New class ring ceremony to be held at Tower, no individual recognition

Lauren Florence

Students wait more than three years and must complete 75 hours of class credit before they can receive an official class ring, but with new changes to the ring ceremony this year, students may not have the meaningful moment they’ve been waiting for.

Changes to the style of the class ring ceremony, which will be held Nov. 13, mean the event will be held at the Tower, rather than at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, as it has been in the past.

In previous years, four separate ring ceremonies were held to accommodate the increasing number of students who were individually recognized. This year, approximately 1,300 students receiving a class ring were invited to one ceremony and will not be individually recognized.

Kim Gundersen, Texas Exes associate executive director, said the format of the ring ceremony was changed this year after learning the tradition of the ring, not the ceremony, was most important to past students. Gundersen said Texas Exes decided to have the ceremony at the most symbolic place on campus and celebrate the tradition of the class ring together as a graduating class.

“At the end of last spring, we surveyed a sample of ring recipients just to get their feedback on what they liked about the ceremony, what was important to them, what wasn’t important to them, and the resounding statement was that tradition — the symbols on the ring and the tradition of the ring — was what was most important,” Gundersen said. “To our surprise, it wasn’t the individual name and going across the stage, because they said they get that at commencement.”

In response to student concern about the lack of seating for guests, Gundersen said there will be more than 200 seats for those who need it, such as people with disabilities and the elderly. She said the ceremony is expected to last 20 to 25 minutes, so attendees will not stand for long.

Human biology senior Jasmine Cazares said, initially, she was upset about the changes to the ring ceremony but grew to appreciate them. Cazares said she likes that the ceremony will be in front of the Tower because it will be more prestigious.

“Ultimately as a student at UT, you’re part of a community, you’re part of something bigger than yourself, and so I don’t mind that I don’t get individual recognition because I feel it’s a moment that’s more special if shared as a class,” Cazares said. “These are the people I’ve grown with while at UT, so what better way to share showcase how far we’ve come than together.”

Electrical engineering senior Garrett Maples said without students being called out individually, there is little reason for family to attend the ceremony just to hear a generic speech. Maples said he thinks student opinions have been ignored by the Texas Exes.

“The new ceremony is stripping this important tradition of individuality and personal recognition that each and every student truly deserves,” Maples said. “This is reaffirming stereotypes that you are just a number at UT and makes it look like the Texas Exes care more about efficiency than the students. It’s sad to see other universities that have such an intimate respect for their ring ceremonies and then see what ours has become — the juxtaposition is disappointing.”