Lost ’52 Class Ring Full of Tradition, Memories, & Meaning
Whether you got your University of St. Thomas class ring 68 years ago like Betty Fischer ’52, or more recently like Tyler Rountree ’13, chances are that it’s a reminder of special times and milestone accomplishments—not to mention, a multi-thousand-year history. To observers, the class ring sends a message of pride and belonging. Sad is how it felt to a UST alumna who lost hers.
Fischer, the archivist for UST, faithful supporter of the University mission, and creator of an endowed scholarship fund, always wore her class ring until it disappeared during a hospital stay years ago.
“I was really dismayed,” she said, “because I must have put it on a tray, and they came and picked up the tray without noticing. My ring celebrated four years of studies and friendships. UST is very special to me, and my ring represented what I treasure and what I continue to support.”
Historical Origins in Egypt and West Point
Made of gold and featuring a single garnet stone, the original UST rings appeared in 1951 for the first graduating class. But fellowship rings began thousands of years earlier.
The tradition of group rings dates back to ancient Egypt when different bands of people were distinguished by their matching rings.
Much later, in 1835, the U.S. Military Academy inspired other educational institutions by giving class rings to its cadets. The idea was a success. The hallmark became a tradition, reinforcing unity among the group, reminding them of West Point’s values and serving as a symbol of pride in their triumph.
Right Way, Wrong Way
Tradition suggests how the class ring should be worn. When a student has not yet graduated, the UST insignia is supposed to face the wearer. After graduation, the ring is turned so that it meets the viewer.
Tyler Rountree wears two pieces of jewelry every single day.
“Since my 2013 graduation, I wear a simple silver cross and my extra-large UST class signet,” Rountree said. “The ring displays my hard work, which I’m proud of.”
He gets compliments all the time and has been surprised at how his ring opens doors.
Rountree said, “Turns out, mine is a real conversation starter, because the extra-large ring is unmistakably bold. People see it and comment on it.”
New, Striking Choices for Class of ‘25
Four new designs have been added to the array of possibilities for UST’s class of ’25. The stunning new options are the result of collaboration by the University of St. Thomas’ Creative Service Department and Jostens.
Be on the lookout for detailed information about UST’s class of ’25 rings, coming soon.