VMI Class Rings
A Digital Exhibit from the VMI Archives

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The presentation of a VMI class ring, and the formal dance known as Ring Figure that marks the occasion, takes place in November of the Second Class (Junior) year. The event represents an important milestone in the life of a cadet, second only to graduation in importance. Each class is responsible for designing a unique ring, which incorporates symbols significant to the group. The elaborate Ring Figure tradition known to today's cadets dates to the 1920's; prior to that time, rings were received in a much more informal setting. Although VMI opened in 1839 and the first cadets graduated in 1842, the earliest cadets did not receive VMI rings. The first ring was designed by members of the Class of 1848 and was presented to graduates during Finals celebrations. Class members paid five dollars for the ring, a large sum in the mid-nineteenth century.
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