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Seniors celebrate traditions through class rings

Nov. 12, 1999

By LESLIE BLANK

Reporter

Senior year for college students typically resembles an intricate web of mixed emotions and fond memories of times past.

Often in the heart of the senior, there develops an appreciation for the institution that has facilitated an experience that will never be paralleled in the 'real world.'

A group of the soon-to-be-graduates have chosen to capture the essence of their time at Baylor by investing in the official Baylor University ring.

These individuals have been honored for the last nine years at the annual class ring presentation.

'The ceremony is very exciting. The students are always very impressed by it,' said Robert Reid, retired professor of history.

This year at the ceremony on Oct. 23, Reed presented his speech regarding the 12 traditions represented in gold on the ring.

These include the University mace, Judge R.E.B. Baylor, Pat Neff Hall, the Texas and Christian flags, two memorial lampposts 'lighting the ways of time,' the passing of the ivy at Ring Out every spring, the Quadrangle Bell, the Baylor bear, Old Main (the first campus building), the Towers of Baylor, the Columns of Independence, another lamppost memorializing the fallen Baylor graduates who died serving their country and a railroad spike symbolizing the Immortal Ten who lost their lives in a bus accident in Round Rock.

A reception for the students, families and friends followed this year's ceremony.

'I signed up for the ceremony because I thought my parents could come and share with me this Baylor tradition,' said Mandy Armendarez, a Brownwood senior.

The ring presentation represents 'an effort to pull the students as graduates and alumni closer to the university and to help them to understand her history and background,' said Dr. Ray Burchette, executive director of the alumni association.

It is tradition that upon being presented with the class ring, the undergraduate wears it with the Texas star and seal facing inward and toward the heart.

When the student graduates, he or she reverses the ring to face the world.

'We're short on traditions at Baylor; I am participating in the ceremony because it's very rare to get together a group representative of those seniors who will be graduating,' said Ramsey March, a Waco senior and finance major.

The most popular rings among students are the men's large and the women's stoneless seal. Both are gold and sell for $350 and $199, respectively.

'I ordered a plain 14 karat gold ring with nothing around the edges; I wanted something that wasn't really flashy,' Armendarez said.

However, individuals may purchase more ornate rings if

they wish, encrusted with either synthetic or genuine gemstones.

'I got a ring even though I'm not into jewelry because whenever you're out in the real world it's a symbol; people can identify you with that school,' March said.

In order to be eligible to purchase rings, students must be seniors in good standing with the university.

Engraved on the inside of each piece is the graduate's name or initials, their degree and graduating year and the slogan, 'Sic 'Em Bears.'

The alumni association, in conjunction with Balfour Jewelers, designs and produces the rings each year.

Students have the option of buying their rings at local jewelry stores, but the Baylor Alumni Association 'began [its] one-ring campaign in 1995, encouraging undergraduates to keep the Baylor tradition alive by purchasing the official university ring through the school,' said Alan Bowden, Alumni Association Director of Special Programs.

Most Baylor graduates wear their rings for the rest of their lives, Burchette said.

'I will wear my ring for the rest of my life. It's a common [bond] between two people; a conversation piece,' Armendarez said.