Hannah Dear

Ring ceremony sums up the Carolina experience for students

Hundreds of students gathered on the Horseshoe with their parents and USC alumni to receive their class ring from University President Harris Pastides on Sunday. 

“Today was a big day,” said Jonathan Mills, fourth-year electrical engineering student. “It was a big accomplishment to get our class rings, especially from President Pastides, and especially being able to do it in front of my family and friends.”

The USC Ring Ceremony is sponsored by the My Carolina Garnet Circle in partnership with the Alumni Association. Garnet Circle holds various traditional ceremonies annually, such as the Ring Ceremony, which help students connect with alumni and celebrate shared experiences at USC.

Patrick Ellis, the student speaker of the senate and second-year political science, sociology and economics student, was one of the youngest students in attendance. He saw getting his ring as honoring his family’s legacy at USC.

“My dad went to USC, my grandad went to USC, so USC’s always been in my blood," Ellis said. "So I saw today and the opportunity to get the ring as the culmination of being one of the Carolina community, and I wanted to do that as soon as I was offered the opportunity.” 

Seniors excitedly walked up to Pastides to shake his hand and receive their ring. Many of them are graduating in May and this ceremony is possibly their last until graduation.

“I decided to get my ring so I could use it to represent my four years of experience here and to be able to, you know, show everybody where I came from and the college,” Mills said.

The Ring Ceremony was a bittersweet event for seniors and an optimistic event for the underclassmen. Every student had a favorite part of the ceremony whether it was meeting Pastides, being supported by parents or Ellis’ more humorous take — his favorite part was “definitely getting the compliment on my bowtie by President Pastides.”

The rings alumni wear are symbolic of a never-ending connection to USC, including the emblem and words inscribed. The university has special traditions with how the ring is worn.

“As you will be told, we ask you to wear it with the logo and the words facing in, as we say, to your heart,” said Harris Pastides in his opening speech. “At graduation, we will ask those of you who have a ring to turn it around and so the words and the emblem face outward to the world to show that you are in fact an alumnus or an alumna of the University of South Carolina.”

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