Ring Ceremony Becomes Circle of Celebration
Students, Alumni Praise Supporters Upon Receiving Symbol of School Pride
UT Dallas ring recipients were treated to tears and cheers from family, friends, classmates, faculty and staff who came to support them at a recent ceremony.
After they were presented with their class rings, students and alumni offered thanks and praise to the crowd gathered in the Edith O'Donnell Arts and Technology Building.
Theodora Munyinda BS'14, MPA'15 spoke about the positive impact she hopes her degrees will have on her 12-year-old daughter.
“I hope this opens doors for her,” said Munyinda, who is originally from Zambia and is pursuing a career in government. Munyinda earned an “awesome” from her daughter, Lovelee Taylor, who cheered for her at the ceremony. Taylor said she’s proud of her mom for working and attending college at the same time.
Since it began in 2001, the ring ceremony has evolved into a rite of passage for many Comets.
“This ring represents countless hours of studying, reading and late nights,” said Steve Castaneda, who recently completed the Global Leadership Executive MBA. “I’ll look at it and remember that all the time.”
Joel Romero BS’15 delivered his message of gratitude in English and Spanish, in recognition of his family.
“I’m the first in my family to graduate from college, and it’s all possible because of this great University,” he said. “To my family, I want to give thanks for the support you’ve given me. … I love you all.”
To conclude the ceremony, participants dunked their rings in the reflecting pool on the University mall, ceremoniously covering themselves and their rings with UT Dallas pride.
In addition to all UT Dallas graduates, undergraduate students with at least 75 credit hours and graduate students with at least 15 credit hours are eligible to purchase rings. Ring ceremonies are held at the end of the fall and spring semesters.
About The Ring
Comet Effects: The UT Dallas ring features the letters “UTD” on the top, which identifies the wearer as a graduate. One side emphasizes the University’s Texas heritage, displaying the state flag matched with a lone star and crossed by the UT Dallas Comet. The degree received is also designated. The other side includes the seal of The University of Texas System, the year of UT Dallas’ founding, 1969, and the year of the wearer’s graduation.
From left: Dr. James Carter, Dr. John Hoffman, University President ad interim Hobson Wildenthal and school mascot Temoc take part in a new ritual for the rings on the eve of the ceremony.
New Celestial Touch: As part of a new ritual on the eve of the ceremony, the rings are enclosed with equipment used in space provided by physics professor Dr. John Hoffman, in a box that geosciences professor emeritus Dr. James Carter built using wood sourced from the original Founders Building. The rings are surrounded by Carter’s lunar regolith simulant, or fake moon dirt, before spending the night in the office of the president. Carter, one of the world’s foremost experts on simulated moon dirt, created a process for manufacturing the fake variety after the first trip to the moon. Hoffman developed equipment that more recently enabled the detection of water on Mars.Distinguished Alumnus Shares Message with Ring Recipients
Carter Pate MS’03, retired CEO of MV Transportation in Dallas, spoke to the crowd at the fall ring ceremony. Pate earned his master’s degree in accounting and information management and is a 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Here are his remarks:Carter Pate
I have been asked to take a few minutes to congratulate each of you on completing your degrees, which in our country now puts you in the top 30 percent of our nation. Hopefully in earning this degree your family is not as shocked as mine was.
I remember sitting where you are years ago, wondering whether I should have splurged for this symbol of my hard work. But I can tell you that rarely does a day go by when this class ring does not remind me of the life lessons I learned from this institution that defined my business career and, more importantly, who I am as a person.
Occasionally, as I proudly wear my UTD class ring, I find it to be a conversation starter and I often tell of a favorite professor or an impossible exam that seemed so critical to my survival at the time. But, as the years have gone by, I’ve developed a deeper sense of this class ring’s symbolism and I would like to quickly share my thoughts.
I find that we make decisions in life often based on reputation. Be it your decision to attend UTD or through daily choices, you have a unique opportunity to define yourself in the eyes of others. Henry Ford once said that you can’t build a reputation on what you intend to do. Your reputation has already started by finishing what you started here.
I also think of integrity, as UTD demanded a high performing standard of you that will serve you well throughout life. As you dip your ring, never forget the effort you put forth to earn your degree through hard work and countless hours of commitment to a goal. Integrity, as my father always told me, is defined by the decisions you make when no one will find out.
Interestingly, the word noble came to me, as over the years I’ve learned it is better to declare oneself wrong than to insist on being right. Leadership is one of the hardest things you will experience in life. Leadership is accepting responsibility when a disappointing outcome overwhelms your team, and as their leader, you need to declare that “the failure belongs to me alone.” Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.
Lastly, I hope you will be genuine. Always be yourself and be sincere. In moments when all is on the line in love or career, this trait brings out the best in human nature. Many hearts are won over by a person who learns to speak from their heart.
By now, you have figured out that when I think back on this tradition, my class R.I.N.G. reminds me of Reputation, Integrity, Noble but Genuine. But more importantly, as the years go by and you look down on this small symbol of a great accomplishment, what will your class ring mean to you?
Congratulations graduates, and make us all proud.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].