LEIGH BEESON, editor in chief
The wait is almost over for those looking to buy official Georgia Regents University class rings.
The newly approved designs for the official Georgia Regents class rings are the result of months of designing, surveying students and alumni, and reworking, but Karl Munschy, the director of Auxiliary Services, said he thinks students will be pleased with the results.
“We had the opportunity because now we have a new name to do a new ring,” the director said. “Previously, at (Augusta State University), we just let the ring companies come in and sell any ring they wanted. So, of course, all the rings they’d bring would have diamonds and be $800 and all this crazy stuff. There wasn’t any common look; there wasn’t really any ASU design. And that was true
for the MCG, GHSU undergraduate program too.”
With input from the Student Government Association, alumni, President Ricardo Azziz and Provost Gretchen Caughman, among others, Munschy and staff from Alumni Affairs and Special Events developed several versions of the ring before ultimately settling on a simple metal design without stones or major embellishments. The GRU logo is emblazoned on the top of the ring, and students may select from several options what they want engraved on the sides, with choices including the jaguar head, their majors or degrees, and their year of graduation accompanying the infinity flame, which is meant to represent the merging of Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University into one cohesive research institution, Munschy said.
Part of the reason the design was kept simple and free from major embellishments was because the university wanted to keep the ring affordable and wanted a timeless design that could be used for decades to come, Munschy explained.
“I had a colleague that I worked with who was a Citadel grad,” Munschy said. “One day we were in this restaurant, in downtown Aiken, (S.C.,) and this old guy walked in … and (my friend) goes, ‘That’s a Citadel grad.’ And I said, ‘How do you know that?’ All the way across the restaurant, he could see his ring. Then we went back to our lunch, and as we got up to leave, he went up to shake his hand and introduced himself and said, ‘Hey, I saw you were a Citadel grad.’ … They struck up this friendship, and it turned out that that guy eventually became a donor for my friend’s department out of that happenstance, strange meeting. That memory kind of came back into my head. I said, ‘We have to do a new ring anyway, (so) let’s do something more with it than just letting the ring companies come in and just sell something.’”
Now instead of simply ordering a ring and receiving it, there will be a ceremony during which students who have completed 60 or more credit hours receive their rings and dip them into the Blanchard Fountain, Munschy said.
“The new GRU ring symbolizes the pride of being a Jaguar and will represent our students’ achievements,” said Tina Baggot, the associate vice president for Alumni Affairs, in a press release sent to The Bell Ringer. “The ceremony is a special time for students and their families to celebrate their achievements at Georgia Regents University and helps us begin a new tradition that will continue
for many years.”
The SGA spent the majority of one of its meetings debating the pros and cons of various designs, said Brittany Mathews, the SGA vice president. Overall, the senators were pleased with the designs and the idea of incorporating the class rings into a new ceremonial tradition, Mathews said.
However, if students still wish to order Augusta State rings, they can. After an editorial in The Bell Ringer brought attention to the difficulties in placing an order for a ring representing the former university, Munschy personally spoke with Jostens, the company providing the rings, to make sure that students would be able to purchase rings with ASU on them if desired.