Since 1927, Baylor seniors have passed down tradition, responsibility and ivy to the class below them at the Senior Ring Out Ceremony.
On Thursday, women from the 2016 senior class who were dressed in black graduation robes gathered in Burleson Quadrangle near the Baylor bell to continue this tradition. The women walked with a junior dressed in white, carrying a branch of ivy between them. The ivy symbolizes loyalty and steadfastness, and with it the seniors pass the charge of leadership to the next graduating class.
Student body officers and the senior class custodian spoke to the seniors about their legacy and encouraged them to reflect on their Baylor careers from the beginning of freshman year to the end of senior year.
“It may seem like the end of an era but, just like the last four years, Baylor will always be your home,” said Katy sophomore Amye Dickerson, the newly-elected external vice president. “You have sought out a junior and now you are entrusting your legacy and Baylor’s legacy to them. With this ivy you pass the torch.”
The seniors passed the ivy to the juniors and turned to each other with tears and laughter to hold hands and sing “That Good Old Baylor Line.”
For one senior, the ceremony was a little different. She did not pass the ivy to a junior like she had planned but instead, gave it to a fellow Baylor graduate — her mother.
Dallas senior Hannah Pittman arrived at the Burleson Quadrangle about an hour before the ceremony to rehearse, but during rehearsal the junior who she was supposed to walk with had a last-minute emergency and left. Immediately, she started to cry thinking she wouldn’t be able to participate in the ceremony. Her mother, who happened to be wearing all white, jumped up and offered to walk with her daughter.
“It was so special walking through Ring Out with my mom,” Pittman said. “It is something I never could have imagined, but it has to be a God-thing. Baylor is full of traditions and being able to participate in the same thing my mom participated in is amazing.”
Kelly Koncak Pittman, Pittman’s mother and 1988 Baylor graduate, texted the woman she went through the Ring Out Ceremony with almost 30 years ago and reminisced on her time as a Baylor student.
“It was such as honor to participate in Ring Out back then, and I am even more grateful to have participated now with my daughter,” Koncak Pittman said. “These traditions impact generations and that’s one thing that makes Baylor so special.”
Parker, Colo., junior Liz Hersey walked through Ring Out with a senior she looks up to and said she will greatly miss next year. Hersey said she is thankful that Baylor has traditions like Ring Out where she can express her love and gratitude to the university and those around her.
“Ring Out reminds me to give everything I have to Baylor while I’m here,” Hersey said. “The woman passing me this ivy is so special to me and has guided me through my Baylor career. She is my role model and her giving me this ivy instills pride in me and reminds me of the lasting impact that we all have.”