History of the Ring Ceremony
The Official Ring of the University of South Carolina
At the very core of the University of South Carolina’s shared values is an intangible link between past and future. These shared values and traditions, along with Carolina’s unique characteristics, are passed on with each graduating class-like a ring that comes full circle. The Official University of South Carolina ring stands as a symbol of our eternal affiliation with the University.
The Seal of the University of South Carolina
The University seal symbolically and profoundly articulates Carolina’s special purpose. It is inscribed with the words of the Latin poet Ovid, Emollit Mores Nec Sinit Esse Feros, which are translated, “Learning humanizes character and does not permit it to be cruel.”
Beneath these words stand two figures, Minerva- the Goddess of Wisdom-and Liberty. Equipped with armaments for battle, they hold their weapons and shields at rest. Together, the words and image on the seal declare: Liberty joined with wisdom produces harmony.
History of the Ring Ceremony
In 1999 the University of South Carolina adopted an official ring. The ring is a symbol of students’ eternal affiliation with the university. Since the ring represents the connection that a student will always have with their alma mater it was only fitting that the Garnet Circle Student Alumni Council be the ones to promote the official USC ring.
Garnet Circle developed the Ring Ceremony to celebrate the meaningful occasion when a student is presented their ring by the president of the university. The first Ring Ceremony was held in May of 1999 in the Rutledge Chapel on the Historic Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina. That year 6 students were presented with their rings by the President. Today the Ring Ceremony is still held on the University of South Carolina’s Horseshoe, but our event has outgrown Rutledge Chapel and has been moved outdoors.
The Horseshoe is the most historical area of campus as it was the site of the original campus dating back to 1802. Since 1999 Garnet Circle has been proud to host the Ring Ceremony each semester. The Ring Ceremony has become a milestone at the University of South Carolina, second only to graduation. Participation in the Ring Ceremony has grown each year to exceed all expectations. Over 500 students have attended the Ring Ceremony in past events, a drastic improvement when compared to the 6 students that attended the initial Ceremony in May of 1999.
The purpose of the Ring Ceremony is to ensure that students are presented with their rings in a manner appropriate to the significance of the ring. The ring represents the shared values and traditions that are the spirit of Carolina. That spirit continues to be passed on with each graduating class-like a ring that comes full circle. The Ring Ceremony has come to showcase much more than the ring itself, but the values and traditions of the University of South Carolina. The Ring Ceremony has become the first ritual in a rite of passage ending with a student’s graduation from the university.
Garnet Circle Student Alumni Council
Garnet Circle Student Alumni Council is a leadership organization sponsored by the Carolina Alumni Association. The organization exists to foster relationships between the students of the University of South Carolina and its alumni. Furthermore, the organization serves to promote the University of South Carolina to future students, and assist the Carolina Alumni Association with programs and events that promote positive feelings about the University among both students and alumni.
Garnet Circle’s involvement in the Ring Ceremony is a representation of the organization’s desire to facilitate pride in the University of South Carolina.