History Rings True: Legacy Ring Program connects generations

Stephanie Barron '14 displays her class ring donated by Page Harrison Porter '48.

Stephanie Barron ’14 displays her class ring donated by Page Harrison Porter ’48.

The class ring Stephanie Barron ’14 wears is not at all like what she imagined. It bears the R-MWC College seal, and the class year engraved in gold on one side of the ring is “1948.”

The ring was a gift from Page Harrison Porter ’48. Page donated her ring to the College’s legacy ring program, which gives class rings to students who cannot purchase their own. It was not brand-new, but the ring was the right fit—literally.

“There’s this alumna who I’m not related to and who graduated over 50 years ago. Here’s her ring on my finger, and it fits perfectly,” Stephanie said. “What are the chances of that?”

The College has been accepting and distributing legacy rings for about eight years. This practice allows more people to participate in Ring Week and Ring Night, two of the most treasured traditions on campus.

“This is a school where history is important,” said Terry Bodine, assistant dean of students and director of residence life. “Feeling connected to past generations of students really means a lot. That’s what students find significant about the legacy rings.”

Page donated her ring after she read about the program and wanted to help a deserving student. “For about 50 years, I did wear the ring on my little finger, but being left-handed and constantly scrubbing for lab work, it was often in my lab coat pocket,” she said.

When legacy rings are available to distribute, staffff members try to find students who represent the College well but who did not order a ring. Stephanie was an ideal recipient because of her love for the College and her service as a tour guide and class president, Terry said.

Stephanie regretted that she was unable to buy a ring, so she inquired about the legacy ring program but then forgot about it. As Ring Week approached, she got caught up in the excitement of seeing her classmates receive their rings.

After a scavenger hunt on Ring Night, Stephanie discovered that her first-year student was Tempest Schaller ’16, a student whom Stephanie had helped recruit to the College. Tempest gave her a plastic lollipop ring, a common option for students who did not purchase a ring. Then, Tempest announced that she had a surprise.

She disappeared for a moment and returned with a wooden case. Stephanie laughed and cried as she placed the real ring on her finger. “I was completely overwhelmed,” Stephanie said. “I was so happy and honored.” The ring is especially meaningful because Stephanie loves the traditions that bind the College to its history. Whenever she is in the Martin Science Building—where Page studied chemistry and physics— she thinks about how the ring has come full circle.

“It shows that this school is always going to be my home,” Stephanie said. “Now that it’s a legacy ring, it is back. Even after over 50 years, it came back.”

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