SHSU ‘rings’ in a new tradition

New traditions will be introduced at Sam Houston State University this year. The SHSU Alumni Association and the university bookstore have come together to develop new traditions surrounding the introduction of the official SHSU class ring.The ring will be unveiled at halftime during the Homecoming football game on Nov. 8.Kevin Hayes, director of alumni relations and co-chair of the design committee, said, “the number one goal of the committee was to come up with a design that if someone were sitting 10 feet away, they would say, ‘That’s a Sam Houston ring’.”Dr. Thelma Douglass, vice president for student services, developed the committee that is composed of students, alumni, faculty and staff.The program started two years ago when there was a demand by students at that time, said Hayes.Hayes explained that the committee began meeting last fall with the charge of creating an official design. He said the committee voted unanimously and the new design “depicts the character of SHSU.”The purpose of creating one design for the official class ring was to have one face for the university, said Hayes. The ring is a “symbol of many memories of SHSU,” said Hayes. “It brings a connection back to the school.”Students must prove they have completed 75 hours to order their ring. “Ring Order Days” begin Nov. 10, the Monday following the unveiling at Homecoming. Grad Fest, which is an event sponsored by the University Bookstore, is a three day event in which graduating seniors may order their graduation invitations, cap and gown and class ring. Ring Order Days will be a one week event taking place the same time as Grad Fest. Students may choose to order their ring through the university bookstore or the alumni office.A booth will be set up after the Homecoming game for alumni who may want to place an order for a ring. Another tradition being introduced this spring will be an official ring ceremony. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony that will be held once a year in the spring. It will take place on the steps of Austin Hall and the pit of Old Main.The first ceremony will take place April 22, 2004 and will be the kickoff for the 125th anniversary celebration of Sam Houston State University.President Gaertner will present students with their ring during the ceremony. Letters will be sent to parents of students who choose to participate. SHSU averages 2,500 students graduating each year. Also, he said that 25 percent of seniors are buying rings, which is about 600 students. Hayes said that according to the ring company, this response is very good.Hayes said that the new traditions are in support of Dr. Gaertner’s goals to revisit old traditions and start new ones.Also, seniors graduating in December may still choose to buy the official SHSU ring. Hayes said, “we tried to be able to guarantee that rings could be back before December graduation, but it just wasn’t possible.” However, December graduates may order the ring and have it sent directly to their residence or may wait until April and participate in the first official ring ceremony.Balfor will manufacture the rings. The rings will be available in yellow gold, antique gold or white gold. The price for a female 10 karat ring is $370, and the price for a male 10 karat ring is $499. Students may choose to add diamonds or cubic zirconia for an additional cost. Also, students may engrave the inside of their ring for an additional cost. Erica Wright, a junior, said, “It might be more expensive, but it will probably be a good thing because it recognizes the school.”Stacy Nestor, a sophomore, said, “I think it will be a good thing for the school, student’s will have something to show for their accomplishments.”

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