College of Engineering
It is a great profession. There is the satisfaction of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings homes and jobs to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer’s high privilege.
The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny he did it.
On the other hand, unlike the doctor his life is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. No doubt as years go by the people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician put his name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other people’s money . . . But the engineer looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfaction that few professionals may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolade he wants.
Herbert Hoover, Mining Engineer
31st U.S. President