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The Ring Ceremony: A Military School Tradition

The class ring is a symbol of the bond between classmates and loyalty to the military school. The Randolph-Macon Academy family, including cadets, teachers, staff, alumni, and parents, gathered in Boggs Chapel on Monday, March 24, 2014 for the 12th Annual Ring Ceremony. Ring ceremonies are a time-honored tradition at military schools throughout the U.S., and for the cadets receiving rings on Monday, that sense of tradition permeated the very air. 

Major General Maury Forsyth, USAF Retired, deviated from the planned script to share a recollection of R-MA Alumni Robert DeGise ’44, who sent his ring to the Academy: 

“I want to tell you about a gentlemen who received his ring 71 years ago… 71 years ago, he got this ring and it was only eight months after he graduated when he wore this ring as he hit the beaches of Iwo Jima.  Eight months…he was 19 years old.  He wore this ring for 59 years; and when he sent this ring to us–he said this in a letter: ‘My ring has an interesting history.  It was on my  finger on February 19, when we landed on the beach at Iwo Jima.  Several days later, I remember asking my buddy to send my ring to my mother if I were killed.  Shortly after that a mortar shell hit outside our foxhole, and the both of us almost perished.’ This ring you are about to be given today upholds these foundational values of Knowledge, Character, and Leadership that will stand the test of time.”

DeGise’s ring is now on display in Forsyth’s office. 

Other guest speakers at the ceremony included Alumni Association President Scarlett H. Kibler ’89 and Alumni Association Vice President R. Kyle McDaniel ’07, as well as current students Jonathan Moore ’14 and Roop Atwal ’15. 

The ring recipients included juniors Roop Atwal, John Camarella, James Christoph, Jacob Dodson, Amy Gray, Rebel Hafner, Cole Johnston, Masho Mekonnen, Alexandra Roy, and Sam White. Each year the junior class selects an honorary member, and this year’s honoree was Lt Col Barry Sebring, USAF Retired. 

Jonathan Pederson '15 contributed to this article.