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In the dancing spirit

Historic building hosts honored tradition for Ring Dance 2012

Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

ring dance 1

Photos Courtesy of Cushing Library

These photos were taken from the 1936 and 1941 Ring Dances. The brainchild of a group of seniors who saw the Aggie Ring as an appropriate theme for their last function as college students, the first-ever Ring Dance was held on May 15, 1936, in the University’s mess hall. A live dance orchestra provided the music, and a plaster of paris ring was on display to take portraits with. The dance ended at midnight because of a campus rule forbidding dances be held on a Sunday.

ring dance

Photos Courtesy of Cushing Library

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Photos Courtesy of Cushing Library

ring dance 4

Photos Courtesy of Cushing Library

ring dance 5

Photos Courtesy of Cushing Library

Some students start dreaming about receiving their Aggie Ring as soon as they step on campus as freshmen. It is the pinnacle of accomplishment for an A&M education, and the ring forever represents the University and the values it upholds. Ring Dance is a night for the members of the graduating class to celebrate this accomplishment together before they disperse into the real world.

The tradition of Ring Dance began in 1936 as an event for seniors to commemorate the end of their time as students at A&M. It began on a much smaller scale than it occurs today, while still embodying the Aggie spirit.  

Patricia Wehner, Class of 1968, said Ring Dance was an important milestone before her graduation, as she was one of the first women to attend Texas A&M. Getting her Aggie Ring was a dream she thought might not come true.

“I really wanted to go to A&M, but I didn’t think there would ever be a chance,” Wehner said. “So I was just really blessed that things changed right as I was graduating high school.”

Wehner’s Ring Dance was small and in Sbisa, though there was a live band. She said that in the time that has passed since she was at A&M, she has seen the dance transform into the “prom on Speed” it is today. Currently, Wehner works in the Department of Student Activities and serves as an adviser to the students who plan Ring Dance.

Michael Cook, senior biomedical sciences major, and Keirsten Hamilton, senior political science major, are the directors for the Class of 2012 Ring Dance, themed, “The Lost Cities.” A&M’s 77th Ring Dance will be the first Ring Dance held in the newly-renovated MSC building.  

“The allure of returning to the MSC for your final big college experience is something that really can’t be matched with any other year this event will occur or has occurred,” Cook said.

Attendees can venture between four rooms themed to fit a different city of legend. The MSC ballroom will be transformed into Camelot with a band and dancing. The El Dorado room will have casino games. Olympus will be outside, with a smaller band, and Atlantis will feature karaoke.

This year, Ring Dance has been designed to appeal to the senior class as a whole. Tickets are less expensive this year than in the past in order to make the event available to as many students as possible. Hamilton said he hopes former students will also attend.      

“The more people that can experience it together, the better for the tradition that we try to uphold here,” Cook said.  

While it may be held in a new building, the dance is full of tradition. Seniors will take pictures by the rings, their dates will turn their rings to face the world and they will have one last yell practice as a senior class.   

“Being an Aggie is for life; it’s forever,” Wehner said.

Ring Dance is the last time a senior class celebrates together, but their rings symbolize a bond that will last a lifetime.

 

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