Dottie putting ring on student at Ring Day 2017

The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College ring is an enduring symbol that incorporates our proud traditions with one’s memorable educational experience. The ring is more than just a piece of jewelry, it is the single, most recognizable image of the College. It honors academic success and sacrifice while demonstrating the pride and loyalty we all share. This distinctive ring is a powerful reminder of personal growth and unforgettable friendships. It represents a tangible bond linking generations of alumni and students to its beloved Woods.

The top of the ring displays a deep black onyx and gold.  On the rectangular onyx stone is carved an SMW emblem.  Along its side of the gold is an oak leaf base, six acorns representing the college’s founders and the class year. The oak represents strength, knowledge and durability of character. With its distinctive design, only SMWC students and alumni have the privilege of wearing the Ring.

When one receives the ring as an undergraduate, it is worn with the logo facing the heart to inspire and motivate continued academic achievement. Upon graduation, as new alumni move the tassel on their caps from left to right, rings are turned so that the SMW faces outward. The ring then becomes visible for the world to see the SMW and that you are forever connected to The Woods.

There is no tradition at SMWC that is greater than that of Ring Day. In this highly anticipated and moving ceremony at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on campus, qualified students receive their rings. During this ceremony the ring recipients will sing the “Ring Song”. This has been an important tradition since the class of 1962 composed the song. You earn participation in the ceremony through academic success in your junior year at SMWC, or for graduate students, when you are three-quarters of the way toward completion of your degree.

The annual ceremony occurs in March of your junior year. The exclusive ring is only available to juniors who have earned at least 24 credit hours at SMWC and are currently in their 90th credit hour.

The History of The Ring

Students Margaret Williams Mead ‘22, and Dorothy Helm Geisel ‘23 designed the ring in 1922. They worked with Herff Jones Jewelers to create the perfect ring. It was first given to the seniors in 1922. Since the ring was intertwined with academic achievement, students wore caps and gowns to receive their rings. They continue to do so to this day.

From 1923-28 only seniors were eligible to receive the rings. However, in 1929 juniors were granted the opportunity to receive the ring as long as they met the academic requirement. Ever since, it has evolved into a cherished tradition for the junior class.

The Ring Song

Whose Woods these are, I think I know.
Her love will always be with us below.
Her ring we take, of us a part,
Encircling fingers young ’round her heart.
I pledge to her, a ring to keep,
Like Woods is lovely, dark and deep.
And I have promises and miles to go.
And I have promises and miles to go.

The bells of Saint Mary’s I hear they are calling,
The young loves, the true loves that come from the sea.
And so my beloved, when red leaves are falling,
the love bells shall ring out, ring out for you and me.

Lost Rings

Have you lost your ring? For alumni who need a lost or damaged ring replaced, please contact the SMWC Bookstore at 812-535-5228.

Legacy Ring Program

We know your SMWC ring is one of your prized possessions, a reminder of your academic success and bond to The Woods. Share it with future alums! The Legacy Ring program was established so SMWC rings could be passed on to the next generation.