 Sean Graham
Spring 2004 Gregory Kitzerow
Fall 2004 Jeffrey Strup
Spring 2005 Alex Gessner
Fall 2005 Kara Parsons
Spring 2006 Erin Kallman
Fall 2006 Nathan Hurst
Spring 2007 Thomas Earl Duffy
Fall 2007 Grahame Burke
Spring 2008 Elena Aksel
Fall 2008 Megan Turner
Spring 2009 Steve Schorn
Fall 2009 Catherine Becker
Spring 2010 Greg Nickdow
Fall 2010 Emily Hillenbrand
Spring 2011 Mike Durej
Fall 2011 AJ Gould
Spring 2012 Andrew Levine
Fall 2013 Lauren Grisso
Spring 2014 Wade Andersson
Fall 2014 Stefano Di Savino
Spring 2015 Keanan Smith
Fall 2015 Evan Bruskin
Spring 2016 Lauren Waite

Trigon Engineering Society is a Contracted Independent Organization (CIO). Although this organization has members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in its activities and affairs, the organization is not a part of or an agency of the University. It is a separate and independent organization which is responsible for and manages its own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise or control the organization and is not responsible for the organization’s contracts, acts or omissions. The University of Virginia is in no way responsible for the society's contracts, acts, or omissions. © 2009 Trigon Alumni Network