Hundreds of UT students gathered at the Texas Exes Alumni Center, where some embraced their parents and others celebrated with friends as they picked up their UT class rings this past Friday.
The celebration was full of photo opportunities, snacks and a surplus of school spirit. The rings, ordered during ring week in February, mark a milestone for many students nearing graduation. For psychology junior Adeteju Adeniji, a UT class ring is how she commemorated her college experience.
“I think it’s symbolic of the time you’ve spent here,” Adeniji said. “It’s the only gold ring you’ll ever buy for yourself in life — or that your parents will buy for you — that you’re gonna be like, ‘Wow, I really wanna keep this forever,’ and it’s always going to mean something to you.”
Wearing a class ring is one of the easiest ways students can connect with fellow UT graduates, said Courtney Roehling, vice president of engagement with the Texas Exes events team.
“We like to say it’s like wearing your degree on your hand,” Roehling said. “So wherever you go, as long as you have that ring on, people know that you graduated from the University of Texas. It’s a great way for alumni to connect just by sight.”
Some ring recipients are also first-generation college students. For them, the ring is symbolic of a broader journey, which their whole family is a part of,
“A lot of the people who purchase the rings are first-generation college students, so it’s so important for them for their parents to come and witness it,” Roehling said. “It’s a way for them to introduce their parents to, ‘Hey, I’m about to join this tradition.’ (They’re) putting on this ring that showcases all the support the families have given them to get them to this point before graduation.”
Some students, such as petroleum engineering sophomore Alana Callahan, decide to get their rings as soon as they reach the required 75 credit hours. For Callahan, the ring is an exemplar of who she became while attending the University.
“I was excited to get it early so I could have more time to wear it while I’m at UT,” Callahan said. “I feel like I’ve changed a lot here, so it was really important for me to set that in stone by getting the ring.”