The Official CofC Ring

By John Stabinger
Posted on 3 April 2020 | 11:58 am

The Official College of Charleston Ring

Dating back to 1843, the College of Charleston ring displays symbols and Latin phrases that hold profound meaning to students and alumni. Rings are presented to each recipient by the College President at the elegant Ring Ceremony held each year during spring semester. Tradition dictates that the night before each Ring Ceremony, the rings spend the night in the College’s original classroom in the President’s House at 6 Glebe Street (circa 1770) so they may be instilled with the 250-year history of the institution.

Because ours is a school ring rather than a class ring, students may order their rings and take part in the traditions and Ring Ceremony as early as sophomore year. Each ring purchase includes a $100 donation to the Alumni Association to support programs and services for the College. This donation also makes the student a donor to the College, which is one of the Traditions in which students are encouraged to experience before graduation.

Students wear the ring so the seal is upside down when their hands are at their sides. At Commencement, College of Charleston students are called upon to “turn the ring,” as students at other institutions are called upon to “turn the tassel,” so the seal is facing right side up as they go out into the world.

Important Dates

Purchase your official CofC ring for the Ring Ceremony and Commencement during CofC Ring Days, October 11-12, 2023, and December 5-6, 2023, or place your order by visiting or calling 1-800-225-3687.
*Please note: December 15, 2023, is the last day to order your ring online in time for the 2024 Ring Ceremony. 

After you have purchased your ring, you will be invited to participate in the Ring Tradition and Ceremony on February 28 and 29, 2024.

Ring Tradition Night Drop-In
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
4-5 pm
President’s House – 6 Glebe Street

Ring Ceremony
Thursday, February 29, 2024, 5 pm 
Ring recipients must arrive to Sottile Theatre by 4:15 pm sharp
Sottile Theatre – 44 George St., Charleston, SC 29401

Hosted by the Alumni Association, this auspicious ceremony will highlight the history of the CofC ring and the symbolism of its design. College President Andrew Hsu will present your ring to you and a professional photographer will be on hand to record the moment. Before putting on your ring, the President of the Alumni Association will provide instructions on how to wear it before and after graduation and will ask ring recipients to put their rings on the first time together.

Ring recipients: Once registration is available mid-February, you must register yourself as a recipient and provide how your name is pronounced for our announcer. You may register up to two guests to attend. All guests will need tickets to attend, as seating is limited. Please arrive at Sottile Theatre by 4:15 pm SHARP to check-in, receive your name card for the announcer, and line up for the ceremony. Please don’t be late!

Important Reminder: There is no secure location to leave bags, purses, phones, etc. Please leave these items with your guests or at another location.
*If you do not participate in the Ring Ceremony, you will receive an email the week following the Ceremony with instructions for picking up your ring. Pickup will not be allowed prior to the Ring Ceremony.

Guests: Tickets are required as seating is limited.

About the Ring

The design for the College of Charleston ring dates back to 1843 and is the same for men and women. Women were first admitted to the College in 1918 “in exact parity with men.” Pierrine Smith ‘22 was the first woman to graduate from the College in 1922 and she did so as valedictorian of her class, banishing forever the theory that women could not pass the College’s rigorous curriculum. As she approached commencement, her fiancé, George Byrd ’21, had a miniature of his ring made for her as a gift and the tradition of men and women wearing the same ring was born.

The signet-style ring features the seal of the College of Charleston, derived from the City of Charleston’s seal, adopted in 1783. It features the Latin phrases Sapientia Ipsa Libertas (Wisdom Itself Is Liberty) and Ædes Mores Juraque Curat (She Cares for Her Temples, Customs, and Rights). The seated woman holding the scepter is a personification of Charleston and evokes an image of the city deriving its livelihood from the sea and prepared to defend itself. She is shown presenting a laurel wreath to a young man holding a diploma in front of a classroom building. The date 1770 refers to the year of the College’s founding.

Ordering your ring or pendant

Rings are available in yellow or white gold, silver, or celestrium. Your initials, degree, class year, or sorority or fraternity may be engraved inside. A pendant necklace is also available. Your ring purchase includes a $100 donation to the Alumni Association to support programs and scholarships for the College of Charleston. Purchase your official CofC ring for the Ring Ceremony and Commencement during CofC Ring Days in September and October or place your order by visiting or calling 1-800-225-3687.