Growing up, my parents always wore their class rings. My dad, being a Virginia Military Institute graduate, has the classic, enormous, “bigger than the state of Texas” class ring. My mom on the other hand has a much more understated and petite signet ring with the seal from Radford University displayed on it. Whenever I would ask to try one of their rings on, they would tell me a class ring symbolized their time as college students, the life-long bond they had with their graduating class, and the pride they have for their schools. When the opportunity came along to be a part of the Class of 2014 Ring Committee who helps with the designing of the class ring, as well as begin a Ring Ceremony tradition here at JMU, I couldn’t pass it up.
A class ring from JMU creates an external representation of our Duke Dog pride, spirit, and unity we all posses being students at James Madison. What is so special about JMU’s ring tradition is we are one of about 20 universities in the nation who redesign our class rings every year so each ring truly embodies every graduating class.
This year, we began a new tradition which brought together the Class of 2014 through a Fall Ring Ceremony and Presentation. Parents, family members, and friends came to support and present students with their rings as a way to show their support and encouragement as their students continue through their journey towards graduation. As students were presented with their rings, we reminded them to wear the ring with the JMU insignia facing themselves, to help them remember their goal of graduation. Upon graduating, each ring will be turned around so that the JMU spirit can be shared with the students’ new world. We hope in ten years this event will be a lasting JMU tradition which brings together each class while they celebrate their accomplishments and look forward to their exciting futures ahead of them.
Being founded in 1908, just a little over 100 years ago, JMU could really benefit from a new and lasting tradition. This Ring Ceremony can hopefully serve as the groundwork and foundation for JMU tradition students look forward to in the future. As for me, I opted for a slender, sliver signet with an impression of the Wilson Cupola as a way to capture and express my own JMU experience and what this university means to me.
– Rebecca Cross
Class of 2014 Ring Committee Chairperson