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1999 Class Ring Premiers at Walker Ceremony

By Brett Altschul
Associate News Editor

The Class of 1999's class ring premiered Saturday in a well-attended ceremony in Walker Memorial. The ring committee presented the various elements of the ring's design in turn and showed off a new element in the design of this year's Brass Rat - a map of MIT inside the band.

Corina Serna '99, the chair of the ring committee, said that the map on the underside was "something very unique, something really significant."

The two wings of the main group buildings resembled nines, one normal and one mirror image, said the committee's vice chair Joel M. Rosenberg '99. "They gave us a dyslexic 99," he added.

"They found a new spot on the ring that hasn't been used," said Robert J. Quinn, a representative from Jostens, the company manufacturing the ring this year. Although this ring was more complex than past years' rings, there was no real down side to making the rings this way, Quinn said. "You lose a little area for the signature."

Hidden messages surround beaver

The front of this year's ring bore the traditional beaver perched on a piece of wood, but this year the beaver was flanked by a great deal of hidden writing.

The ring face's lower left corner is home to many of these hidden figures. The number 99 is intertwined with a 74, in honor of the Class of 1974's position as the buddy class to the Class of 1999. The leaves of a flower form a 42, the percentage of women in the Class of 1999 and the highest percentage ever at MIT.

Above the beaver, a grove of trees form the well-known slogan "IHTFP." Below the trunks, ripples on the surface of a pond from another 99.

In addition to the writing, the top of the ring features the owl, symbol of the goddess Athena silhouetted against the moon.

Serna said that the writing on the ring did not distract from the main design, since it wouldn't be noticed on a casual inspection. "Someone who doesn't go to MIT wouldn't see the IHTFP,'" she said.

The sides of the ring are more traditional. The seal side depicts a globe and interlocked hands symbolizing unity in front of the MIT seal and its motto mens et manus ("Mind and Hand").

The class side features the MIT nuts and bolts crest, with the crossbar in the form of the Harvard Bridge, connecting the Boston and Cambridge skylines. A frieze runs along the band, connecting the two sides.

The committee added a sailboat and two sculls to the Boston skyline, to remind students of what they see when gazing over the river. "We wanted to show what the Charles [River] really looks like to students," Serna said.

Ring strikes individual tone

Representatives from Jostens will take orders every day this week in Lobby 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Student response to the design appeared positive as students lined up in Lobby 10 to place orders. "I like the hidden side - the little things that make our class ring unique," said Janet J. Chieh '99. "I think it's cool."

Serna said that the committee had heard from a lot of students that the this year's ring should not be like the one for the Class of 1998, which featured a beaver in the pose of Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker." However, that did not feature in the process of designing the ring, she said.

"We put all pictures of '98 away," she said. "We put all pictures of other years away. We wanted to design our own ring."