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More Than 80 Friends Help Class Of '18 Aggie Get Her Ring

Caitlin "Cait" Shields '11 February 20, 2018 12:23 PM updated: February 21, 2018 8:08 AM

Nina Matheney '18 poses at the Haynes Ring Plaza after ordering her Aggie Ring.

Nina Matheney ’18 got a pleasant surprise when her cousin Austin Blaney ’02 told her that not only was she going to be given the funds for her Aggie Ring, but that more than 80 people—most of them strangers—had banded together to make it happen.

“I called [Austin] to ask how important it was that I get my Aggie Ring right when I graduated because I’m super hard up for money right now with graduation,” the dental hygiene major at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry said. “I asked if I can just get it later and he said, yeah you could but it’d be beneficial right when you graduate.”

But after paying for her last semester of tuition and with dental board exams coming up, Matheney said a Ring wasn’t in her budget.

“I had every intention of paying for the Ring, I just couldn’t do it right this minute,” she said.

That’s when Blaney and 81 of his closest friends stepped in.

“Myself and my sister {Erin Ragsdale ’01} are both first-generation Aggies," he said. "Both of us have tons of friends in college who were Aggies.” 

After talking to Matheney about how having an Aggie Ring can possibly help when searching for a job, he decided to reach out on Facebook to fellow Aggies, parents of Aggies and anyone he knew who had a connection to A&M.

“It was wildly more successful than I thought it was going to be," he said. "I didn’t know we were going to pay for it and more. We raised half the money before lunch that first day and wound up with about $100 extra that we’re giving to her. 

“I wanted it to be able to benefit her from the jump, to be something that gets her plugged into the Aggie Network right from the jump and not have to wait for it,” Blaney said of why he wanted Matheney to get her Ring while still a student.

Austin Blaney '02 shows off his Aggie Ring on the Haynes Ring Plaza.

For her part, Matheney said she was amazed by the generosity shown to her and plans to pay it forward.

“This is why I wanted to be an Aggie, this is why I wanted the Ring,” she said. “My mom just said pay it forward. Every single one of those pennies [I would have spent on mine] will just go to someone else’s Aggie Ring. I love that that’s what this stands for.”

Want to help an Aggie get their Ring? Visit to learn how.

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