Ring Figure

One of the most anticipated events of a cadetship, the presentation of a VMI class ring, and the formal dance known as Ring Figure typically takes place in November of the Second Class (Junior) year.

Receiving the VMI class ring represents an important milestone in the life of a cadet. Each class ring is unique, with one side containing pictorial representations and symbols of the things that define the class as a whole, such as memorable events of the ratline or certain aspects of the Institute that the class holds particularly dear.

The first ring was designed by members of the Class of 1848 and was presented to graduates during Finals celebrations, but thereafter was a decision of the class to receive a ring or not. The custom of Second Class cadets receiving the VMI class ring was established in 1907, and the addition of the Ring Figure dance started in 1927 with the Class of 1928.

The first VMI class ring was simple in design — the word “Mizpah” was cut in the stone in Old English Script, and on the inside of the band was engraved, “1 of 24, July 1848.” Mizpah, from the Hebrew, is typically translated as “the Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” The term signified brotherhood, the enduring connection among the 24 graduates of the Class of 1848. Today’s rings have become increasingly larger and more elaborate in design, but the tradition of the class designing their significant one-of-a-kind ring remains the same and the word “Mizpah” is often still found. More information about class rings, including past design, and Ring Figure events in the past is available in the VMI Archives.

Today’s celebrations comprise of the customary presentation of the rings, Ring Figure (the formal dance), and additional smaller events that allow the Second Class to celebrate this particular milestone with their Brother Rats, family and friends. The celebrations are traditionally held the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Cadets at supper, photo of rings, cadets posing with new rings

*Please note: Photos reflect past events. Ring Figure 2021 Flickr album is now available.


2021 Event Schedule

CLASS SUPPER, Crozet Hall
November 18, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Formation at 5:30 p.m. | Bricks/Cocke Hall at 5:45 p.m. | Combat Ring at 6:00 p.m. | Dinner Begins at 6:30 p.m.
Class of 2023 and official guests ONLY

Dress Code:
Class of 2023 - Gray Blouse and white pants
Civilian Guests - Business Formal
Uniformed Guests - Army Class A’s/Service Equivalent


CROZET FAMILY BRUNCH, Crozet Hall
November 19, 10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

Class of 2023, dates, and families
Price for Families & Dates: $10

Dress Code
Class of 2023 - Class Dyke
Civilian Guests - Business Casual
Uniformed Guests - Army Class B’s/Service Equivalent


RING PRESENTATION, Cameron Hall
November 19, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Doors open at 12:00 p.m. | Procession at 12:45 p.m. | Stage Party at 12:55 p.m.
VMI faculty and staff, Class of 2023, dates, and family

Dress Code
Class of 2023 - Coatee, white ducks/white short skirt, no cover, white gloves
Civilian Guests - Business Casual
Uniformed Guests - Army Class B’s/Service Equivalent
Cadet Volunteers/Audience Members - Coatee, white ducks, no cover, white gloves

Livestream

Please note: Closed captioning will be added after the event.


RING BLESSING, Memorial Hall
November 19, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Doors Open at 3:10 p.m.

Dress Code
Class of 2023 - Grey Blouse, white ducks/white short skirt, no cover, white gloves
Civilian Guests - Business Casual
Uniformed Guests - Army Class B’s/Service Equivalent
Cadet Volunteers/Audience Members - Coatee, white ducks, no cover, white gloves


RING FIGURE BALL, Center for Leadership and Ethics (Gillis Theater/Hall of Valor)
November 19, 7:00 - 10:30 p.m.
Doors Open at 6:45 p.m.
Class of 2023 and dates

Dress Code
Class of 2023 - Coatee, white ducks/long white skirt, no cover, no gloves
Dates who are Cadets - Coatee, white ducks/long white skirt, no cover, no gloves
Male Civilians - Tuxedo with white Bow tie
Female Civilian Dates - Floor-length white gown with white, elbow-length gloves
Uniformed Guests - Mess Dress or Army Service A’s/Service Equivalent with Bow Tie

 

Ring Figure ball dancing cadets, cadet and date posing in large ring, cadets posing