TERRE HAUTE —
Ring Day is a much anticipated and special day for most students, but for two St. Mary-of-the-Woods External Degree students in particular it was an especially great experience this year.
Erin Boyll of Terre Haute, and a psychology major, had the privilege of being co-presented her ring this year by her mother, Pamela Loudermilk-Otte.
“There is no doubt that Ring Day is a special and powerfully moving experience,” Boyll said. “I learned this first hand when, as a teenager, I saw my mother achieve a lifelong dream, to receive her Woods ring. That day was the culmination of so much hard work and dedication that my mother, as a single parent, had accomplished. I can remember being so proud, as I watched her come down the aisle of the church in the processional.
“Something happened to me that day and I was overwhelmed with a new sense of purpose for my own life. Seeing my mother reach her goals, made me realize that I too could reach mine.” Boyll said.
Boyll was so inspired that she knew from that point on that she wanted to be a Woods student. “Now that I am here, after many years of hard work and sacrifice, I feel so proud and also so thankful for my experience. It means so much that my mother, who was the inspiration for me to reach for my dreams, be the one to present me with my ring at the ceremony. Now, my hope is that I can inspire my daughter Regan, class of 2027, and co-present her ring someday.”
Jerrie Harrison of Lewis, and a k-elementary education major, was co-presented her ring this year by her daughter, Stacey Lynn. “For my daughter to present me with my ring is the second most important thing that we have shared in the last several months. My daughter just had her first baby on Dec. 21 of last year, and I got to go into the delivery room with her. That is my most important thing we have shared.
“My daughter was the one who convinced me to go to college. I was so proud of her when she got her ring and when I watched her graduate. I am proud of myself now; accomplishing something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too old to go to college,” Harrison said.
A total of 106 students, (campus, distance, and graduate), received their Woods Ring on March 20 at the college. Internationally worn by SMWC graduates, the ring is visible evidence of the strong traditions of academic excellence and the strong sense of community, which are the roots of SMWC.
The ring, designed in 1922 by students Margaret Williams Mead ’22 and Dorothy Helm Geisel ’23, was first given in 1922 to seniors. The oak leaves are symbolic of the knowledge gained at SMWC, the six acorns are symbolic of the founders of SMWC, and the insignia carved in black onyx serves as a reminder that those who wear the gold and onyx are educated women guided by “virtus cum scientia.”