Sunday was a very special day at Presbyterian College as we observed the second annual Ring Ceremony. This tradition began last year, and we hope it will continue for years to come. I encouraged the students never to let their service have a beginning or an end but to be a continuous circle like the rings. And, I asked them to commit to come back in 50 years to tell the seniors of 2064 what it was like to get a ring in 2014. I feel confident some will come back.
At the ceremony, Leni Patterson ‘83, our executive director of Alumni Relations, spoke to the students about the history of the ring. I am enclosing a portion of her comments below:
I’d like to give you a little history about our ring based on articles from old “Blue Stockings.” The earliest piece available was from the spring of 1950. In March of that year, the student body president put forth a resolution to limit students who were not yet in the second semester of their junior year from being allowed to order class rings. At the same meeting, there was an attempt to put forth a resolution to standardize the design of the ring—but that motion was tabled. In the April meeting, the resolution to limit the purchasing of the rings to second term juniors and to seniors was passed unanimously. Interestingly, it became part of the SGA constitution.
The next articles were from 1970. At that time, students were promoting one provider for the rings and one more design—up until that point, PC only had a gold ring with a garnet stone. Many wanted a signet ring. The article suggests that the ring vendor had become complacent and other vendors were infringing on their territory—selling different designs not approved by the College. The students worked out a contract with the vendor, Balfour, to offer the official ring and for there to be a signet ring in addition to the garnet stone option. In 1996, the student body once again worked to have one official ring and one provider.
Today there are a several styles students can order, but all of the rings must have at least one thing engraved on them, “Dum Vivimus Servimus.”
As part of the new tradition, the class rings spent two nights in Dr. William Plumer Jacobs’s office that has been set up in the archives in the library. He is the one who made it possible for this college to exist—he is the one who set the tone and mission for this college in 1880 that has survived all of these years. His commitment to honor, community and service made us what we are today.
There is one other piece of history that directly involves Leni that I feel compelled to add. About seven years ago, Leni Patterson was working in Admissions and several of the female counselors who were working there had not ordered class rings. Only the signet ring was available because Balfour had stopped making the onyx ring. Those young alumni took Leni’s ring and met with the SGA leaders. They received approval for Balfour to make the onyx ring again. Balfour took Leni’s ring and made the mold for the production of the new onyx rings.
Wish I was going to be at the 2064 ceremony. I know it will be great.