Ring Ceremony Comes Full Circle

Editors’ Note: This feature appears as it was published in the spring 2017 edition of UT Dallas Magazine. Titles or faculty members listed may have changed since that time.
MBA student Arian Dezfoolian shows off his new ring as his sister, Kiyana Dezfoolian, a healthcare studies freshman at UT Dallas, mini-Whooshes. (Photo by Tania Raharja)

Fifteen years ago, Anchi Ku BS’81 helped formalize the presentation of class rings at UT Dallas by establishing ring ceremonies, a campus tradition that attracts a growing number of students and alumni each semester. She returned to campus in December to celebrate the accomplishments of the University’s most recent ring recipients at the fall ceremony.

“Your ring is a reminder of the many years of your hard work, your dedication, your determination, your sacrifices and, of course, your success,” said Ku, a member of the UT Dallas Development Board and the recipient of the University’s first Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service in 2006. “Wear your ring with pride — like I have for the past 15 years — knowing this ring symbolizes excellence in education, dedication and your lifelong connection to UT Dallas.”

More than 100 students and alumni took part in the ceremony in the days before fall commencement. Upon receiving their rings, many participants addressed the lively crowd composed of family, friends, professors, staff and supporters.

“It is a tremendous honor to wear this ring as a symbol of our University, and I am going to wear it very proudly my entire career as a law enforcement officer,” criminology senior Payne Ford said. Throughout the ceremony, held in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, participants expressed appreciation for the enduring support, financial contributions and timely advice they received.

“Thank you, Executive MBA, the place where I worked; JSOM, the place where I studied; and UTD, the place where I lived and loved and laughed,” said Devi Priya Karuppiah, a graduate of the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Laderica McNairy, a graduate student in the School of Behaviorial and Brain Sciences, acknowledged her “amazing support system,” who she said “decided to believe in my dreams as strongly as I do.”

Participants also celebrated their Comet pride. “I appreciate this time of preparation to stand in a new place where there are no boundaries,” Bonnie Ann Sexton MS’16 said. “Go Comets!”

Additionally, Ku presented UT Dallas President Richard Benson with his own ring, signifying his role as an ambassador to alumni around the world.

“This ring is the perfect outward symbol of my connection to the University,” said Benson, who  was inaugurated as the institution’s fifth president on Oct. 27, 2016.

To conclude the ceremony, participants dunked their rings in a reflecting pool on the University mall, ceremoniously covering themselves and their rings with UT Dallas pride.