CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 250 upper-level students from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi walked across the Performing Arts Center stage on April 16 for what was the largest Official Ring Ceremony in the history of the event.
The ring ceremony, which started in 1999, is a special campus tradition. Students receiving rings must either be undergraduate students who have completed at least 75 credit hours, graduate students who have completed at least 25 credit hours at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, or Islander Alumni.
“It’s a precursor to graduation,” said Russell Wagner, Executive Director of the National Islander Alumni Association. “It tells the students that they are getting close. Students are starting to figure out what they want to do after they graduate, and the ring symbolizes that next step for them.”
During the program, Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, presented the rings to students as they crossed the stage. The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ring signifies pride, achievement and university spirit. Legacy of Rings recipients were Ana Elena Escobedo and Ismael Lara, both Class Agents from the College of Liberal Arts, who will represent the Class of 2016 upon their graduation in May.
“Today means everything to me,” said Alyssa Palomo, a senior criminal justice major who will graduate in May 2016. “The ring symbolizes my accomplishments, not only for myself, but for my family who has supported me through the years. My favorite memory here has been meeting the greatest friends I’ll ever have through my sorority. It’s like we’ve known each other forever.”
Palomo plans to take the LSAT exam this summer and apply to law school.
Students who attended the ceremony shared their videos, tweets and pictures via social media using #IslanderRing. The grand finale of the ring ceremony was “The Islander Ring Wish” tradition. Students received a sand dollar in their ring box that symbolizes their future goals and dreams beyond the Island University. The students walked to Lee Plaza and tossed their sand dollar into the Lee Plaza fountain. Family and friends joined in this tradition by lining the path leading to Lee Plaza, posed for photos and enjoyed light refreshments.
“Today signifies the completion of a long and exciting journey here at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi,” said Lara, senior theatre education major who will graduate in May 2016. “During the summer, I will be teaching at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and I will be directing two plays by Shakespeare. I would like to thank the University for giving me a really great time here.”
The ring ceremony is a partnership between Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the Islander Alumni Association. All class ring recipients are granted associate membership into Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi National Alumni Association. The Alumni Association, which has a network of more than 41,000, helps students stay connected with the Island University and build professional networks.