While the Aggie Ring itself has transformed in its nearly 130 year history at Texas A&M, it remains one of the most prominent traditions uniting Aggies together around the world.
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of The Association of Former Students and Class of 1988, said before the ring was standardized to the common design known today, each class had the ability to create their own class ring for their respective class year.
“There was a very strong class identity and class affinity,” Greenwade said. “That’s just the way things were done then with a college ring. Each class got to put their own touch on it. But over time, as the affinity for Texas A&M itself became the strongest affinity, I think there was that desire to have that consistency there.”
The ring was standardized in 1933 by then University President T.O. Walton to help control ring distribution and manufacturing, according to Greenwade.
“[The committee standardizing the ring] had a concern that they didn’t want anyone to be able to have a ring made that had not earned the right to wear it,” Greenwade said. “They felt that a Aggie Ring was something that should be reserved for those who attended Texas A&M.”
Each ring is designed with a five point star, a rifle, a canon, a saber and an eagle since the change in ring design in 1933. Greenwade said the continued growth of students and former students wearing of the ring comes from the love of the university.
Beginning in the 1970s, students were allowed the option of different ring types, such as white gold or palera, but Greenwade said the type of metal and finish does not change the idea of the Aggie Ring.
“The only thing that differentiates a ring is the class year on the ring and the finish that you choose,” Greenwade said.
While Ring Day itself started in 2000, Greenwade said before that, certain days were set aside to give out the rings to students on campus. Greenwade said the change in 2000 was meant to bring more excitement to students on receiving their ring, just as they felt when ordering it and earning it.
“It was much more low-key than it is now,” Greenwade said. “The day itself didn’t have the excitement that it has today. So in 2000, we wanted to make the act of getting your ring as exciting as achieving that milestone of getting the ring.”