Broncs continue tradition with ring ceremony
Posted: 12/03/2012
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Ester Salinas (BS '71) and her son Daniel (BA '09), are proud alumni of the former Pan American University and The University of Texas-Pan American, respectively.

Ester Salinas (BS '71) and her son, Daniel Salinas (BA '09), pose with the UTPA Bronc Ring Touchstone during the second Bronc Ring Ceremony Nov. 30, 2012.

To show their devotion to their alma mater, the mother and son bought the University's official ring for themselves. And on Dec. 1 they joined more than 100 fellow Broncs to celebrate UT Pan American's newest tradition at the Edinburg Municipal Auditorium.

"I thought it was very good for everybody, to have some sort of unity, because I have my other ring from 1971, but it was different, it was a different school," said Ester Salinas, who has been a science teacher for more than 30 years. "This is more to unite everybody."

During the second Bronc Ring Ceremony, participants chanted "Semper Porro, Broncs Forever" as they marched down the main aisle of the auditorium and took their seats.

UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen welcomed the crowd and shared with Broncs and their families some points of pride about their alma mater.

Aspiring doctors who attended UT Pan American have a 64 percent chance of being accepted into medical school, as opposed to the state average of 33 percent. And UTPA students planning to become lawyers and attend the UTPA Law School Preparation Institute have a 90 percent chance of being accepted into law school, compared to the state average of about 30 percent.

And the University's award-winning Mariachi Aztlán has been invited to participate in the inaugural festivities for President Barack Obama in January.

"You went to one of the best universities that there is," Nelsen said.

Nelsen and Donna Mason Sweigart, assistant professor of art who oversaw the ring's creation, described the symbolism in the ring, which was designed by students.

After the students and alumni signed their names in the ceremonial ring book and posed for pictures with the ring touchstone, everyone participated in singing the school's alma mater.

Ester Salinas and her son, who also has another class ring from when he graduated three years ago, said they decided to get the Bronc Ring so that they will have matching rings to show that they attended the same institution.

Daniel, who earned his bachelor's degree in television and film, said he liked how the ring was designed by UTPA students.

Like the Salinases, the Bronc Ring holds special significance to Rosario Ramirez, who will be graduating Dec. 15 with a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Ramirez said she debated getting a ring, but decided to buy one to show her unity and her promise to her father that she would graduate from college.

"It's going to be something very significant when you see somebody else you can relate and identify yourself with them," Ramirez said. "I'm very proud to have it. I got the emerald on it because I promised my dad I was going to graduate from college before he passed away so I did it and (got) the green rock (emerald) (to symbolize) of when my dad and my mom got married."