Class of 2012 Ring Dinner

“October 22, 2010 was truly “A Magical Night at the Top” for the Class of 2012. You could feel the anticipation and excitement as soon as you stepped off of the elevator and onto the twenty-first floor of the Capital City Club of Raleigh.  The view of the Raleigh skyline took my breath away as we approached our table, complete with purple, black and gold decorations which reflected the magical theme.  

Our evening began as the Ring Dinner tri-chairs welcomed us to the dinner; we could all see the excitement and satisfaction on their faces as the ceremony began.  As we all enjoyed our dinner, I looked around table number three and realized how lucky I was to be surrounded by my closest friends on this very special night.   Our 2012 Bathtub Ring served as our entertainment for the night.  While they preformed several of the traditional BTR songs, they finished up their set with a special song dedicated to our class.  Shortly thereafter, two representatives from the Young Alumnae Board presented the Ring Essay Contest winners.  Each year, the Young Alumnae Board holds an essay contest for the current junior class.  Each member of the class is invited to share an essay about what the Meredith College onyx means to them.  The first place winner of this contest, which is announced at Ring Dinner, wins a class ring!  Emily Pappas, who was also celebrating her 21st birthday, deservingly received first place in the contest.  Many of us could not hold back the tears as her poignant essay was read aloud.  Next, the Ring Week tri-chairs presented a poem to our class as we watched a slide show of images from the week leading up to our magical night. The slide show captured some of our memories from the week and reminded us of how excited we were to receive our own onyx rings. Dr. Jean Jackson was our guest speaker for the event.  She lightened the mood as she told us several stories about her experiences with her onyx.  And then… finally… it was time to slip our very own onyxes on our very own fingers.  I will never forget the moment that Dr. Jackson told us to put on our rings. I tried so hard to hold in my tears, but it was impossible.  The overflowing of emotion led to the appearance of tears in my first picture taken with my onyx.  I remember hugging all of my friends and taking pictures with what seemed like everyone in the room.  Those pictures will always mean the world to me.

Ring dinner was more than I could have ever imagined.   When I am an alumna of Meredith College, I know that I will look back on this night and remember the excitement that I shared with the class of 2012; it will be one of my most treasured memories for sure.   I have never felt so close to my Meredith sisters as I did that night; our class has grown extremely close during our time at Meredith and I am so grateful to have been a part of this timeless tradition.  I will have this ring on my right hand everyday for the rest of my life.  To me, my onyx represents my hard work and dedication during my time at Meredith. It also signifies the appreciation I feel towards the college, as well as a connection to all other Meredith graduates.”

– Christina Mendenhall , ’12

Photo of the Week

An unidentified Meredith student poses with two NC State football players.  If you think you recognize her, please feel free to leave a comment or email us at

Class of 2011 Senior Parent Night

One of our newest features on Beyond the Back Gate is student reflections.  After each major event or tradition on campus, we will ask a current student to write a reflection on their experience to share with the alumnae community.  We will then post the stories and allow the alumnae to read about the event through the student’s eyes.  We hope that you will enjoy this glimpse into the lives of our current students and even more so, we hope that this will take you back to relive your experiences while you were a student at Meredith.  Enjoy!

“I remember being a freshman at Meredith College and hearing about all the traditions.  I was told about everything from Cornhuskin’ to Alice in Wonderland, from Ring Dinner to Crook Hunt.  I also remember hearing about Senior Parent Night but thinking that it was way too far off to give it much thought.  How wrong I was.  It came faster than I expected, and in many ways faster than I wanted.  But it came, and went, in the blink of an eye just like the past three years.

Senior Parent Night is a fairly new tradition here at Meredith.   It is, I think, yet another wonderful addition to our four years.   How could we Meredith women not spend an evening honoring the people who have loved and supported us, financially and emotionally?  They answered the phone and gave guidance when we were so stressed that we wondered if it was all worth it.  They came to Cornhuskin’ even though they had no idea what it was really all about.  They have been our biggest fans our entire lives.

This year’s Senior Parent Night was held in Johnson Hall’s rotunda.  And yes, of course, we had a theme: “Southern Soiree”.  The theme was reflected in all of the little details of the night: the desert and drink selections, the music choice and the gifts to our parents.   By having the event in Johnson Hall, I was able to show my parents the famous dolls I had talked about, and show them where in just a year the 2011 Class Doll will sit for all to admire.  Everything came full circle when my mom reminded me of the day I signed in for pre-registration the summer before my freshman year in this very beloved Rotunda.

Everything became real when I started working on the letter to my parents that I would give to them at Senior Parent Night.  How do you put it all into words?  As I wrote my letter, I pulled out the note my mom wrote to me at Tea for Two during my sophomore year.  I found myself at a loss for words.  I can’t express how grateful I am to my mom and dad for pushing me towards Meredith, for encouraging me to always do my best, for supporting me by coming to every crazy event I invited them to, and for always being proud of me.   The evening was a beautiful tribute to these amazing people who without, we would not have made it this far.  And I am forever thankful for their support.

At the end of our evening, as I watched my parents chat with other senior’s parents, I realized that not only would I be leaving a piece of my heart at Meredith College, but they would as well.  While I have loved every second of my college life, they have enjoyed it right along with me.   I guess you have to experience it to understand it.”

– Ellen Frazier, ’11

Happy Ring Week!

It sure is a busy week on Meredith’s campus!  Not only is Cornhuskin’ practice in full swing, but the class of 2012 is celebrating Ring Week!  On Friday, members of the junior class will attend Ring Dinner and they will become official members of the Meredith sisterhood.  In the spirit of Ring Week, we wanted to share the following story.  A recent alumna, Renata Heineman, sent her story our way and we’d love to share with you all.

Renata Heineman graduated on May 12, 2010, and along with her flipped onyx, headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in late May for her internship training.  The first day of training went well, and she and her fellow interns were off to the beach after work.  A perfect afternoon turned tragic when a huge wave swept Renata’s Meredith ring off her finger.  She frantically tried to explain to the group what happened, and everyone quickly began searching through the sand.

Several weeks later, a woman named Denise was walking along the same beach searching for beach glass when she stumbled across a black onyx ring.  Denise realized that it was a lost class ring; she then had her children read the engraving on the inside.  Shortly thereafter, Denise got on Facebook and was able to track down another Meredith alumnae from the class of 2010, Aleah Ham.   Aleah then got in touch with Renata and filled her in on the story.  Through Facebook, Renata and Denise became friends, and Renata’s ring arrived in the mail shortly thereafter.

Believe it or not, many years before, Denise was at the beach with her family and lost her father’s Texas A& M ring.   Similar to Meredith, Texas A&M has a long standing class ring tradition.  Unfortunately, for Denise his ring was never found.  However, Denise shared that by finding and returning Renata’s beloved Meredith onyx, she was finally able to get over having lost her father’s ring in the ocean so many years before.

Photo of the Week

Junior Class Ring Dinner October 23, 1998.

Emily Korman Livingston, ’00
Emily Severt Scruggs, ’00
Sally Wooten Queen, ’00

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