More than 90 UT Dallas students and alumni received their University rings at the semiannual Ring Ceremony on Nov. 19. In celebration of the University’s 50th milestone, this year’s rings are adorned with a special anniversary arbormark on the inside of the band.
Family members and friends filled the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center for the formal program, which included remarks from UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson, who reminded the recipients of their place in the University’s history.
“Your ring, and the physical connection you will make with UT Dallas when you dunk your ring in the reflecting pools later on, will mark you as a member of our community forever,” Benson said.
Dallas County Criminal Court magistrate Katie Sprinkle BA’90, featured Ring Ceremony speaker who graduated from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences nearly three decades ago, emphasized the binding nature of the UT Dallas ring.
“This ring doesn’t simply commemorate your hard work, love and dedication,” Sprinkle said. “It connects all of us together. No matter where we go from here, what career paths we follow, we all have two things in common: We were all students here, and we all wear the ring.”
In honor of the late Dr. James Carter, one of the longest-serving faculty members who developed the artificial moon dirt that the UT Dallas Rings are placed in the night before each Ring Ceremony, the University announced the establishment of the Dr. James Carter Memorial Ring Fund, which will award a free ring to a deserving student beginning next spring.
After receiving their rings, the recipients gathered outside of the reflecting pools on the Margaret McDermott Mall for the traditional dunking of the rings. The evening concluded with a celebration in Texas Instruments Inspiration Hall.
Although it had been 10 years since he graduated from UT Dallas and the McDermott Scholars program, entrepreneur David Bindel BS’07, MS’09, MSCS’11 found the ability to receive his ring during the University’s 50th anniversary a perfect opportunity. To him, the ring represents the years of work he spent earning his three degrees.
“It symbolizes a lot of effort that I put into my studies,” Bindel said. “UTD is something that I’m proud of, and I’m proud to wear the ring.”
A student in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Hannah Cabrera isn’t scheduled to graduate until next year, but jumped at the chance to get her UT Dallas ring. Cabrera is double-majoring in neuroscience and psychology to pursue clinical psychology, with hopes to also research Alzheimer’s, a disease her grandfather battled for seven years.
“The goal that you have in mind is to get the degree, and the ring shows you taking that path and working toward it,” Cabrera said. “Ultimately, when you look at your career, that’s going to be what you think about when you look at the ring — I went to UT Dallas to be able to do this.”
Father, Daughter Commemorate Shared Graduation with UT Dallas Rings
While mothers, fathers, siblings and other family members watched their loved ones receive their rings at UT Dallas’ biannual Ring Ceremony, Nikita Paturu and her father, Prasad, received theirs together.
Nikita, a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, convinced her father to receive his UT Dallas ring when the two found out they’d both be graduating in December.
“It’s really special,” Nikita said. “We didn’t even know we were going to graduate together until we found out in September.”
Currently a practicing cardiologist at Baylor Medical Center in Carrollton and the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Prasad decided to pursue his master’s degree in healthcare management at UT Dallas in order to extend his expertise in the medical field. Receiving a college ring alongside his daughter was a moment he never expected.
“When you see the ring, it’s a proud moment,” Prasad said.
For Nikita, who was inspired by her dad to study healthcare management, the ring symbolizes not only her academic accomplishments, but also the personal journey she traveled as a college student.
“I grew so much, and I just wanted something to remember my experience here,” Nikita said.