President McConnell's class ring from 1969.

President McConnell’s class ring from 1969.

College of Charleston President Glenn F. McConnell ’69 has proudly worn his class ring since he graduated from the College 46 years ago.

Like many CofC alumni who graduated prior to 1995, McConnell’s class ring was custom-designed. McConnell’s ring is gold with a black onyx stone featuring the Greek letters of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, etched on top.

In 1995, the Alumni Association adopted a single, official design for the College of Charleston ring, basing it on class rings belonging to the College’s first female graduate, Pierrine Smith Byrd ’22, and her husband George Byrd ’21. The College had received the couple’s CofC memorabilia, including their rings, as a gift in the mid-1990s.

The official College of Charleston class ring adopted in 1995.

The official College of Charleston class ring adopted in 1995 displays the seal of the College, which includes Latin phrases that translate to: “Wisdom Itself Is Liberty” and “She watches over her buildings, her customs and her laws.”

As the first alumni president of the College in more than 100 years, McConnell was asked by Dan Ravenel ’72, president of the College of Charleston Alumni Association, and Jack Huguley ’72, then-director of Alumni Relations, to wear the official College ring. McConnell happily obliged and bought a new ring, which he began wearing recently.

Many students will join McConnell in receiving their class rings when they participate in the College of Charleston Ring Ceremony on Dec. 8, 2015, at Sottile Theatre. The event will include remarks from College officials about the history and significance of the ring and a question for students to ponder – “What will the ring mean to you?” – as they graduate and move through their lives as alumni.