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The Battalion

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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Memorial Ring Collection honors fallen Aggies

Shelby Knowles

A collection of Aggie rings from each year can be found at The Clayton Williams Jr. Alumni Center, the oldest beginning from 1899.

On January 15, 1970, J.B. “Josh” Sterns, Class of 1899, presented his collection of Aggie Rings to the Association of Former Students. Located in the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center, the collection provides a history of rings spanning from the Class of 1891 to the Class of 1964, each year represented by one ring.
Carrying on this tradition, the Association houses the Memorial Ring Collection. Picking up where Sterns left off and continuing to recent years, families of deceased Aggies have donated the rings of their loved ones to memorialize their spirits and represent their respective classes.
Although nearly 50 classes are represented in the Memorial Collection, each year has a unique story to tell. The Class of 1995, for example, has two rings that represent the class, those of Gena and Joel Johnson — a young couple killed in a car wreck their final semester at Texas A&M.
The ring that represents the Class of 1999 reminds onlookers of another campus tragedy. The ring donated by the family of Jeremy Frampton was worn by one of the 12 Aggies killed in the Bonfire Collapse.
Connor McCasland, the latest addition to the Memorial Collection, will represent the Class of 2015. McCasland, who died last June, was about to start his senior year at A&M.
A member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and the A-Battery outfit, McCasland was described by his friends and family as having a larger-than-life personality.
Casey Hodgson, one of McCasland’s friends from the Corps, said McCasland was always open for a conversation and always wanted to have a good time.
“He was just always so nice to everybody, and he was there to help you whenever you needed anything,” Hodgson said. “There were times whenever I would need help with something and he would just drop what he was doing to help me out.”
Now McCasland’s class ring, his story and his enthusiasm will continue to be a source of inspiration for all — McCasland’s ring will be dedicated to the Memorial Collection on Wednesday.
The event will signify just how great of an Aggie Connor really was, as well as the way he embodied how all Aggies are supposed to be, Hodgson said.
“It’s a symbol to others to remember him and to live everyday like we’re trying to help other people out like he would always do,” Hodgson said. “It was just great having him in my life for the time that I did, because he was just the sweetest guy ever.”
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of the Association of Former Students, said each addition to the Memorial Collection involves a worthy Aggie to represent their class.
“The individuals in that ring collection, when you learn their stories, it’s like, ‘What a great person to be representing that class? How proud can that class be that that individual represents them?’” Greenwade said.
Another captivating story lies behind the ring recently dedicated to the Memorial in August 2014. Representing the Class of 2010, Lisa Ramirez fought a battle against pulmonary hypertension for six years before her death. Even though she was diagnosed with the disease early on in her time at A&M, Ramirez was able to graduate with a degree in agricultural leadership and development.
Greenwade said the ring dedication for Ramirez was particularly special.
“When her ring was added to the collection, before we put it in, the family had Father David from St. Mary’s here and he blessed the ring with water from the Jordan River,” Greenwade said.
The story behind another recent addition to the collection is that of Joey Villavisencio, Class of 2012. Villavisencio, who was a member of the football team, had his ring dedicated in fall 2013.
“I think it’s quite appropriate that he represents the Class of ’12, playing on Kyle Field as a part of the 12th Man,” Greenwade said.




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