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2023 Ontario Tech University Engineering graduates receive their iron rings

Iron Ring Ceremony a symbolic rite of passage dating back more than 100 years

A group of graduating Ontario Tech University Engineering students outside of the Regent Theatre in downtown Oshawa, Ontario, after receiving their iron rings at the 2023 Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer (Photo by Izzy Cossarin).
A group of graduating Ontario Tech University Engineering students outside of the Regent Theatre in downtown Oshawa, Ontario, after receiving their iron rings at the 2023 Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer (Photo by Izzy Cossarin).

Each year, Canadian Engineering graduates receive an iron ring as a symbol of the responsibilities and ethics associated with their chosen profession.

In March, nearly 400 students from Ontario Tech University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science gathered at the Regent Theatre in Oshawa, Ontario with excitement and anticipation to participate in an inspiring and solemn Iron Ring Ceremony, a tradition dating back to 1922.

Formally titled The Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer, the prestigious ceremony is an important rite of passage for Engineering students. Although 2023 graduating Engineering students will receive their university degrees at their faculty-specific Convocation ceremony on Thursday, June 8, this ceremony is another way for them to come together and celebrate their achievements as they enter the engineering community.  

The iron ring is a valued symbol for many engineers and is made of stainless steel or iron. Worn on the pinky finger of the recipient’s dominant hand, the ring reminds engineers of their obligations and the potential repercussions when a job fails to meet professional standards. Ring recipients promise to uphold the values and ethics of the engineering profession and to always strive for excellence.

Only engineers who have already earned an iron ring are allowed to attend the ceremony. Ring recipients may invite an engineer with at least four years of experience to the ceremony to present them their ring.

Q&A with featured graduates:

  • Izzy Cossarin (Mechatronics Engineering)
    Izzy Cossarin, Mechatronics Engineering, class of 2023
    Izzy Cossarin, Mechatronics Engineering, class of 2023.

    What made you decide to become an engineer?

    For as long as I can remember, I've always loved disassembling and reassembling anything and everything to figure out how it works. Admittedly, this drove my parents crazy; however, it gave me a glimpse of the mechanics and electronics required for items to work. Eventually I found that engineering would provide me with the foundation required to build almost anything from scratch and troubleshoot items when they failed.

    Why did you choose Mechatronics Engineering?

    In high school, I was on a robotics team, which allowed me to explore multiple disciplines of engineering. For most people, these types of opportunities help them determine which stream of engineering they want to pursue. In my case, this experience solidified my love of almost all engineering disciplines, which made Ontario Tech’s Mechatronics Engineering program a perfect fit.

    Are there other engineers in your family?

    Currently, there are no other engineers in my family, but hopefully one day there will be more!

    What do you hope to do with your Mechatronics Engineering degree?

    To be perfectly honest, I still do not have an end goal for my life or a specific place I envision myself arriving at with this degree. As I’m graduating, I’m just now realizing all the doors that this degree has opened for me, and although I’ve chosen one of those doors, I truly believe more open doors lie behind this door.

    What does wearing an iron ring mean to you?

    One thing I’ve heard a lot over the last four years is, ‘You don’t look like an engineer’. As I’ve grown throughout this degree, I’ve realized that I don’t need to look like what people expect an engineer to look like; my appearance and quality of work are not related. However, it is nice to look down and see the ring on my finger and remember that I may not look like what people expect, but this ring shows that I am an engineer, and the responsibility of being a good engineer lies in my hands.

    What is your hope for women in engineering?

    For a number of years, I’ve run many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs for youth, and I’ve found that gender does not determine the potential a kid has to become an engineer. I hope that more girls will see this potential they hold and as they grow up, they will choose to pursue engineering.

  • Naroze Butt (Mechanical Engineering); Shahroze Butt (Software Engineering); and Zain Butt (Software Engineering)
    Top: Naroze Butt, Mechanical Engineering; bottom row, from left: Zain Butt and Shahroze Butt, Software Engineering, all class of 2023
    Top: Naroze Butt, Mechanical Engineering; bottom row, from left: Zain Butt and Shahroze Butt, Software Engineering, all class of 2023.

    What made you all decide to become engineers?

    For each of us, the decision to become an engineer was influenced by our interests in problem-solving, technology, and innovation. We were drawn to the field of engineering because it offers opportunities to work on complex and meaningful projects that have the potential to make a positive impact on society. In addition, the fact that Naroze, our older brother, had a passion for engineering and that we looked up to him fueled our curiosity in what this profession had to offer.

    Why did you choose your fields of study?

    Each of us chose our specific engineering fields based on our interests and strengths. The eldest, Naroze, was drawn to Mechanical Engineering due to his interest in the physical world and how things work. The middle child, Shahroze, chose Software Engineering with a specialization in the Internet of Things because of his passion for programming and building software that can interact with the physical world. Our youngest brother Zain also chose Software Engineering because he sees the power of technology to improve people's lives.


    How did it feel to receive your rings on the same day?

    Receiving our iron rings on the same day was an incredibly special moment for us. It felt like a shared accomplishment that we were able to celebrate together as a family. The iron ring is a symbol of the engineering profession, and receiving it together was a testament to the bond we share as siblings and the support we have provided to each other throughout our academic journeys.

    What do you hope to do with your engineering degrees?

    We hope to make a positive impact on society through our work. We are passionate about using our skills and knowledge to solve real-world problems and make a difference in people's lives. Each of us has our own unique interests and goals, but we all share a commitment to using engineering to make a positive difference in the world.

    What does wearing an iron ring mean to you?

    Wearing an iron ring is a symbol of our commitment to the engineering profession and the ethical responsibilities that come with it. It reminds us of the importance of integrity, humility and service, and of our obligation to use our skills and knowledge to benefit society. The iron ring is also a reminder of the community of engineers that we are now a part of, and the shared values and principles that we uphold as members of that community.

  • Daniel Segura (Electrical Engineering)
    From left: Daniel Segura, Electrical Engineering, class of 2023, pictured with his father Milton Segura.
    From left: Daniel Segura, Electrical Engineering, class of 2023, pictured with his father Milton Segura.

    Note: Daniel’s iron ring was presented by his father Milton Segura.

    What made you decide to become an engineer?

    As I was approaching my final years in high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. However, I was sure that I was good at math, and that I wanted to study a program where there was ample job demand. Engineering seemed like it had both things I was looking for.

    Why did you choose Electrical Engineering?

    I was born in a home with two civil engineers, but I’ve always been fascinated with technology since I was a kid. This passion for technology drove me to pursue electrical engineering over other engineering disciplines.

    How did it feel to have your father present you your ring?

    It felt right. After seeing all he has sacrificed for me and for my education, it makes me proud to have him as my ring presenter, and I’m sure it made him proud to see his son follow his steps.


    What do you hope to do with your Electrical Engineering degree?

    I hope to improve the lives of Canadians by making home power banks and smart homes more accessible around the country. I also hope and desire to bring electricity those around the world who have no access to it.

    What does wearing an iron ring mean to you?

    Wearing an iron ring reminds me of the responsibility I have as an engineer. It reminds me that peoples’ lives could be at stake, and it helps me exercise due diligence not only at work but also with everything I do in life.