The two-ring tradition of Purdue
The University of Purdue has a rich history of traditions so it’s only fitting that the official ring should be equally remarkable. And instead of just one ring, Purdue actually has two: a signet style and a traditional style.
The simple yet striking signet ring captures the essence of Purdue with a front facing griffin and shield. The griffin, which also appears on the University seal, symbolizes strength. The shield is separated into three parts which represent the aims of Purdue: education, research and service. The shanks of the ring feature imagery recognizable to any Boilermaker alumni. The left side depicts the spire of University Hall, the oldest building on campus. The right side of the ring proudly portrays the tower of the Purdue Memorial Union.
The traditional ring features a black onyx stone with an engraved motion “P”. The right shank features the famous griffin and University song titled “Hail Purdue” beside the recipient’s graduation year, while the left side reveals the Boilermaker Special in front of the Bell Tower and beside the Purdue Drum.
This drum, which stands 10-feet-tall and was built in 1921 for $800 ($11,000 by 2018 standards), has been deemed the world’s largest drum. Over the decades, it has been stolen by rivals and played by presidents.
The Bell Tower was built in 1995, funded through a gift by the class of 1948. The four bells housed within date back to 1895, where they chimed atop the rebuilt Heavilon Hall Tower until it’s demolition in 1956. For nearly 40 years the bells were confined to storage until the university sought to put them atop the colossal 160ft tower. A time capsule rests below the tower and is set to be opened in 2095.
After 70 years without a mascot, a student letter to the campus paper led to the creation of the campus mascot known as the Boilermaker Special. The Boilermaker Special is a vehicle outfitted to resemble a 19th century steam engine train. The original Boilermaker Special was presented in 1940 and features a headlamp slated with the number 074041. The “07” refers to the construction of the body, while the “40” and “41” give nod to the classes and clubs that donated time and money to the construction of the Boilermaker Special.
These three quintessential traditions are proudly displayed in a ring that encapsulates what it truly means to be a Boilermaker.