The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 23.0°F | Overcast

Class of 1996 Ring Unveiled

By Amy I. Hsu
Staff Reporter

About 350 sophomores turned out for the Class of 1996 ring premiere held in Walker Memorial on Tuesday night.

In a departure from the traditional walk-in affairs in the Bush Room, this year's premiere featured a slide show and formal presentation on the ring design. Each member of the ring committee presented some of the specific characteristics which makes the '96 ring unique.

The ring features a "kinder, gentler beaver, because of the friendliness of our class," said Jason P. Fiorello '96, one of the committee members. "He's also holding a diploma, something we all look forward to."

The year 96 is hidden in the rocks on one bank of the river, and the year 71, the sophomores' buddy class, is hidden in the opposite bank. The Athena owl also makes an appearance on the face of the ring.

The seal side of the ring contains the traditional "Mens et Manus" motto, but with a few subtle differences. Instead of a hammer, one of the men holds a gavel, to symbolize MIT's trip to the courtroom in the Overlap antitrust lawsuit.

The lamp of knowledge, which sits between the two men, has a flame in the shape of a 96. Beneath the motto is the Harvard Bridge, which "represents all the time we spent in transit to MIT," explained Michael Cho '96, another committee member.

The Roman numerals CXXIX are inscribed underneath the bridge, since the class will be the 129th to graduate from MIT.

Bird's-eye view of dome

The class side of the ring shows a bird's-eye view of the Great Dome, similar to last year's, "because we liked the idea of looking down on MIT," said Anne T. Heibel '96, ring committee chair.

The columns of the building hide a double helix, which represents both the record number of sophomores majoring in biology and the recent Nobel Prize awarded to Professor of Biology Phillip A. Sharp. The columns also contain a dollar sign, representing both money spent and future money to be earned.

An MIT seal, with a "nuts and bolts" look, is inscribed in a globe beneath the year 1996. This represents "the impact our class may someday have on the world," said committee member Patricia H. M. Hahn '96.

The globe is held by two hands, one male and dark-skinned, one female and light-skinned, to symbolize diversity and racial and gender equality.

This year's committee chose Artcarved to design the MIT ring, because "we decided we wanted a lot of detail on the ring. We figured Artcarved would be the one to go with," said committee member Diane T. Melo '96.

Cho agreed that Artcarved's designs featured "extraordinary detailing, and their artistry was awesome."

Committee pleased

Overall, the committee members were very pleased with both the ring and the premiere. Shawn K. Kelly '96 said he was "really impressed with the turnout."

"I'm really excited about the ring; I feel that it represents our class very well," Heibel said. "It was great to work on a committee that's responsible for something that so many people will wear for the rest of their lives."

Ring committee member Jonora K. Jones '96 said, "After so many months of preparation, finally seeing the end result was great. I liked being able to work with so many people in my class that I might never have met."

Cho said that during the design process, the 14 committee members devoted several hours each week to working with the Artcarved artists.

Students reviewing the final ring design had mixed reactions. Andrew B. Begel '96 said, "I didn't think the buddy class was a particularly interesting thing to put on our ring, but the [Massachusetts Avenue] bridge is cool. It ties in the fraternities to the rest of the campus."

Karen W. Lai '96 commented, "I think [the committee] put a lot of work into [the ring]. It looks really nice."

Alok B. Shah '96 felt that this year's beaver "is mean compared to [the Class of '94's]. It's eating the diploma."

Kelly K. Yeh '96 said "[the beaver] looks kind of possessed," but added that she would purchase a ring anyway. "After spending so many years here, you want something to show for it, besides a diploma."

Rolf J. Rando '96 said he would be buying a ring for "Status. My VI-A interviewers were all wearing their rings, and it made them seem more commanding and important."

Committee members included sophomores Cho, Nicole J. Digenis, Fiorillo, Hahn, Heibel, Jones, Kelly, Tina L. Lin, Melo, Carrie R. Muh, Daniel J. Paluska, Nilesh M. Reshamwala, Matthew J. Turner, Jonathan Y. Wickham.