College changes class ring purchase policy
Megan Loney | Thursday, October 1, 2009
Since July 21 of this past summer, Saint Mary’s College has mandated that only students of junior status or higher can order class rings.
The idea behind this new policy is to maintain the integrity of the class ring, Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Johnson said. Before, underclassmen could buy a Saint Mary’s ring, even if they planned on transferring somewhere else.
“In the past a student could enter Saint Mary’s, buy a ring in her first week, and then withdraw with the ring,” Johnson said.
Juniors and above will have to provide proof, such as a transcript, that they have completed 60 credit hours. Once students have reached this threshold, they are able to purchase a ring at any time.
Johnson said she has received no reactions to the policy from alumni, students or parents.
Senior Elementary Education major Megan Hayes said this policy is appropriate for the sale of the Saint Mary’s class rings.
“The class ring is like a right of passage,” Hayes said. “It represents all four years that I’ve been here [at Saint Mary’s]. It’s something you should earn, not just pay money for.”
After knowing another student who bought a class ring during her first year and ended up transferring to another college, Hayes said she decided to wait to buy hers. She waited until her junior year, even before the policy was put in place, to buy her class ring.
“It’s not just for symbolic reasons,” Hayes said of her decision. “It’s a waste of money to buy the ring unless you are going to graduate from Saint Mary’s.”
The original design of the ring included only the seal and the phrase “Spes Unica,” but the words “Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame” were later added. The phrase was changed to “Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame” in 1973 when the two schools decided to forgo a merger, Balfour salesman Jim Bell said in a 2005 interview with The Observer.
Other images on the current ring represent the French origin of the founding Sisters of the Holy Cross – two fleurs-de-lis on the top of the ring and the French Cross.
The current design of the Saint Mary’s ring has been sold since 1973, although the tradition of class rings has been a part of the college since at least the 1950s. The ring bears the college seal, adopted from the Sisters of the Holy Cross seal.
Another symbol of Christ on the ring is the phrase “Spes Unica” or “One Hope” on the bottom of the ring.
Students have the choice of a small diamond or an open book to be displayed in the center of the ring.