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Aggie Ring Surprise

Stephanie Cannon '06 February 12, 2014 3:34 PM

By Roberto Molar Candanosa '13

The Aggie Ring is a tradition of symbolism. It is Aggie Spirit, excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service—all on one finger. Thousands of young Aggies look forward to Ring Day, when they can finally pick up a well-deserved Ring of their own. Yet, for one reason or another, not all Aggies are able to get this precious piece of Aggie lore. Kyle McClannan ’08 was one of them until recently. 

McClannan worked as a vendor for Cintas Corporation. He went into a sales meeting at New Tech Global, a Houston-based engineering firm with several Aggie employees. Once there he noticed the company’s different awards, such as an Aggie 100 banner that Texas A&M gave them for their fast-growing consultancy services in oil and gas. Receptionist Darlynn Cherry saw McClannan’s obvious excitement when he learned he was walking into an Aggie business. After talking, McClannan’s genuineness and passion for Aggie football impressed Cherry, but she noticed he was not wearing an Aggie Ring. When she asked him about it, McClannan told her he never got a chance to buy a Ring. He had paid his way through college and never had the money to afford one. 

Cherry is a mom of two Aggies and fully aware of the Ring’s significance, so she was troubled to learn that a young, charismatic and passionate Aggie like McClannan never got his Ring. She sent out an email to all the Aggies in the office asking whether they would pitch in to buy McClannan his Ring. It was a matter of minutes before the Aggies of New Tech Global raised the funds. The order for McClannan’s Ring was placed, and, in August 2013, the Ring arrived at the office. The next step was to get McClannan to go back to the office without suspecting the big surprise. Rob Williams ’05, one of the Aggies at New Tech Global, called McClannan back for a second “sales” meeting. He was very specific: he wanted to see only McClannan and no one else. But months had passed since McClannan had visited New Tech Global for the first time. He had moved to a different department in his job at Cintas and felt it was strange that Williams was so determined to see him again. They went back and forth several times before McClannan finally decided to go to visit New Tech Global again. 

The day of the meeting came and McClannan arrived at the building still completely oblivious to what was to come. “I had no idea, they totally pulled a rope-a-dope on me,” he said. The Aggies at New Tech Global introduced themselves along with their Class year. McClannan was confused; he thought he was about to go into a job interview. “They are really putting me through a pressure cooker here for a first time interview,” he thought. Then he heard New Tech Global’s president, Larry Cress ’76, say the company had come together as an Aggie family to get him a Ring. McClannan was already shocked, but he still did not know what was about to happen. “I thought maybe they would give me some certificate I could put towards my Ring,” he said. Then they handed him a Ring of perfect size and engraved with his name and Class. He was completely dumbfounded: “I was so shocked that I couldn’t even give them a gig ’em—I could not get my thumb up,” he explained.

Now McClannan wears his Ring proudly, thanks to the family of Aggies at New Tech Global. It is a symbol of pride that he never wants to lose. He is infinitely thankful with New Tech Global for kindling his own Aggie Spirit with this gesture, especially because they did not know him. He also hopes to fulfill New Tech Global’s request of him: that in the future he pass on the gesture to another Aggie in financial hardship. McClannan hopes to do what they asked of him because he wants to help Aggies and inspire others to do the same. 

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