Ring Day provides the opportunity for students to share academic success with respected individuals.
For generations, the Aggie Ring has stood as a universal symbol of hard work and of the unity of the Aggie Network. Even argued by some students to be the single most important day in an Aggie’s career, determining the presenter of an Aggie’s ring is no light task.
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of the Association of Former Students, explained that Ring Day presentation hasn’t always been what we know today. Prior to 2000, an employee from the Association handed out each ring. Once Ring Day started evolving, employees began asking Aggie family members if they wanted to participate in the ring presentation.
“Then I think as word spread, people started designating a family member, or someone that they looked up to that they wanted to have present the ring,” Greenwade said. “And we have a lot of A&M staff members and professors that come and work Ring Day. They’ll have students who specifically request that they present their rings to them.”
Chemical engineering junior Abu Ali is one of two recipients of the Connor Ring Scholarship, created by Mike and Diana Connor for members of the Singing Cadets who maintain a GPA above 3.0 and have involvement in the organization for at least four semesters.
“Basically, what they do is pay for $500 towards your Aggie Ring, and they present it to you,” Ali said. “Unfortunately, Diana Connor just passed away a couple of weeks ago. This will be the first time we’re getting the rings without her there. They have been a tremendous part of our group for as long as they’ve been around. Throughout any performance, rain or shine, they will be there. They have been an amazing force for good within our group, and for A&M.”
Up until recent years, students were required to wait in line on Ring Day for numbers that determined their order. Laura Pringle, Class of 2003, said she camped out in front of the Association with friends the night before her Ring Day, so that they could be the first ones to receive rings. Both Pringle’s father and grandfather are Aggies, and were present for her Ring Day.
“The Aggie Ring was something that had always been a huge part of our family,” Pringle said. “My parents have now retired, and live in Bryan. My dad loves to present rings. My parents go up there just about every Ring Day, and sign up for a time. He was a Fish Camp namesake, so he gives rings to his co-chairs, all of his counselors and lots of different people.”
University studies senior Kaylee Jordan had her Ring Day last April. Jordan says her ring remains a symbol of all of the hours she poured into studying to reach 90 hours and to advance her degree.
“My old boss volunteered to hand out Aggie rings,” Jordan said. “She was able to get into the category with my last name, and she was actually able to hand over my ring to me. From there, my mom was the one to present the ring to me. My mom wasn’t an Aggie, but I would say she is probably my number one supporter. She’s a teacher, so I pretty much owe all of my academic success to her.”
To this day, Pringle cherishes the opportunity she had to share her Ring Day with members of her family who are former students.
“It was just a sweet experience. It was really fun to get to know that we have that bond,” Pringle said. “And to have someone who has stood by me that entire college career, to present something that was so important.”