Even staff members at the University of Texas recognize the significance of earning an Aggie ring.
Friday and Saturday, around 6,000 Aggies in College Station will receive the coveted ring that students can order after successfully completing 90 hours of coursework. According to the Association of Former Students, 40,000 students, friends and family members are expected to attend Aggie Ring Day festivities over the two-day period.
Aerospace engineering junior Hannah Lehman said she first decided to attend A&M when she visited on Aggieland Saturday and noticed how clean the campus was. Her mother went to college in Denmark, and her father works at UT Austin.
She said a contributing factor to her decision to buy an Aggie Ring was her ability to pay for it herself. She wasn’t originally planning on getting a ring, but said during her time at A&M, she began to appreciate the culture and traditions.
“It was definitely something I wouldn’t ask my parents to pay for,” Lehman said. “They’re helping me pay tuition and stuff, and I consider this to be a personal expense. I kind of like the idea of even if I don’t wear it all the time, I’d like to be able to show it to kids or grandkids and give it to someone.”
Hannah’s father, Jeffrey Lehman, is a senior systems administrator in UT’s Department of Geological Science and has worked for the university for the last 25 years. He said some of his friends from high school attended A&M. Now both of his children are pursuing engineering degrees in Aggieland.
“People here could not believe I was letting my kids go to A&M,” Jeffrey said. “I guess it sounded like a cult, but I believed it was a good school.”
Computer science sophomore Kevin Kuriachan is also the first in his family to attend A&M and will receive his ring on Friday night. When initially choosing where to go to college, he also applied to the University of Houston and MIT.
“I don’t think [my parents] see A&M any differently than they would any other college,” Kuriachan said. “To them, [an Aggie Ring] doesn’t really mean anything, but I invited them to my Ring Day, and didn’t think they would say yes because it’s on a Friday night, but they did. Even if they don’t understand it, they’re still supportive.”
Kuriachan said he is currently deciding on where to go to graduate school. He wants to create and improve software after he is done with his schooling.
“I think [having a ring] is nice because if I’m not in College Station and I’m back in Houston, it helps you connect with people,” Kuriachan said. “Even before getting my ring, I’ve noticed whenever I see other people outside of College Station with an A&M shirt on, I get really excited because you know these are my people.”
Jeffrey Lehman said that although his father got a ring from Purdue University, he never felt that sentimental about college himself.
“It all feels kind of foreign to me, but I am very proud of her and think it may be even more special to her since she worked to save the money as well as worked hard in school to get to this point,” Jeffrey said. “She is proud of her school, and I am proud of her.”