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Class Ring Design Looks toward Past For Inspiration

By May K. Tse

The design of the 1998 Brass Rat class ring was unveiled last night at an event which filled Morse Hall in Walker Memorial.

Door prizes were awarded to the first 98 people, and one student was awarded a free Brass Rat by lottery. Chair of the Faculty and Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Lawrence S. Bacow and President Charles M. Vest were among those present.

New Design Echoes Past Years

The theme of Class of 1998 Brass Rat, "It's a Classic," stems primarily from the resemblance between Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" and the beaver featured on the top of the ring.

"We developed the symbolism of the Brass Rat through many meetings with a great deal of brainstorming," said Daniel A. Freedman '98, chairman of the sophomore ring committee.

The ring also borrows elements from class rings of several decades ago. The shanks, or sides, of the ring do not have full rails, a style which "goes back to earlier Brass Rats of the '40s, '50s, '60s, and early '70s," Freedman said. The committee chose this feature in order to increase the area to provide better detailing.

The ring also features the classic Boston skylines and the mens et manus ("Mind and Hand") MIT motto, as well as a depiction of the Great Dome and Killian Court.

One new feature on the ring is the image of the goddess Athena, an item which has never before appeared on a Brass Rat.

"We as a committee wanted to go back to the simpler rings of the past, and we liked the cleaner, less cluttered designs," said Jennifer A. McCormick '98, co-chair of the ring committee. "We noticed that several rings had the Athena owl, and we decided what would be more classic than the actual Athena?"

Hidden Images Still Present

Following tradition, the ring has a number of hidden images. "We admit that there are hidden images on the ring but we're not going to disclose them," McCormick said. "I think those are secrets for the Class of 1998 to try to find them out themselves."

Regarding the hidden images, McCormick also noted, "as a committee, we were just sitting around trying to discuss what embodied the Class of 1998 and we started brainstorming over what we felt were the characteristics of the class."

The eight-person committee was formed last spring and began work on the ring's design the first week of the term.

As their work comes to an end, Freedman said, "Ihope all class members find the same pride in owning and wearing their Brass Rat as we have discovered in creating it and imbuing it with ideals of heroism, fortitude, and integrity."