When alumnus Ryan Beeson looked into getting his East Carolina University class ring, he wanted something special like his dad, an N.C. State graduate, had.
“All of his friends have the same ring,” said Beeson, who served as 2016-17 Student Government Association president. “It was neat to see them when we’d go to games growing up or when they’d get together for other things, and I’d see every one of them proudly wearing that ring.”
Beeson, who received his undergraduate degree in 2015 and his master’s degree in 2017, wanted a ring that had tradition tied to it. But he learned there wasn’t one official ring at ECU; there were dozens to choose from.
Thanks to the work of a group of ECU alumni, students, faculty and staff, that’s about to change. ECU has unveiled an official collection of class rings.
The group worked with Dowdy Student Stores and a representative and artist from Jostens, the company known for its class rings.
Beeson, who was an accounting graduate student at ECU at the time, was part of the group.
“I think this is an important process that we’re going through and identifying those things that stand out the most across our campus and in the minds of Pirates, looking for things that connect different generations,” Beeson said.
“The official ring program at ECU is one of our most exciting projects, I think really in the last year that I’ve undertaken,” said Heath Bowman, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations.
The ECU Alumni Association is introducing a new event to accompany the launch of the official ring. Bowman said there was a desire to create a new tradition and lore that would surround the ring.
“What we’re excited about most of all is that this is going to bring not only a ring, but it’s going to bring a storytelling element and a tradition element to our campus,” he said.
Out of months of discussions and mock-ups, three rings have emerged. There will be traditional, signet and dinner rings. Each has a crest on the top with the university shield, a sword and ECU’s motto “Servire.” The traditional and dinner rings can have either a black or purple stone. The signet ring has the option of the emblem being blackened.
The sides of the traditional and signet rings can be personalized with campus landmarks, the skull and cross bones, or the phrases “Loyal and Bold” and “Go Pirates.”
“There’s a mix of academic and athletic options,” Bowman said. “We wanted students to have the ability to make this their ring, but we also wanted to make sure that the things that are featured on the side panels are things that most alumni and students would instantly recognize.”
To celebrate, a December 1 ceremony is planned where all of the rings purchased this fall will be placed in a treasure chest under the cupola to be guarded by ECU ROTC cadets overnight. Then on Dec. 3, those rings will be given out to their owners at an official ring ceremony.
“I think this is something that all Pirates can come together and be proud of as something that unites us together as an ECU family,” Bowman said.
To be a part of the ceremony, rings must be purchased by Homecoming weekend, Oct. 21 and 22.
Even though he already has an ECU class ring, Beeson said he’ll be getting an official one soon.
“I’ll probably trade this one in. I want the standard one so when I’m out there with my buddies in the future … we all have the same thing, that we all are part of this same shared experience at ECU,” Beeson said.
For more information or to buy an official ECU ring, visit a Dowdy Student Store or go to www.Jostens.com/ECU.
-by Rich Klindworth