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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Silver Taps honoree’s ring added to memorial collection

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Sarah Lane — THE BATTALION

The Aggie Ring represents many things to the Aggie who wears it, signifying the lasting memories created at Texas A&M. This connection with the past is highlighted at the Clayton W. Williams Alumni center, where a thin gold line stretches across the second floor and into the past.
The Memorial Ring Collection contains an Aggie Ring donated on behalf of a deceased Aggie from every class year since 1965. Each ring represents a unique story linked by Aggie tradition, and the most recent ring to join the ranks is that of Connor McCasland, Class of 2015.
“With every one of these in the collection, you see that it’s truly an individual who represents something very special about Texas A&M [and] our core values,” said Kathryn Greenwade, Class of 1988 and vice president of the Association of Former Students.
This statement holds true to this year’s donation.
Connor was a member of the Aggie Band and was honored at Silver Taps in September. His friends best remember Connor for his infectious happiness and excitement and his willingness to always lend a helping hand. He died June 11, 2014.
“We were looking for things that we could do to go and give back to the school in his honor that would keep him living on,” said Daniel McCasland, Connor’s father and Class of 1987. “Just like he did with his friends that were there.”
Connor grew up looking at his father’s Aggie Ring eager for the day that he would earn his own. His family hopes that future Aggies will feel the commitment and honor that’s kept in peoples’ hearts to the school.
“His freshman year when we came out looking at the campus, before he even decided to go to A&M . . . we looked at the rings that were back there from the early 1900s and before and it shows year after year of committed people to the university and its values,” Daniel McCasland said.
Erin McCasland, Connor’s mom, said the process of donating the ring went smoothly.
“We contacted the Association of Former Students because we had to contact them anyway, since he passed away right at the time that he would be ordering his ring for senior year,” said Erin McCasland. “I knew probably about that time that we would donate it.”
When learning of the dedication of Connor’s ring, the McCaslands were surprised at the significance of the ceremony.
“We thought it was just giving them the ring and that was it,” Daniel McCasland said. “They’ll actually be having a ceremony with invitations that we can send to classmates and family that are in the Texas area or wherever to come and attend the ceremony.”
“I always tell the families when we do these dedication ceremonies that it seems like the perfect person emerges to represent that class,” Greenwade said.
Connor McCasland’s impact and loving heart was displayed at Texas A&M and gives Aggies pride in having him represent the class of 2015.
“He’s someone who loved being at Texas A&M,” Greenwade said. “He had been in the band [and] truly loved and embraced his time at A&M.”
In remembrance of Connor, the McCaslands have set up a ring scholarship in his name.
The McCaslands and The Association of Former Students plan to conduct the dedication ceremony for Connor in the spring.
The Assocation of Former Students contains a collection of rings dating as far back as 1899, thanks to the initiative of a former student.
“The ring collection began with a gentleman with the name Josh Sterns,” Greenwade said. “He was Class of 1899.”
Greenwade said Sterns determined that Texas A&M needed a ring collection and spent the next 10 years talking to living Aggies and the families of those who passed away to gather a ring from every Aggie class year. At the age of 92, Sterns presented it to A&M.
“He told us that it would be The Association’s responsibility to continue it going forward,” said Greenwade.
Since then, many rings have been given to The Memorial Ring Collection.
“One story that comes to mind, for me, is the ring of Joey Villavisencio, Class of ’12,” Greenwade said. “Joey was a member of the football team, he was also a member of CARPOOL, he was also a very good student and just someone who really represented an all-around Aggie.”
The only year for which the collection holds more than one ring for is the Class of 1995, with the rings of a couple that passed away together in a car wreck before graduation. However, Greenwade said that if someone wants to donate a ring for a class year already included in the collection, they can donate to the rotating ring display, where each ring is exhibited, accompanied by the story of its owner.

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