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SMWC has record Ring Day with 147 recipients

News | 04.13.2024

With a record 147 ring recipients, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) held two ring ceremonies in the Harvey Auditorium in the Conservatory of Music on Saturday, April 13, for Ring Day 2024.

Receiving a Woods Ring is an emotional experience, but this year served with great significance and evidence of the future. The 2024 ceremony marks the 102nd year of Ring Day. Hope McGuire, Junior class president, shared that their class was honored to hold such a significant role in the tradition.

Interim President Brennan J. Randolph, MBA, presents a Woods Ring to a campus student during the Ring Day Ceremony

“It has been exciting to see the growth at The Woods, which resulted in a record number of rings being distributed this year. Being a part of the very first Ring Day ceremony in the historic Harvey Auditorium made for a great experience to celebrate the day with our friends and family,” McGuire said.

The theme of this year’s ceremony was Grow your roots, Extend your branches. The theme symbolizes the growth that each recipient has made during their time at the college and gives hope for each student to soar in the future beyond SMWC.

After the ceremony, recipients presented flowers to family members or friends in attendance to express their appreciation for support during their journey as students.

Lillie Gendel

Lillie Gendel, a current mathematics major at SMWC, was thrilled to take the next step in her Woods journey by receiving the Woods Ring that belonged to her great-aunt, the late Jeanne Knoerle, SP, ’49, emerita president of SMWC, who served as president of the College from 1968-1983. “It was a very emotional and special day. The weight of the ring is a reminder of my aunt’s presence here with me.”

Lucia Fruchtenicht

Lucia Fruchtenicht was thrilled about receiving her ring. “The ceremony is a testament to the dedication that we as students have for our academics and the connections that we have all made to one another and to the College. It is such a great way to commemorate our accomplishments. The ring is a great symbol of what I have been able to do here at The Woods.”

Trent Deckard

Trent Deckard, a member of the first Ph.D. cohort to receive their Woods Ring, shared that today will forever be a treasured memory of his time at The Woods. “The day was breathtaking, and it resonated with every part of my experience. I have never felt such a connection to my learning in my life,” Deckard said.

Paige Strange

For Paige Strange, a Woods Online student, today brought new meaning and a strong connection to SMWC. “I felt accomplished when I received my ring. It is just another step in completing my education. This ring makes me proud to be at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.”

Interim President Brennan J. Randolph, MBA, commented about Ring Day, “It is so rewarding to present these students with this iconic symbol of academic achievement. I am blessed to be a part of the biggest Ring Day in the history of the College and to award rings to this group of very deserving recipients.”

Students Margaret Williams Mead, class of 1922, and Dorothy Helm Geisel, class of 1923, designed the ring in 1922. The students partnered with Herff Jones Jewelers to create the perfect ring. It was first given to seniors in 1922, and in 1928, juniors were granted the opportunity to receive a ring. Since the ring was intertwined with academic achievement, students wore caps and gowns to receive their rings and continue to do so to this day.