ring ceremony
ring ceremony
ring ceremony
ring ceremony
In the top photo, Gage Paine, UTSA vice president for student
affairs, presents a ring. In the other photos, UTSA students
"show their Roadrunner" and their new rings.
(Photos by Mark McClendon)

UTSA ring is an important traditional symbol

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(May 9, 2008)--Tradition, spirit and pride have come to UTSA along with growth and new ideas. As the university builds an identity and legacy, students are increasingly proud to display the unifying symbol of the UTSA ring.

"For being such a young school, we have a great deal of pride and tradition," said George De Leon, a history major who will graduate in 2009. "The UTSA ring can tie us all together."

De Leon was one of nearly 300 UTSA students receiving their rings in a May 1 ceremony at the Convocation Center on the 1604 Campus. Juniors entering their senior years, graduating seniors and non-traditional students participated in the ceremony, each bringing their own meaning to the school symbol.

After missing her ring ceremony in 1999 because of illness, Sandy Jimenez-Huizar returned to campus to formally receive her ring. She chose to participate not only for her emotional connection to the school, but also as a first-generation college graduate to set an example to her three young daughters.

>> View a video (QuickTime format) with comments by Sandy Jimenez-Huizar on the UTSA ring ceremony. (Video by David Deering).

"In first-generation graduates, the ring tradition has tapped into pride and the ring as a symbol of that pride," said Curt Langford, national director of the official ring program at Balfour and a company representative for UTSA. "The non-traditional graduate has more to overcome to get the ring. It means more and becomes that symbol of achievement."

UTSA Vice President for Student Affairs Gage Paine participated in the ceremony she describes as one of her favorites.

"I hand rings to a wide variety of students and the smiles I get in return are amazing," she said. "The students who choose to buy and wear a ring want to share their accomplishments with the world, and they are proud of having a degree from UTSA. What could be more fun than to be part of that?"

In her remarks to the students at the ceremony, Paine cautioned them about the complexities of pride by sharing the proverb, "Pride goeth before a fall." But she referred to another definition, "reasonable self-respect."

"I do think pride in your accomplishments at UTSA, as symbolized by your ring, falls under the definition of reasonable and justifiable self-respect," she said. "So, be proud."

In addition to the symbolic value, the ring includes images of the university and city. Ms. UTSA 2008 Jessica Beemer pointed out the Sombrilla on the ring's left shank, describing it as a center point and gathering place critical to the university. The Alamo on its right shank, she said, shows pride in the landmark and the city. To Beemer, the book and shield on the ring's crown symbolizes dedication to studies.

"The institution has restored the academic integrity of the ring," said Balfour's Langford, citing the standards created only in the last 12 years of the university's 39-year history. The ring is reserved for alumni and juniors and seniors who have completed 60 credit hours.

"UTSA clearly stands out among its peers in ring traditions," said Langford. "There are more historic ring traditions, but in a new generation of schools creating a ring tradition, UTSA is clearly ahead of the pack."

The UTSA ring program is administered by the UTSA Office of Alumni Programs and facilitated through the UTSA bookstore.

For more information, call (210) 458-4133 or visit the UTSA Alumni Programs Web site and select "Official UTSA Ring."

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