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VMI Foundation Establishes Memorial Ring Program

In November 2011, the Brother Rats of the Class of 2013 passed a major milestone in their cadetships when they received their class rings and celebrated the events of Ring Figure weekend. For any alumnus, Ring Figure Weekend will be one of the more memorable of his or her time in Barracks, and the VMI class ring will be among his or her most prized possessions.

So high is the value that VMI alumni place on their rings that, after the death of an alumnus, a class ring often becomes a cherished family keepsake. There are situations, however, in which a class ring may have little or no significance to the family of an alumnus.

At the urging of a number of alumni from the Class of 1963, therefore, the VMI Foundation began to explore ways by which alumni and their families could gift their class rings or those of their relatives respectively to a fund that would assist cadets with the purchase of their rings.  Beginning on February 1, 2012, therefore, the VMI Foundation commenced the Memorial Ring Program.

In the program, alumni and families are able to donate unwanted class rings to the VMI Foundation, which will, in turn, send the rings to a firm that recovers precious metals. In the next step, the firm will establish the value of the ring’s gold (as well as any precious and semi-precious stones) and pay the Foundation that amount. The Foundation deposits that money into a restricted account, the Memorial Ring Fund, that is dedicated solely to defray the cost of a cadet’s class ring and distributes it in coordination with the Office of Cadet Life.

The Memorial Ring Program compliments the VMI Foundation’s long-standing program that gives each cadet $100 toward the purchase of his or her class ring, an effort that has proved popular with cadets. “This new program is an excellent companion to our already established means of supporting class ring purchases,” said Brian Scott Crockett, CEO of the VMI Foundation. “Not only does it have the potential to increase alumni assistance to cadets as they make such an important purchase, it also will further highlight the fact that alumni place great store in helping those who follow them into Barracks.”

For more information on the Memorial Ring Program, please contact its administrator, Chris Martin ’10, the VMI Foundation’s Assistant Director of Annual and Reunion Giving, at 1-800/444-1839 or cmartin@vmiaa.org.