The Association has five separate collections of Aggie Rings on display at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center.
The Josh Sterns '99 Collection and Memorial Ring Collection, with at least one Ring representing each Class, are displayed together on the Neely Mezzanine and serve as a lasting memorial in celebration of the Ring owners’ lives and as a tribute to all the members of each represented Class.
The idea was first had by J.B. “Josh” Sterns, Class of 1899, when he decided to collect one Aggie Ring from each Class from 1899 to 1964. His journey began in 1963 when he wrote over 4,000 letters in the span of three years asking former students to donate their Aggie Rings to be part of a permanent collection. In return, they were allowed to order a replacement Ring.
After collecting all the Class years from The A&M College of Texas, Sterns said, "It'll have to be up to someone else to collect the Senior Class Rings from Texas A&M University." On his 92nd birthday, Jan. 15, 1970, he presented his collection to The Association of Former Students for permanent display. There are still former students living today whose rings are part of the Sterns Ring Collection.
One Ring in the Memorial Collection.
The Association continues Josh's great legacy by accepting one Aggie Ring for each Class year. Rings from 1965 to present are part of the the Memorial Ring Collection and have been donated by loved ones of a deceased member of our Aggie family. The only exception is the Class of 1995, when a husband and wife, both Class of '95, were killed in an automobile accident. Their Aggie Rings are displayed together.
An 1890 Ring, among the oldest Aggie Rings known to exist, was donated, and is now displayed with the Sterns Collection, by an Aggie who happened upon it on Etsy. Read that story here. Jack Leonard '52, a retired Dallas dentist, donated a Class of 1898 Aggie Ring that had belonged to W.E. Crow. Read that story and see photos of that 1898 Ring at tx.ag/1898Ring.
The Rings of Special Significance Collection, which is displayed with the Sterns and Memorial collections, includes notable Rings or the Rings of notable Aggies, such as those worn by James Earl Rudder ’32 and Ormond R. Simpson ’36.
When Bonfire fell in 1999, more than 30 Aggie Rings were left in tribute at the flagpole near the place where the Bonfire Memorial now stands. Using the engraved names on the inside of the Rings, all were returned to their owners—all except one. The name inside this Class of 1983 Ring had been removed and, therefore, the Ring could not be returned. Since then, this Ring has served as a lasting reminder of the unbreakable bond between Aggies. It is on display in the collection of Rings of Special Significance.
The Polly Wiseman Franklin ’86 Ring Collection showcases various Aggie Rings on a rotation of about three months in the Aggie Ring Program office. The collection was established in 2003 by Patricia and Charles Wiseman ’57 in honor of their daughter.
One of the Rings from the Polly Wiseman Franklin ’86 Ring Collection.
The Corregidor Aggie Ring Collection features Rings from Aggies who were present for the Corregidor Muster of 1942, the Corregidor Muster of 1946, or who fought in defense of Corregidor or Bataan.
If you are interested in donating a Ring to a collection, email AggieNetwork@AggieNetwork.com.
You can view all of The Association’s collections by visiting the Williams Alumni Center Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For holiday and gameday hours of operation, call 979-845-7514 or visit here.
READ MORE AGGIE RING HISTORY
In 2014, as part of the 125th anniversary of the Aggie Ring, The Association published a story highlighting the evolution of the Aggie Ring's design over the years: "Symbols of History, Engraved in Gold" (pdf).
The maintenance and care of these collections is supported by generous donations to The Association. To support The Association in this and many other endeavors, consider giving back at tx.ag/Give.