The Auburn Ring is one of the most powerful testimonies of true Auburn spirit. Wearing the icon of the place that holds a special place in their heart is something that no true Auburn man or woman should miss out on. The ring not only carries with it your own memories embraced between the interlocking “AU,” but the power of this iconic institution in your journey through life. Auburn’s ring tradition is not limited by the precious metal circlet, it is accompanied by a story that starts at one of the university’s oldest buildings.
Langdon Hall has served a variety of purposes on Auburn’s campus since it was erected in 1883. Today, it is primarily used as an auditorium and office space, but outside lurks the root of one of Auburn’s most-fabled tales. Stepping on the seal in front of Langdon Hall is an Auburn student’s worst nightmare. Legend says that any student that steps on the seal will suffer a few consequences: not graduating in four years, leaving the Plains without the love of their life, and cursing their family with seven generations of Alabama fans. For any unfortunate person who accidentally steps on the seal, fear not, there are many ways to reverse the curse. Most popularly, the cursed individual could jump into the President’s fountain at midnight on leap day of a leap year. Not too hard, right? Wrong. A cursed person’s next opportunity to escape their fate will not come until 2020, and even then, jumping into the President’s fountain is technically trespassing.
Ring Night is a way for students to be a part of an Auburn legend and not have to worry about missing graduation or the love of a true Auburn man or woman. At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, graduating seniors have the opportunity to have their official Auburn rings “cursed” by being placed upon the seal at 6:56 PM, the year of Auburn’s founding on the twenty-four hour clock. The rings remain on the seal until the current year appears on the twenty-four hour clock. The time the rings spend on the sacred seal is to symbolize the continuous Auburn spirit that has prevailed since the institution’s founding one-hundred sixty-one years ago.
A few days later at the Ring Ceremony, the curse is lifted when the student dips their ring in water from the President’s fountain; removing the curse, but leaving the Auburn spirit to live on in the ring and the heart of its owner forevermore. The traditional ring, emblazoned with eagles facing towards the past and future, is adorned with an interlocking AU and four bands symbolizing the pillars of the Auburn family: students, administration, faculty, and alumni. Ring recipients conclude the traditional ceremony by placing the cleansed ring on their finger with the words “Auburn University” facing inward, and then after graduation, the new alumni flip the ring to show the world that they are proud to be a member of the Auburn family.
“Of course, wouldn’t it have been easier for us to just not curse the rings in the first place?” said Dr. Macy Finck in the spring 2017 Ring Ceremony, “Of course, but your rings received more than a curse on Thursday night. For many years, the seal in front of Langdon Hall has been collecting stories: the stories of those unlucky enough to step on it, of those who narrowly missed it, and perhaps even those who consciously and carefully gave it a wide, respectful berth… the events of this week have been about more than cursing and cleansing. It’s about tradition, history, and creating a deeper connection with your Auburn family — past, present, and even future, as the seal now knows your story as well.”
This mark of connection not only is not only binding to Auburn University, but something much greater – the Auburn family. After four (or five… maybe six) years, we all move on from our time on the Plains to new adventures in life. This summer I was walking down the streets of London, 4,305 miles from the Plains, when I saw one of the most beautiful symbols on a man’s shirt – the AU. Amidst a busy intersection in the West End, I screamed “War Eagle,” I think it was the loudest and proudest I have ever projected the fabled words. The man looked around and without hesitation, or ever seeing who it was, yelled “War Eagle.” That spirit never leaves a person, even on the other side of the world, and that is what is encapsulated inside an Auburn ring.
Auburn would not be the same without our plethora of traditions. From callouts on Cater Lawn to the eagle circling the stadium, every true Auburn man and woman has a tradition that they hold dear to their heart. We hope you will embrace the Auburn spirit when your time comes to leave the Plains and advance into your next adventure by purchasing your Auburn ring and participating in Ring Night & Ceremony at the end of fall or spring semester. This ring will remind you of your roots, no matter how far you grow, and will connect you to a family, one-hundred sixty-one years in the making, no matter where you go.
By Jacob Sparks
Director of Print Media, SGA