University Students, Alumni Receive Rings

  • To conclude the ceremony, participants dunked their rings in the reflecting pools on the University mall, symbolically covering themselves and their rings with UT Dallas pride.

Students and alumni celebrated Comet pride as they donned UT Dallas rings for the first time in the annual spring ring ceremony. 

“This ring signifies how proud and grateful I am to be a Comet,” Stefani Padron BA’17 said.

Family, friends, professors, staff and supporters filled the lecture hall in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, and emotional words poured out in multiple languages, with the ceremony participants speaking directly to audience members who played a role in their academic journeys.

“Tonight I would like to thank my parents for working tirelessly to ensure that they could invest in my education and to enable me to come to my dream school, which is UT Dallas,” said Alexis Longoria, who is expected to graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. “I am thankful every day to be a Comet … Whoosh!”

Jesus Mendez, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics, recognized his family and friends for their constant support.

“I am who I am because of you all,” he said. “Gracias, mi familia.”

Waving to her daughters in the audience, Elaine Torres BA’17 thanked her “little girls” as she prepared for the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication commencement ceremony later in the week.

“You are my greatest achievements,” she said, “but what’s going to happen to me on Thursday rings a close second.”

Featured alumni speaker Jonathan Bucio BS’14, a systems administrator at Experian, offered advice to ring recipients.

“My ring is a constant reminder of my UT Dallas experience as a whole … even going to class,” he said. “I will always be extremely grateful for everything UT Dallas has given me.”

My ring is a constant reminder of my UT Dallas experience as a whole … even going to class. I will always be extremely grateful for everything UT Dallas has given me.

Jonathan Bucio BS’14

Rings were presented by Dr. Andrew Blanchard, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, and Dr. Marion Underwood, associate provost and dean of graduate studies.

“This is the beginning of a wonderful set of ceremonies that happen this week,” Blanchard said. “We are really excited you chose to finish your degree here.”

After the presentation of the rings, ceremony participants adjourned to the reflecting pools on the North Mall to take part in the traditional dunking of the rings, ceremoniously covering themselves with UT Dallas water and University pride.

“This ring to me is proof of everything [my parents] always told me,” Thomas White BS’17 said. “If I set my mind to something, I can accomplish it.”

Comet Effects

The UTD ring in fake moon dirt

The UT Dallas ring features the letters “UTD” on the top, which identifies the wearer as a graduate. One side emphasizes the University’s Texas heritage, displaying the state flag matched with a lone star and crossed by the UT Dallas Comet. The degree received is also designated. The other side includes the seal of The University of Texas System, the year of UT Dallas’ founding, 1969, and the year of the wearer’s graduation.

Ring Rituals

On the eve of the ceremony, the rings are enclosed with equipment used in space provided by physics professor Dr. John Hoffman, in a box that geosciences professor emeritus Dr. James Carter built using wood sourced from the original Founders Building.

The rings are surrounded by Carter’s lunar regolith simulant, or fake moon dirt, before spending the night in the office of the president. Carter, the world’s foremost expert on simulated moon dirt, created a process for manufacturing the fake variety after the first trip to the moon. Hoffman developed equipment that more recently enabled the detection of water on Mars.

After receiving their rings, recipients dunk their rings in a reflecting pool on the University mall to ceremoniously cover themselves and their rings with UT Dallas pride.

Learn More

See how each unique ring is produced, learn how to purchase a UT Dallas ring and view more photos from the ceremony.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].