Bond Of Gold
Catarina Salazar-Canales ’25 feels as if she’s always had a certain special connection to the Aggie Ring.
Born into an Aggie family, she had grown up admiring the shiny ornate designs of the one her dad proudly wore on his right hand. Then, years later, when she witnessed the moment her older brother received his, Texas A&M University’s most recognizable symbol of achievement suddenly took on a much deeper meaning.
“Once you see that gold ring on someone’s hand, you know that’s an Aggie,” Salazar-Canales said. “All of us Aggies know how much work and dedication go into earning your ring, and it’s a symbol of accomplishment. That’s what makes it so special.”
Salazar-Canales, a junior biomedical sciences major from Temple, now assists her fellow Aggies with the academic milestone of obtaining their very own gold piece of Texas A&M history as a student assistant in the office of The Association of Former Students’ Aggie Ring Program.
Located in the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center, the Aggie Ring Program serves to protect the integrity of the Aggie Ring and is responsible for determining ring eligibility of more than 9,000 students each year. Throughout the year, Salazar-Canales helps size and order rings for deserving Aggies who have completed 90 hours of undergraduate coursework or pre-determined graduate coursework requirements.
“Looking into this job, I knew that it was going to be something important,” she said. “The work I was going to do was going to have a very important impact on people and their lives, and it was going to make their college experience in some way or another. That’s a lot of responsibility.”
The tradition of the Aggie Ring dates back to 1889. Today, it’s a rite of passage that culminates in one of the university’s most time-honored celebrations, Aggie Ring Day, when three times a year, thousands of Aggies invite family and friends to gather at the Williams Alumni Center to celebrate what for most is a crowning achievement of their time in Aggieland: receiving their ring.
“The Aggie Ring — it symbolizes so much and yet it means so much to every single person in a different way,” Salazar-Canales said. “Sitting here, being able to listen to all these different stories, meeting total strangers and having their lives changed because of that. That’s really powerful.”
Now, there’s only one thing left for Salazar-Canales to do: get an Aggie Ring of her own in the spring of 2024.
“It’s so beautiful and unifying,” she said. “I want mine so bad.”