Balfour – WPI Ring Ceremony
“WPI’s ring ceremony is one of the University’s many rich traditions. Each element of the event, including the days leading up to it, is steeped in WPI tradition and lore.
The rings are carried across WPI’s Earle Bridge, a procession that is symbolic of the walk that each freshman class has taken together upon their arrival on campus, walking toward WPI’s treasured “Two Towers,” the campus’s first buildings and the physical representations of the school’s “Theory and Practice” moto, signifying the beginning of their WPI education. The rings, after processing across the bridge, spend one night in each of the towers. On the day of the ceremony, the rings are carried back across Earle Bridge in the opposite direction, just as each graduating class does on their way to Commencement exercises.
For many years now, the ring ceremony has been held in Alden Memorial, WPI’s first auditorium. During the event, students and their families hear about the building’s history. Representatives from the alumni community present the recipients with their rings as a means of welcoming these students into the alumni community, and guests are told about the history and symbolism of the WPI ring, as well as the journey their rings have taken.
The top of the ring features the WPI seal: a shield illustrating symbols of WPI’s history and mission; the heart representing Worcester as the heart of the Commonwealth, and two open books and an arm and hammer representing WPI’s heritage of balancing theory and practice – and WPI’s full name and founding date, in Roman numerals, encircling the shield. The Two Towers are seen on one side of ring and the storied “Goat’s Head” – a traditional “prize” that has been passed down from generation to generation and today is at the heart of many class rivalry contests – is depicted on the other.
The WPI ring represents the pursuit of innovation, academic inquiry, and excellence, and the lifelong connection between each student and their experience at WPI.”