The VT Class ring embodies and invokes memories, traditions and pride that tie Hokies, young and old, together. The tradition began in the 1911-1912 school session when four classes (1911-1914) designed their rings. The Ring Tradition celebrated 100 years with the 2011 ring. Since the beginning, each Virginia Tech class has designed a ring distinctive and unique to their class. Today, Virginia Tech is one of only a few colleges and universities that redesigns their ring collection each year.
Virginia Tech introduces an entirely new collection of designs for each class. Each year, the Sophomore class selects a Ring Committee responsible for designing their class ring collection. Each collection includes certain elements: the screaming eagle, American flag, campus buildings, and an interlocking chain around the bezel. The screaming eagle evolved from a pair of twin eagles used on the first Virginia Tech ring, symbolizing the twin virtues of strength and freedom. The American flag and campus buildings serve to recognize both the heritage of our country and Virginia Tech. The chain represents the strength of many united as one.
From there, the Ring Committee designs a class ring representing the unique characteristics of their respective class. A display case in the Williamsburg Room, Squires Student Center, contains Virginia Tech class rings since 1921. The display was dedicated during the 1991 and 1986 class reunion in November of 1996.
A tradition dating from 1934, the Virginia Tech Ring Dance symbolizes the transition from junior to senior. Upon entering the dance, each couple receives a pair of ribbons in the Class colors. The lady wears her date's ring on her wrist with the darker colored ribbon, and the gentleman wears his date's ring on his wrist with the lighter colored ribbon. When the time comes for the Ring Exchange, the Corps of Cadets walk into the ballroom and stand in the shape of the Class numerals. As each couple exchanges rings, "Moonlight and VPI," written specifically for the Ring Dance by composer Fred Waring and lyricist Charles Gaynor, is played. As the clock strikes midnight, the evening ends with an elaborate fireworks display on the Drillfield, and the playing of "Silvertaps."
The Class of 1935 held the first Ring Dance on April 27, 1934, where the ring figure, sabre arch, and presentation of the ring by the Junior's date were introduced. Since then, the fame of the Ring Dance has spread across the nation, introducing many memorable highlights. Always, the Dance is a night to remember for those receiving their rings:
"Night after night we "dragged" the rats and learned to flip our sabres correctly. . . Friday finally rolled around and brought our dates... as well as V. M. I.'s ambassadors of good will. The reception at the S. A. B. formally opened our debut and after three years of waiting... the figure - the ring - and the kiss. And we were made men." (from the 1942 Virginia Tech Yearbook)
Halted temporarily during the years 1944-1946 due to World War II, Ring Dance has been a manifestation of fine dining, superior entertainment, and distinctive guests. The entire weekend, which occurs in the spring of the junior year, is primarily for the Juniors and their dates, although the entire university community is invited.
Current students should wear their rings so that the name Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and/or the honor point on the bezel faces the wearer.
Upon graduation, the ring is turned to face out to let the world know the wearer is a Hokie alum. Those who wear the ring proudly state to others, "I am a Hokie, a Virginia Tech graduate who understands the meaning of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve)."