Class rings distributed at first official ceremony

More than 200 people attended the first East Carolina University class ring ceremony on Dec. 3, marking an important milestone toward becoming ECU alumni.

While students have always been able to purchase a class ring, there has been neither a signature collection with a unified look nor a ceremony before. That has now changed.

Senior Amber Lett received a traditional style ring. “It was nerve-wracking,” she said. “I was so excited to see what it was going to look like. I’ve been waiting for months.”

Once the students received their ring, they signed their name into record as part of the new tradition.

ECU Alumni Association President Heath Bowman presented the rings to students and alumni on the East Carolina Heart Institute auditorium stage. Participants signed their name on an official record before putting on their rings at the same time.

“I thought it was gorgeous,” said senior Aliyah Echols. “I was completely taken aback by how beautiful it looked in the box. I did not realize it was going to come in the velvet and gold box. I wanted to cry right there on the spot.”

More than a year in development, a group of ECU alumni, students, faculty and staff worked with Dowdy Student Stores and jewelry manufacturer Jostens to design the rings. The three official ring styles – signet, traditional and dinner – all have a crest on the top with the university shield, a sword and ECU’s motto, “Servire.”

“(The ring) is something that bonds us all together deep down in Pirate Nation that we’re all a part of now,” said senior Randy Stitt.

Some alumni from 1970-2016 also ordered class rings this year.

“A lot of universities have made a ring tradition a core part of what they do and how they celebrate the tradition of their campus,” Bowman said. “So for us, this just feels like bringing something to ECU that needed to be here and that our Pirate alumni and our students deserve.”

For more information or to buy an official ECU ring, visit Dowdy Student Stores or go to www.jostens.com/ECU.