Fork Union Military Academy has many longstanding traditions, including the Ring Ceremony and Military Ball. This is a special week for our cadets as these two events fall on back-to-back days.
This Friday, the Academy gets to present class rings to juniors, seniors, and postgraduates in a special ceremony in front of their families and the Corps of Cadets in the Wicker Chapel.
In preparation for the ceremony, Academy President Colonel David Coggins has been sporting historic FUMA class rings each day this week, educating the cadets on the story that comes along with each unique band.
Monday’s featured ring is a ring from 1979—10-karat gold ring with a sapphire blue stone with “Body, Mind, Spirit” on the left side. “Aim, Ideals, Loyalty and Service” is etched on the right side.
Tuesday’s featured ring is a ring from 1962, donated by William L. Jones. It is a beautiful 10-karat gold, Balfour FUMA ring with a sparking ruby stone. Class of 1962 is etched on the right side.
Wednesday’s featured ring looks to be a pewter or sterling silver ring. It’s quite worn down, but still very classy and in the traditional FUMA ring style. Interestingly, while this one has no date or donor specified, the period is from the 1940s when gold was needed by the military for communications gear, plugs and connections, so it was unavailable for the public, and silver or platinum was used instead. This ring is a World War II era ring worn by a FUMA man.
Thursday’s featured ring is truly a throwback from Richard M. Hutchinson, Class of 1912. It’s a 10-karat gold ring with the FUMA crest on the face, 19 on the left side and 12 on the right side. Hutchinson has his initials, RMH, on the inside of the ring. It’s unique because it has been purposely cut in the back, probably to make it fit in his later years.
Friday’s featured ring will be the unveiling of the 2022 class ring.
The design of the FUMA ring has changed from time to time, according to the wish of the class. The stones for the ring are the cadet’s own choosing. He may select red, representing the ruby; blue, representing the sapphire; black, the onyx; green, the emerald and clear, the quartz. However, the ring of 1912 does not have a stone. In the place of the stone is an oval gold plate attached to the ring. The date is engraved on each side of the ring. Around the edge of the ring is engraved Fork Union Military Academy. In the center of the plate is the inscription: Veni, Vide, Vici.
The significance of a ring worn on the hand depends upon what it represents: marriage vows, a fraternal organization, authority as granted by a monarch or an ecclesiastical personage, an enduring friendship, or an accomplishment. The FUMA ring represents an accomplishment, a graduation from a distinguished military preparatory school. It can be said that the FUMA ring is a fraternal ring because the wearer is one of thousands of men who were FUMA cadets and who remember with gratitude and pride the camaraderie of their cadet days.
It is an exhilarating experience for a cadet after four years of hard work to see his class ring on his hand.
“Traditionally, we pray and ask God to bless the wearer of the rings and that they remain true to our motto of ‘Body, Mind, Spirit’ through FUMA’s core values of respect, integrity, faith, character, and discipline, throughout their entire life,” said Colonel Coggins. “We hope each of these cadets stay true and faithful to their FUMA brothers.”