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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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UNA unveils new class rings

The+UNA+class+rings+on+display+in+the+GUC.
Whitney Veazey
The UNA class rings on display in the GUC.

On Jan. 24, the Office of Alumni Relations and Balfour held a class ring showing for their new line of rings.

Bishop Alexander is the Director of Alumni Relations, and has been at the head of the class rings development.

The idea first came to be around four years ago. There was a pre-COVID grad fair held by the alumni office. A Balfour representative approached him and brought up the idea of custom-made rings for UNA.

“[The Balfour rep] showed me his ring, which was a University of Alabama class ring,” said Alexander. “He talked about how Alabama and other schools that he worked with had official class rings.”

To make the purchase of a ring more special, many schools participate in a ring ceremony where students are formally presented the ring with family and friends. Schools like Texas A&M, the University of Alabama and Mississippi State University all have implemented ring programs. 

Alexander, a UNA alumni, had never heard of a ring ceremony before. The rings that graduating students and alumni could buy were very general and offered to schools around the nation. In fact, the displays usually had other schools’ names on them. 

Alexander never had a UNA class ring, as they were not heavily promoted.

Throughout the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he formed a team of mostly students and a couple of alumni. Every SGA president has served on the committee. Most of it was student-led. Some committee members that are now alumni are still interested in purchasing a ring.

The three year process was spent working with Balfour to create and design the rings. Student leaders were told to go to their constituents and receive feedback on the progress made. 

“Everything in the collection was built on the back of our ring committee,” Alexander said. “They really helped create it.”

The launch of the rings is an intentionally slow process to gauge student opinions and ensure that rings are something the students are genuinely interested in. The ultimate goal is to create a new UNA tradition similar to Light the Fountain or The Lucky Dip and eventually implement a ring ceremony. Alexander hopes the rings can be something to keep alumni engaged years after graduating.

Every ring is custom-tailored to UNA.

“I felt like the reason why students weren’t drawn to [class rings] was because it wasn’t a tradition on campus, but also the display rings had other colleges on them,” Alexander said.

A percentage of the proceeds made from sales will go towards the alumni association and the ceremony. 

Todd Incantalupo is the Regional Vice President for Client Development at Balfour, overseeing the southeast. He has worked closely with Alexander to help create the rings. The original planning was done with the previous manager, but Incantalupo has recently taken over. 

They would meet every few weeks to ensure the website was up to date and the designs were up to par with what the board wanted. 

“Our focus isn’t on the point of sale,” said Incantalupo. “Our focus is on the tradition, what the ring really means to not only the campus but the person who wears it.”

Incantalupo sees class rings as an extension of a person’s diploma. Wearing the ring shows the hard work and effort went into a four year, or longer, degree.

Both Alexander and Incantalupo are looking forward to the ring launch and students viewing the collection. 

“COVID really did stop us in our tracks,” Incantalupo said. “We went from visiting campus and being on campuses for meetings and spring events and ring ceremonies and commencements to not coming at all. Even when it was safe to come back to campus, some schools were saying, ‘We only want essential visitors.’ It’s been a long three years, but I think we’re ready.”

Ring prices in the University of North Alabama Collection range from starting prices of $577 to $1154. The Traditional Collection has starting prices ranging from $530 to $710.

An event will be held by the Alumni Association in collaboration with SGA Feb. 20 through Feb. 23 in the GUC Atrium. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Leo and Una mascots will be present for photo ops on the 20th. For every student who comes to view the collection, their names are put into a raffle to win a class ring. 

Rings can be viewed and ordered at www.balfour.com/una.

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About the Contributors
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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