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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Activities & Organizations

Class ring statue symbolizes students’ UH journey


Each semester, class rings are presented to over 500 students while their friends and family look on. Class rings have been a University tradition since 1946 and are just one way students can remain connected to the University after graduating. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Each semester, class rings are presented to over 500 students while their friends and family look on. Class rings have been a University tradition since 1946 and are just one way students can remain connected to the University after graduating. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

The recently unveiled UH class ring statue celebrates students’ accomplishments and dedication throughout their college journey.

As a tradition that began in 1946, the UH ring is symbolic of students’ time spent studying at UH. The new UH class ring statue, located in the student center, was unveiled prior to the Fall 2019 ring ceremony.

“A gift from our class ring provider, Balfour, this statue serves as a visual representation of the hard work and dedication each individual put in to earn their class ring,” said Corporate Partnerships Manager of Alumni Relations Jarred Fancher. “It also serves as a cornerstone location on campus for students to visit for photo opportunities.”

For students, receiving their UH class ring can be a pivotal moment, recognizing at least 70 credit hours required to order it. Transfer hours accepted by the University are included in the minimum required to qualify for the UH class ring. Having a tangible representation of multiple semesters can feel as incredibly rewarding, especially for students overcoming adversity.

“For me, since I’m a first-generation student, I wanted to get the ring for the symbolism of accomplishment,” said organizational and corporate communications senior Elvia Sanchez. “I didn’t get a ring for graduating high school, but I knew I wanted something for college.”

The UH class ring statue is on display inside Student Center South. | Lino Sandil/The Cougar

Rings range in price from $620-$675, being an officially licensed product from Balfour. The Class Ring Scholarship is available through The University of Houston Alumni Association, which accepts donations online to help more students afford purchasing their class rings. 

“I originally wasn’t going to pursue getting it, due to it being expensive, but a friend who was getting it did convince me,” Sanchez said. “Aside from the whole personal symbolism, that friend and others pointed out that it’s a good conversation starter when networking or interviews.”

Class ring ceremonies happen twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring, where students are presented with their class rings. The ring ceremony has been hosted inside of the Fertitta Center, where recipients walk across the stage in front of the guests in the audience.

The ceremony has steadily grown each year, with the first-ever ring ceremony being hosted in Fertitta Center in December 2018,” Fancher said. “Each ceremony has hosted over 3,000 guests and distributed over 500 rings to students.”

Starting in March 2012, the blessing of the rings occur the night before ring ceremonies, where the class rings are with Shasta at the Houston Zoo overnight. The first blessing of the rings happened in December 2011 with Haley the cougar, prior to the later transition to Shasta VI.

“Students are encouraged to visit the Zoo for special ‘keeper talks’ regarding Shasta, as well as an opportunity to see the box of rings in Shasta’s habitat,” Fancher said.

As an aspect of the UHAA, the UH class ring is a connecting factor for Cougars throughout their post-graduation life. 

“These noble symbols signify an important life achievement and keep students connected to the enduring legacy and traditions of the University,” Fancher said.

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