Alumni Association presents 405 rings to Class of 2013
Four years in the making, 405 seniors, including 19 active duty military students, will receive their class rings Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, from The Citadel Alumni Association.
It's a day the Class of 2013 has anticipated because The Citadel ring represents a bond of shared accomplishment. Friday's 1 p.m. presentation in McAlister Field House marks the start of the annual Parents' Weekend celebration.
Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, Class of 1973, said the ring's meaning stays with graduates long after they receive their diplomas.
"Like all alumni you'll be proud to wear the ring, but the core values are your most prized possessions," Rosa said. "They represent a commitment to conduct yourselves in a manner that will make your classmates proud as well as the generations of others who wear the ring. So, as you walk around campus, wearing your ring, never underestimate the influence you have."
Citadel alumni have played a role in each year's ring presentation. This year a group of graduates raised money to purchase rings for 14 cadets in need of financial assistance.
"We're proud that The Citadel family is a leader in providing support to worthy cadets who otherwise would go without a cherished possession – their class ring," said CAA director Mike Rogers.
The 2013 rings contain the melted gold from six alumni rings donated to the college through the Band of Gold program. The Band of Gold Program allows alumni to designate the CAA as the final caretaker of a class ring. The tradition is melting alumni rings into new Citadel class rings began in 2004. This year's alumni rings are those of G. Allen O'Neal. '33; Col. G. Kenneth Webb, USA, Ret. '43; Alvin F. Baird, Jr., '53; Allard H. Lennon, '53; Craig W. O'Donnell, '63 and Dr. Christopher D. King, '73.
While they don't participate in the ring presentation on Friday, 29 Citadel Graduate College students also purchased class rings this year.
About The Citadel ring
To receive a Citadel class ring, cadets must be proficient in academic standing.
The ring has symbolized outstanding accomplishments both by the Corps of Cadets and South Carolina. Perhaps the most popular feature of the ring is the "Star of the West," which commemorates the firing on a Union supply steamer by a detachment of Citadel cadets in January 1861. This action was the powder keg that set off the War Between the States.
Every aspect of the ring is symbolic of the history and tradition of the Cadet Corps from the Mexican War through both World Wars, to the present day, for The Citadel is a military college and the leadership, courage, and integrity found in good officers is embodied by the sword, found on the left shank of the ring. Crossing the sword is the rifle, the symbol of the infantry. Of equal importance in this world of political aggrandizement and perpetual military conflict are the concepts of freedom acquired and maintained only through a willingness to fight for it represented by the rifle surmounted by the oak leaves of toughness and victory blessed by peace, represented by the laurel wreath.
On the right shank of the ring are found the United States and South Carolina colors, which depict the unity of the state and federal government. The cannon balls at the bottom of this shank indicate the continuing link between the Old Citadel on Marion Square and the Greater Citadel.
When the college moved to its present location, the Civil War cannon balls piled before the Old Citadel were left behind. The oval crest has a reproduction of the palmetto tree in its background.
Aside from representing the state tree of South Carolina, the Palmetto symbolizes a cadet-trained regiment of infantry that fought in the Mexican War and it represents a fort, which was built of Palmetto logs that repelled a large British invasion fleet during the Revolutionary War. The two oval shields at the base of the tree are replicas of the state seals.