Ring Melt for Class of 2023

Categories: Ring Memorial Program, Grad News
Class Years:

The West Point Association of Graduates’ Class Ring Memorial Program, more commonly known as “the Ring Melt,” was held in Crest Hall on Friday, January 21, 2022. 71 West Point rings, with the oldest being from the Class of 1909 and the newest being from the Class of 2004, were placed in a stone crucible so that they could be melted down to form a gold ingot bar. The bar was then handed over to a representative of the Herff Jones Ring Company so that the gold it contains can be mixed with new gold to form the class rings for the Class of 2023.

In the 22-year history of the Ring Melt, beginning with the Bicentennial Class of 2002, 740 West Point class rings have been part of the program. After each melt, a small amount of gold, called the “Legacy Gold” has been preserved so that it can be added to the subsequent year’s Ring Melt. Thus, the Class of 2023 will be receiving class rings in August that contain gold from all the donated rings dating back to 1896.

After being a virtual event in 2021, the 2022 Ring Melt featured the highest number of family members and guests attending in the program’s history, and many more streamed the event through WPAOG’s live feed. With 71 class rings donated this year, the program also broke another record, the previous high being 69 rings in 2018. This year was also special because it was the first time that a class ring from a female graduate was donated (anonymously). More facts regarding the 2022 Ring Melt: there were 12 living donors, including one who donated two rings; 11 rings came from the Class of 1973, the 50-Year Affiliation Class of the class of 2023; and one of the rings, that of MAJ Howell H. Jordan Jr. ’57, was the great uncle of Haley Seaward ’23.

When Ron Turner ’58 proposed the idea of a “Ring Memorial Program” in the May/June 1999 edition of ASSEMBLY magazine, he wrote, “Hopefully, this program will make West Point class rings of the future even more meaningful than those of the past.” 22 years later, his vision has become a reality, as the members of the Class of 2023 will soon realize come Ring Weekend in August when they don that “bold mold of [melted] gold” courtesy of WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial Program.

Class of 2023 Ring Memorial Donor Listing

1909 Unknown Owner 
1932 COL Nelson L. Head USA, Retired 
1936 COL Clarence A. Cozart USA, Retired
1937 LTC Charles T. Clagett USA, Retired
1940 COL Gilford D. Green USA, Retired
1940 COL John R. McLean USA, Retired 
1940 Unknown Owner 
1943Jan Maj Robert L. Edwards USAF, Retired
1945 Anonymous Donor
1945 LTC James F. Holcomb USA, Retired 
1945 COL Arland H. Wagonhurst USA, Retired 
1946 COL Edward J. Collins USA, Retired 
1946 COL Howard R. Fuller USA, Retired 
1946 Lt Col Frederick L. Hafer USAF, Retired 
1946 COL Philip D. Haisley USA, Retired
1946 COL Stratis J. Stratis AUS, Retired 
1948 COL Francis P. Cancelliere II USA, Retired
1948 Mr. William T. Ryan
1948 Dr. Charles H. Shook Sr. 
1948 Maj Gen Henry B. Stelling Jr. USAF, Retired 
1949 COL James J. Coghlan Jr. USA, Retired
1949 COL John J. Fatum USA, Retired 
1949 COL Duane H. Smith USA, Retired 
1949 Lt Col Richard E. Toth USAF, Retired
1950 LTG Charles P. Graham USA, Retired 
1950 Lt Col Peter B. Todsen USAF, Retired
1952 LTC Glenn H. Palmer Jr. USA, Retired
1952 COL Arthur E. Taylor Jr. USA, Retired 
1953 LTC John P. Angstadt USA, Retired 
1953 Mr. Donald J. Hamilla 
1953 Mr. Raymond V. Kotowski 
1954 COL Charles A. Debelius USA, Retired
1954 LTC Donald C. Porter USA, Retired
1955 COL William W. Brown USA, Retired 
1955 Col Paul L. Martin Jr. USAF, Retired
1956 Maj James A. Cook USAF, Retired
1956 COL Frank L. Day USA, Retired
1956 Lt Col William C. McPeek USAF, Retired
1956 COL William L. Weihl USA, Retired
1957 Dr. Francis L. Hanigan
1957 MAJ Howell H. Jordan Jr. USA, Retired 
1958 LTC William P. Gillette III USA, Retired 
1958 COL Harry J. Hubbard III USA, Retired
1959 LTC Nathaniel F. Colby USA, Retired
1959 Doctor E. J. Eberhard MD
1959 COL Julian E. Weisler II USAR, Retired 
1961 Mr. Robert A. McCurdy
1962 BG Nicholas R. Hurst USA, Retired
1962 COL Christopher R. Robbins USA, Retired
1963 Mr. Chris P. Wangsgard
1965 COL Donald E. Appler USA, Retired
1965 Mr. Jon E. King
1965 Mr. Thomas D. MacVicar
1966 MAJ Arthur G. Bonifas USA 
1966 COL Richard M. Swain II USA, Retired
1971 Mr. Leon D. Davis
1972 LTC Edward J. Collins Jr. USA, Retired 
1973 COL Steven P. Ankley USA, Retired 
1973 Anonymous
1973 Mr. Terry A. Bossieux
1973 LTC Michael W. Colbert USAR, Retired 
1973 Mr. Nicholas T. Combs
1973 Mr. George W. Everett Jr. 
1973 Lt Col Jack L. Kincart USAF, Retired
1973 Lt Col Roland E. Peixotto Jr. USAF 
1973 MAJ Paul J. Rana USA, Retired
1973 MAJ Ronald M. Rowley USA, Retired
1973 MG Daniel V. Wright USA, Retired 
1983 Mr. Joel V. Liberto 
2004 Anonymous 

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Ring Memorial Program

In 1999, LTC(R) Ron Turner ’58 submitted an article with the suggestion that “We, as graduates of West Point, should establish a Memorial Class Ring Program… whereby graduates may bequeath (or graduates’ descendants may donate) West Point class rings for the specific purpose of incorporating the gold into the class rings of future graduates.” Turner’s idea became a reality as 31 rings were melted at the Herff Jones company, and the Class of 2002 became the first to receive the gold from this historic undertaking in their rings. A small portion of each year’s gold ingot is preserved and added to the rings that are being melted for the following year’s Ring Melt. The gold shavings are known as the Legacy Gold because it contains gold from every ring that has been donated over the years.

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