First ring ceremony starts new tradition

86 students and alumni recieved rings at St. Edwards first ring ceremony last Sunday.

86 students and alumni recieved rings at St. Edward’s first ring ceremony last Sunday.

Feb. 23 marked the beginning of a new tradition on the Hilltop as 78 graduating students and eight alumni received the newly designed, official St. Edward’s University ring.

At the ring ceremony, which took place at 2 p.m. in Mabee Ballroom and was attended by about 380 people, President George Martin, along with other university representatives, recognized the students and alumni receiving their class rings and discussed the significance of the ring.

“I feel the ring design really reflects important and familiar aspects of St. Edward’s,” Associate Director of Student Life Marisa Lacey said. “Each symbol on the ring was carefully chosen to celebrate the tradition and history of life on the hilltop.”

The ring’s design includes four St. Edward’s symbols — Main Building, the red doors, Sorin Oak, and the university seal — and is meant to embody the university’s values and Holy Cross heritage. 

“We live in a state where there is a huge emphasis on class rings, even at the high school level. By establishing a uniformed University ring, we are able to promote school pride and also signal the world that you are a St. Edward’s graduate,” Student Body President Octavio Sanchez said.  

Before the rings were presented to students and alumni, Rev. Peter Walsh blessed the rings and sprinkled them with holy water.  The recipients were asked to refrain from wearing their new ring until all were presented, at which point Sanchez directed everyone to put on their rings together, representing 

the unity of the St. Edward’s community.  

“This is a significant new tradition because it provides a connection for all generations of Hilltoppers that graduate from St. Edward’s,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez reminded current students to wear their ring with the seal facing toward them until they graduate. At graduation, students symbolically turn their ring so that the seal faces outward.

After the ceremony, recipients and their families walked together to the Sorin Oak where the recipients touched their rings to the tree to represent that they are “rooted” in the University.

While Sunday marked the fruition of the official university ring, students and faculty have been working closely with Balfour, the company producing the ring, for over a year to design the official ring. 

In Fall 2012, three students including Sanchez approached the University with the idea of creating a University ring. Over the past year, Student Life worked with the University to develop a marketing campaign for the ring and get students excited about the new tradition. 

Kiersten Oubre, 3rd and 4th Year Program Coordinator for the Transitional Experiences Council, said the campaign was a huge success.

“We ended up having to take over all the Mabee Ballrooms, A, B and C because of massive numbers of RSVP’s we received. The Ring Ceremony exceeded our expectations, and even Balfour’s,” Oubre said.

Sanchez and Oubre both expect this new tradition to continue to grow in popularity and significance in the future.

“I have spoken to many underclassmen who cannot wait to be eligible to purchase their own ring once they become seniors,” Sanchez said. “That means that each year the tradition will become more embedded to St. Edward’s as more and more students participate and buy their University Ring.” 

In Lacey’s opinion, recent alumna Lauren Leining said it best when she said, “This is so much more than a ring, but a symbol of my growth and connection to this amazing school over the past four years, and there couldn’t have been a more perfect gift to receive before I become an official alumni.”