The Aggie’s face beams with pride as their Aggie Ring is placed on their finger after so many semesters of hard work. They look around, see the thousands of their other classmates experiencing the same joy, and realize they are one step closer to joining the former student family.
The Aggie Ring dates back to 1889, but Ring Day as we know it is a rather new tradition. The excitement and energy of Ring Day started in 2000, after the Association of Former Students decided the receiving of the ring needed to garner more recognition.
“In 2000, we said ‘We need to make the act of picking up your ring equal to the achievement of earning your ring,’” Kathryn Greenwade, Association of Former Students vice president, said. “We learned over time how to better schedule the day and how many people to include in each group and to calibrate everything the right way.”
With each Ring Day increasing in size, today’s event will include over 4,000 students who have successfully completed 90 credit hours. Traditions Council Public Relations Chair Devin Lubin said Ring Day is a great celebration of this academic achievement.
“It’s a great way to congratulate the students, getting those 90 hours is not an easy thing to do,” Lubin said. “Giving students an opportunity to celebrate their achievements with their loved ones is what Ring Day is all about.”
With three Ring Day ceremonies a year, two in the fall and one in the spring, the process of receiving rings has grown from its small beginnings into a highly organized event for students and their families at each ceremony.
“Our campus programs team, our Aggie Ring program team and events team sit down after each Ring Day is over and look at what went well, what didn’t go so well and start making adjustments immediately for the next Ring Day,” Greenwade said. “They will probably sit down next week and start fine tuning anything for the November Ring Day.”
Senior class president Bobby Ramirez said the Aggie Ring can have different meanings for students but the excitement of receiving it is the same.
“I have some friends who are third or fourth generation Aggies who can finally say they are carrying on the legacy of being an Aggie,” Ramirez said. “For my friends who are first generation college students, I think it symbolizes the student’s hard work and dedication to further themselves and provide a better life for themselves and their future families.”
Despite the changes in Ring Day, Class Councils Executive Director Mary Franklin said the meaning has never changed and never will because of the students.
“I think that Ring Day has been able to retain the same meaning year after year because of the students here,” Franklin said. “I believe that the feeling of Ring Day, the excitement and the sense of community it fosters will remain for years to come because of the Aggie Spirit and what Aggies stand for.”