One of Virginia Tech’s longest traditions is its class ring. It is one of only three universities in the country that designs a new ring every year, which is done by the Ring Committee.
The tradition began in 1912, when the first Ring Committee was formed. 100 years later, students are still creating unique rings.
However, each ring contains some of the same elements. According to the alumni association, an eagle is featured on every ring, which represents strength and freedom. American flags and campus buildings are also present, and these stand for the heritage of the U.S. and of Virginia Tech. A chain around the bezel indicates strength and unity.
From there, the Ring Committee works with these features and adds new elements to represent their class.
The committee is selected by students sophomore year, and the ring is unveiled junior year with Ring Dance.
The dance is a tradition that began in 1934. As couples enter the dance, they are given ribbons in their class colors. Men take the darker color, and they wear their partner’s ring wrapped around their wrist. Women wear the lighter color and also wear their partner’s wring around their wrist.
Later in the evening, during Ring Exchange, members of the Corps of Cadets form the numerals of the class while couples exchange their rings. “Moonlight and VPI,” written by Fred Waring and Charles Gaynor, is played. It is a son written specifically for Ring Dance.
At midnight, fireworks are launched. The entire weekend is spent celebrating ring premier, and represents students’ transition from juniors to seniors.