Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Looking Back on The Journey to Graduation: Ring Day

Okay: this will be my last graduation post - I promise!

I couldn't put the subject to bed, though, without talking about SMWC's Ring Day tradition. My mother-in-law commented upon how it was very apparent that the college put a lot of stock in their traditions, especially their history of service to the community. I think that's only natural for a college that was founded by a convent, and it's the kind of thing you don't see so much anymore with higher education.

The SMWC ring is very distinctive; it was designed by students in the class of 1922 and first bestowed upon Seniors that year. You can't just buy the ring anytime you want, but must be enrolled in at least your 90th credit hour on Ring Day, and earn a minimum grade point average, to be able to order one. It's frowned upon to order the ring without participating in Ring Day.

In April of 2008, I planned a trip to visit my in-laws and then traveled to Ring Day as well. The ceremony took place in the Chapel, which is very beautiful. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a silver platter, on which all the rings had been laid out:

The whole church is full of stained glass windows.
The ceiling of the Chapel

Students are encouraged to invite a woman to bestow the ring upon them: a parent, sister, teacher, or alumni of the college. Or, the President of the college can do it. I went with that option. Here I am in the chapel, waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Here the college President, who was new that year, speaks. The lady on the banner is the school's founder, Sisters of Providence Mother Theodore Guerin, who was canonized by the Vatican during the time I was at the college, in 2006. It was a very big deal!


During the ceremony, students had the opportunity to present sunflowers to their family members, as a thank you for supporting them during their college years.

After we received our rings, we gathered at the front of the chapel to sing the Ring Song. It's sung to the tune of "Tara's Theme" from Gone With the Wind.

Whose Woods these are, I think I know.
Her love will always be with us below.
Her ring we take, of us a part,
Encircling fingers young 'round her heart.
I pledge to her, a ring to keep,
Like Woods is lovely, dark and deep.
And I have promises and miles to go.
And I have promises and miles to go.

The ring is white or yellow gold, with a distinctive onyx center on which the school initials, SMW, are carved. The ring is worn by students with the initials facing in, and, upon graduation, the ring is to be turned and worn so that the initials face outward. This is to signify taking the school's legacy out with you into the world.

Yes, I was very proud to be a part of the tradition, and receive my ring last year!

And, of course, there was cake!

3 comments :

Momma Snail said...

That is a really cool tradition!

Sandra said...

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Melinda Cornish said...

how exciting and I am thrilled to death for you!!!!!