Virginia Tech ~ Class of 1971

totally unique and undoubtedly cocky -  the 1971 class ring
never again will a class be so highly distinguished


text and images from the class ring information book (pdf)
click on images for larger view

Realism in every detail is the theme of the 1971 class ring. Many new features establish its uniqueness while conveying the class motto, "Spirit With New Traditions."

leads the way in the break from tradition as Virginia Polytechnic reads clockwise and Institute reads counterclockwise around the stone. Modified Roman is used here and throughout the design for unity.

Dividing the wording are two identical atomic shells, symbols of modern technology and broadening horizons.

A unique "71" chain completes the bezel. The 7's and 1's, which can be read from top to bottom on either side of the stone, are the links in the chain to show class unity and strength.

(Note - The name of the college changed July 1, 1970 to include "State University" to accurately reflect the scope of the college's teachings. Although the Class of 1971 was the first to graduate under the new name, the class ring bezel did not reflect the name change because the ring design was finalized before the name change.)

The 1971 class rings are composed of a University or history side, and a Curriculum or modern side. Pride in America was the underlying idea, using realism as the vehicle for expression.

THE UNIVERSITY SIDE begins with the 1971 numerals placed together at the top. Forming their background is the American flag of the year of our founding, 1872.

In another "first" the University shield has been placed to the left of center below the numerals.

Darting along the right of the shield is a fierce, realistic eagle, a traditional element of the Tech ring. Partially concealing the eagle's wing is a furled Confederate flag, a symbol of Virginia's history, plus Tech's well known school spirit. (Note - this was the last Tech ring to include, without option, the Confederate flag, an element traditionally found on Tech rings up to this point) Clutched in the eagle's talons is a banner proclaiming the University's motto "Ut Prosim" - That I May Serve.

The Corps of Cadets sabre pierces the banner and disappears behind an open book and the lamp of knowledge, all of which form the closing.

Laurel leaves transcend to the palm side to connect the past with future.

THE CURRICULUM SIDE boasts an identical asymmetrical balance. Again the numerals are together but with a modern-day American flag background. To balance the University shank, the Curriculum shield is to the left of center.

Directly below the shield is a bold, furling Virginia flag, as new and greater emphasis is put on this element.

The right side has many innovations that add to the growing number of "firsts". The torch of learning is raised high as a guiding light. "The Skipper" is easily recognized as a symbol of school spirit plus military bearing. A strong Va Tech banner encircles a fasces lichtor, symbol of justice through authority. A realistic fightin' gobbler completes the right side.

The VT symbol forms the closing of a perfectly balanced design story of the history and the opportunities of Virginia Tech.


Virginia Tech is one of only a few colleges and universities that maintains a class ring tradition. The Ring program is distinctive from other colleges in that the entire ring collection is redesigned for each class, and rings are presented at a formal Ring Dance.

The Virginia Tech Class Ring Tradition began with the Class of 1914, the first to choose a student committee to design a ring that would be meaningful to the Class. The Class Ring Design Committee since that time has been selected during the sophomore year and is responsible for creating a collection unique to each Class. Traditional ring collection elements have changed somewhat over time and currently include: the screaming eagle, American flag, campus buildings and an interlocking chain around the bezel. From there, the Ring Committee designs a class ring representing the unique characteristics of their respective class.

Since 1991, the ring design process includes the selection of a Class namesake. This is done as a dedication to a distinguished alumnus or university president.

Established by the Class of 1935, the Ring Dance weekend takes places in the spring of a studentís junior year. The two-day celebration includes a banquet honoring the ring collectionís namesake, the formal Ring Dance and fireworks.

The strong ring tradition at Tech inspires most students to order rings. The large number of orders and the large physical size of the rings (up to 40 dwt) make the Tech class ring the prestige order of the of the college ring business. The result is fierce competition between the major ring manufacturers for Tech's class ring business. This competition contributes to the remarkable quality, distinctive designs and generous manufacturer guarantees for which Tech rings are traditionally known. Manufacturers that have made Tech rings in the past include Bailey, Banks and Biddle; Charles Elliott; George Spies; Dieges and Clust; John Roberts; Herff-Jones; Balfour and Jostens.

The company that was awarded the privilege of making Tech's 1971 class ring was Jostens. Jostens 1971 Class Ring guarantee... Jostens will at any time:
~  resize the ring at no charge
~  replace broken encrusting at no charge if stone is undamaged
~  replace the ring for any reason for $15 plus the old ring
~  refinish the ring at no charge
~  complete repairs in three weeks and total replacements in four weeks

The Class Program, through the advising of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, maintains the tradition of the Virginia Tech Class Ring. Through the Association, alumni must have their class year confirmed before either ordering or replacing a ring to ensure the continued integrity of the program. (Actually, Jostens does not require the Alumni Associations student certification for repairs/resizing, and you can work directly with them through their web site) Dating back to 1923, almost all rings can be replaced in their original design. The Virginia Tech Ring Display Case, which houses Virginia Tech Class rings from 1914 to the present, is located in the Williamsburg Room of Squires Student Center.

Read more about the Tech class ring tradition: here and here
Tech class ring repair and replacement procedures
Tales of lost and found Tech rings
Va Tech traditions, more about Tech tradition
Virginia Tech Alumni Association

page by

wayne owen
mgt '71

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