Auburn’s class ring tradition now enhanced with Ring Night and Ring Ceremony

Published: September 14, 2015
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Auburn University's class ring is brimming with symbolism—embodying Auburn's history and beloved traditions, including the university's seal, mascot, battle cry and founding year.

Each semester the Student Government Association has two events to enhance the tradition of the ring: Ring Night and a Ring Ceremony. "These events are a great way to showcase the ring and all it symbolizes," said Brett Walton, SGA treasurer.

Auburn first started hosting a Ring Ceremony in 2003 with the introduction of the Auburn University official ring. Prior to 2003, each graduate could customize his or her class ring however he or she pleased, making it more about the student and less about the university. The company making the rings, Balfour, along with the SGA members at the time, decided to create an Auburn University official ring, which was only to be sold to Auburn University students who had completed 75 credit hours, according to Rusty Parker, regional manager for Balfour.

"Everything that's on the ring itself has a very specific purpose and ties back to Auburn University," said Parker.

The ceremonies that began in 2003 included a simple presentation of the rings, but they were not as tradition-rich as the new ceremonies that began last fall, according to Parker. The addition of a Ring Night in the fall of 2014, as well as the revamped Ring Ceremony, is now on par with the significance of the ring. Ring Night is held on the Thursday night before the Ring Ceremony on Sunday. This semester, Ring Night will be Thursday, Dec. 3, and Ring Ceremony will be Sunday, Dec. 6.

Ring Night begins promptly at 6:56 p.m. at the Auburn University seal in front of Langdon Hall. The time relates to 1856 in military time, the year of Auburn's founding. Each Ring Night ends at the coordinating military time of that calendar year. For example, the first Ring Night, in December of 2014, ended at 8:14, or 2014 in military time.

That night, the War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen place a vault containing each ring on top of the Auburn seal in order to gain the Auburn spirit. However, as legend has it, stepping on the seal is cursed and could result in, among other tragedies, a person not graduating on time.

According to the legend, the only way to break the curse of the seal is by taking a swim in the fountain outside the President's Home. Rather than doing this, students are now given a chance during the Ring Ceremony to dip their ring in a basin of water from the fountain, reversing the curse but maintaining that Auburn spirit.

Last year, 792 Auburn University official rings were sold, which was an increase from 560 rings sold the previous year, according to Parker. "I would say that we could attribute the increase in sales to the tradition we introduced in the fall," he said.

Each ring owner has a unique Auburn story to tell. "The ring is all about telling your story, and everyone has a different story, a different connection to Auburn and a different experience while they are here," said Walton.

In the coming months, the Balfour team will be reaching out to alumni in hopes of gathering stories that revolve around these class rings and the Auburn experiences they symbolize. "We're hoping to see that it's a lot more than just a regular piece of jewelry. It's about being a part of the Auburn Family," said Pearson Alsobrook, Balfour sales associate.

Students wishing to purchase a class ring this fall should attend Ring Week, Monday, Sept. 21, until Friday, Sept. 25, next to the Foy Desk in the Student Center. Balfour associates and student representatives will be available to assist students purchasing a class ring from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day. This is the best opportunity for students to order their ring to ensure a spot in the ceremonies' grouping, according to Walton.

"Students can come by and get their fingers sized so they know what size ring to buy, look at the different options and go ahead and make their purchase there, rather than looking online and wondering that they're not making the right decision," said Walton.

For more information about the Auburn University official ring or to order online, visit Balfour's website at http://www.balfour.com/auburn.

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