History of Ring Out

Ring Out and the Passing of the Key are annual traditions held in Burleson Quadrangle. The Senior Ring Out Ceremony was first made a part of the commencement program on May 28, 1927, when the senior class was invited to participate. According to records in the Texas Collection, the ceremony centered around the old chapel bell that signaled the beginning of classes and chapel. At that time, the ivy chain was made from leaves gathered from campus buildings. The senior women stood next to the bell with an ivy cable on their shoulders. After representatives from the senior and junior classes had spoken, the chain was transferred to the junior women.

The ceremony has primarily included women over the years where graduating senior women, dressed in traditional graduation gowns, pass a chain of ivy to junior women wearing white dresses. Forming a circle near the Baylor bells in the quadrangle (the smaller bell from Baylor’s first campus at Independence, Texas, and the larger bell from Waco University where Baylor now exists), the seniors pass the charge of leadership to the next graduating class of women. The ivy cable symbolizes loyalty and steadfastness.

Since 1946, the men of the senior and junior classes have also participated in the Passing of the Key ceremony during Ring Out. Senior men dress in graduation gowns, and junior men wear dark suits. A representative of the senior class, who has been designated the "Custodian" of the key to the box of relics buried under the Centennial monument in the center of the Founders Pleasance, passes the key to a junior representative. As with Ring Out, the ceremony symbolizes the binding of classes in loyalty to the traditions of Baylor and the passing of the guardianship of the Baylor spirit. All graduating seniors and their chosen juniors are eligible to participate in the ceremony of passing the Baylor traditions to the next graduating class.