Junior Ring Ceremony Lives On
Every year at Cedar Crest College, participating junior students stand anxiously in line dressed in all black, waiting for a ring to be slipped on their finger in front of their friends and family. The Dean of Students places the ring on their finger, celebrating how far they’ve come at the college. Students smile, proud of their achievement, and their friends and family congratulate them with yellow roses.
Former Cedar Crest College President, William F. Curtis, initiated the idea for the Junior Ring Ceremony in the 1940s. After his passing in 1941, the Class of 1944 created the first ceremony in 1942 under President Moore. In its earliest years, senior students would present the junior students with their rings. Over time, the ceremony evolved to the class advisor giving the rings, to what it is now, the Dean of Students presenting the juniors with their rings.
“It is an incredibly important tradition,” President Elizabeth Meade said. “One reason is that it is an experience that Cedar Crest graduates all know they share with each other, so that when you go through the Junior Ring Ceremony, you know that you’re going through a ceremony that all of these other women have gone through before you and that’s a way of sort of making you feel connected to other Cedar Crest alumni that you will encounter, really, for the rest of your life.”
President Meade recalled an astonishing story that a Cedar Crest alum told her. Many years ago, a former student of President Meade studied abroad in Africa and got very sick. She was brought to a local hospital and thought she was going to die. But the nurse had a Cedar Crest ring on and the former student told President Meade that “when I saw that ring, I knew I was going to live.” And the Cedar Crest alum did.
“I also like the fact that it is a tangible reminder,” President Meade said. “The fact that it’s a ring is something that when you wear it and you go out into public it marks you as a graduate of Cedar Crest College.”
The traditional Cedar Crest ring has an oval black onyx center, with three C’s engraved into the stone. It’s a visible connection that all Cedar Crest alumni from multiple generations have in common. But in more recent years, students have chosen to buy their own rings to fit their own individual style.
“Traditions are the things that unite and connect us,” President Meade said. “When we hold Junior Ring Ceremony, the seniors are remembering last year when they went through it, the freshmen and sophomores are looking ahead to when they’re going to go through it, and the community comes together around a meaningful moment.”
The most recent Junior Ring Ceremony took place on Saturday, February 15, at 2 p.m. in Alumnae Hall.