Students anticipate senior year for eligibility to purchase a class ring - a symbol of the milestone they have accomplished and that can show off their alma mater to the world.
The distinctive Duquesne class ring was born during the early 1920s, as Duquesne adopted the traditions common to institutions of higher learning. The class of 1925 formed a committee that standardized the ring as an octagonal deep blue stone held in place by four corner prongs. The class of 1927 ended two years of debate among students by replacing the blue stone with the now-familiar synthetic ruby. The size of the stone increased in succeeding years, until in 1936, the corner prongs were replaced with a continuous metal bezel sealing it in place.
The embossed gold Old-English “D” was originally an option, becoming a standard feature of all Duquesne rings in 1938. The golden initial, oversized stone and octagonal shape make the Duquesne ring stand out from those of other colleges and universities. The words “Duquesne,” “University,” and “Pittsburgh,” along with the graduation year, were engraved on the four sides.
Carved into the shank on both sides are the heraldic lion, book and dove from the University’s coat of arms. The lion was adopted directly from the arms of Marquis du Quesne, the French naval hero. His nephew, Marquis du Quesne de Menneville was governor general of Canada in the mid-18th century and was responsible for building Fort Duquesne and bringing Catholicism to the western Pennsylvania area. The book held by the lion adapted the coat of arms to those of an institution of higher learning. The founding Spiritans are also represented by the haloed dove, a universally recognized symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Becoming the Tradition
Since 2009, the Duquesne University Alumni Association has sponsored a sendoff party to welcome seniors as new alumni. Seniors are invited to get together with their classmates one final time before graduation and are introduced to the Alumni Association and its members. Festivities include free food, drinks, prizes, and a champagne toast.