A Ring that Binds Them: The Providence College Class Ring

The Friar Family has held the class ring tradition close to their hearts since 1960. Today, over 400 students receive a class ring each year that signifies their bond to their alma mater. The Providence College official ring represents what students and alumni cannot put into words. It signifies their achievements, community, and pride in their alma mater. It evokes personal memories of traditions and is a tangible piece that binds all Providence College students and alumni.

History of the Ring Tradition

The class ring tradition at Providence College class ring dates back to the 1960s. Ring designs change from year to year, but the long-standing tradition has remained steady. Historically, the college celebrated the delivery of the rings with Junior Ring Weekend, better known then as JRW. A series of events—planned by the began at the end of a students’ sophomore year with a Ring Premiere and ended with a ring blessing mass. JRW epitomized a student’s junior year at Providence College. Todd Incantupolo, Providence College alumnus, former staff member and current Balfour Representative said he has witnessed students hesitate studying abroad in fear that they would miss their ring ceremony.

“Juniors who were out of the country would fly back to Providence just to attend the ceremony,” Incantalupo said.

Kathryn Treadway, author of Providence College: Prowler Off the Record, writes that every student looked forward to JRW. They stress over finding a date and know what they will wear since freshman year.

The Tradition Continues

Now in 2018, the weekend is known as Senior Ring Weekend (SRW) and allows for those studying abroad to attend without flying back to the states. The weekend is planned by the SRW Core Committee which is selected two years prior to the event. Eligible sophomores who are not studying abroad during their junior year submit applications which are then reviewed by the Class President, Director of Student Activities, and the current SRW Core Chair. The selection committee then interviews the students and chooses the committee based on campus commitment. SRW Core are tasked with planning the three-day event, as well as the design and promotion of the ring collection unique to the class. Three distinct events distinguish the Providence College Ring Week. The weekend begins with a Semi-Formal on campus Friday night where the SRW Core transforms the Field House with help from outside vendors who provide bars, décor, catering and entertainment. The signature ring event of the weekend takes place on Saturday night with at an off-campus, secret location the Core selects. Seniors and their guests dress in black-tie apparel and are bussed to the location. The weekend closes on Sunday with a blessing of the rings. In the college’s chapel, Providence College’s president, a Dominican Friar, leads a mass centered around the rings and junior students. Following the mass, the rings are presented to students.

Ring Design and Significance

When it comes to planning SRW and designing the class ring, Devon Guanci, Class of 2019’s SRW Core Chair, says it is important to have a diverse team of students with different upbringing, academic and extracurricular interests, and likes and dislikes, to produce a special experience for the class of 2019. Guanci walks through the class-specific elements of the 2019 ring design:

Providence Ring diagram

1. The Chapel - An important symbol of our Catholic and Dominican identity in academics and student life

2. Providence College Gates - These gates mark the entrance at Providence College. The gates represent the entrance to new experiences and exit to old memories. The “F” in Friars represents freshman and the “S” represents senior, which displays our four years here.

3. 19 Bushes - There are 19 bushes around the rotary, further promoting our class year.

4. Flame - The Calabria Flame was introduced during the student’s junior year as a new landmark on campus, transforming the lawn on campus.

5. Ruane Center for the Humanities - Every student who attends PC takes 2 years of Development of Western Civilization, which is the one academic course that unites students as Friars.

6. Friar Head - the friar head is our recognizable logo which is featured on the uniforms of the college’s D1 athletic teams and signifies their strong school spirit.

7. Rotary - The rotary symbolizes all the different routes students can take throughout their experience at Providence College and beyond.

8. Huxley the Dalmatian - PC celebrated its 100-year anniversary last year, and the original mascot was reintroduced. Huxley was named after Huxley Ave, which is a street that used to cut through campus. PC purchased this road and made this street a pedestrian walkway, integrating upper and lower campus during recent campus transformation initiatives.

Devon’s committee, like the SRW Cores before hers, works hand-in-hand with their peers to introduce this special tradition and increase interest in SRW. Every year they see a surge in interest, according to Guanci. Approximately 1,000–1,200 people attend the weekend of events every year.

“At a small school like Providence College, we pride ourselves on having an especially tight-knit community (often referred to as the Friar Family),” Guanci said. “The ring tradition is a way in which we are connected to each other within our class, as well as with Friars from other years. We hope to grow the tradition and include more students as we truly want every student to celebrate their time at Providence College.”