Tulane Rings In New Graduation Tradition

March 16, 2002

Beth Frank, <i>Hullabaloo</i> Contributing Writer

The first annual Tulane University Ring Ceremony took place Tuesday night in Rogers Memorial Chapel. Approximately 35 ring recipients (who RSVPed to the event) were present to have their pictures taken as Tulane President Scott Cowen personally handed their rings to them. In his address, President Cowen spoke of the importance of traditions.

"When I started here four years ago, the University did not have many traditions. Last year we had 25,000 people attend the unified commencement. Regardless of which school or college you graduate from, we all have one thing in common. We are all graduates of Tulane," Cowen said.

The first 100 students to buy the ring were invited to the ceremony. The ceremony itself, according to Kelly Venable Carroll of Auxiliary Services, was intended to be "sort of like graduation, another rite of passage."

Jered Bocage, a participant of the Student Alumni Association, gave the opening address. He welcomed the crowd and called the ring a "symbol of pride in the University." Ashley Schneider presented Cowen with his own ring after she gave the history of the ring and its symbols.

"I'm not sure he knows about this, but we just wanted to thank him for all his help," she said. After receiving the inaugural ring, Cowen joked, "I was wondering why six months ago someone came into my office and measured my finger. I forgot all about that until this moment."

He went on to say, "I am especially pleased to receive this ring as I started here with all of you four years ago. I will be waving good-bye to you with mixed emotions."

Students then received their rings from President Cowen and then had their picture taken with him. Charlotte Travieso, director of Alumni Affairs, gave the closing remarks. She congratulated all of the future alumni and urged them to look at their rings and remember all of the good things about Tulane.

Samantha Protokowicz, a December graduate of Newcomb College, said that she wanted the ring because "I went to a really traditional high school, and I thought that this was a nice tradition to be a part of from the beginning. I want to be able to recognize all of the other Tulane grads."

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