Following are remarks made by John Calabro, VP for Alumni Support, on Friday, 12 September 2003.
“My name is John Calabro. In addition to being here to celebrate my 35th Class Reunion, I am also here today in my official capacity as Vice President for Alumni Support at the Association of Graduates. The Association of Graduates is making a special presentation today to LTC (Ret.) Ron Turner, Class of 1958. Ron, would you please come up?
To assist in the presentation we have Cadet Josh Simpson, Vice President of the Class of 2004; Cadet James Freeze, President of the Class of 2005; and Cadet Brandon Archuleta, President of the Class of 2006. We asked these cadet class leaders to assist with this presentation for reasons that will be clear in a few minutes.
In 1999, Ron Turner had an idea. He acted on that idea by sending a letter and an article to Jay Olejniczak, Vice President for Publications at the AOG. In the article, later published in ASSEMBLY magazine, Ron stated:
“West Point invented the concept of the class ring in 1835, and we, her graduates, have all experienced the thrill of finally earning the right to wear our own West Point class ring with pride ever since. We all were proud to receive our ring, the symbol of membership in the Long Gray Line. Perhaps we would have been even prouder had our new class rings included traces of the gold from rings of past graduates — some of whom served many years before we, our parents, or even our grandparents were born. Would not such a “Memorial Class Ring” be even more significant?
We, as graduates of West Point, should establish such a “Memorial Class Ring” program. Basically, we need a 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. These graduates would then wear rings composed in part of gold from class rings worn by hundreds of West Pointers who since have joined the “ghostly assemblage.”
Even before the article was printed, Tony Ferraiuolo, who works for me as Director of Class Support, embraced that suggestion and started the wheels in motion to obtain cadet interest and chain of command approval to begin such a program. The program was inaugurated with the Bicentennial Class of 2002 when gold from 32 rings was melted and merged with new gold to make the rings for the Class. Each year since a portion of the original gold, infused with gold from succeeding melts, has become part of the rings for each Firstie class. To date gold from 68 rings have become part of this special program. One of them is the ring that belonged to Ron Turner.
Ron, the response to this program from donors, cadets, and the vast majority of those who have now heard about the program is extremely positive. The existence of the program has been a significant theme of the Superintendent’s remarks to the Firstie Class at their Ring Banquet for the past three years, and we believe it will be for all the years to follow. I have asked Cadet Class Officers Simpson ’04, whose class just received their rings, and Freeze ’05 and Archuleta ’06, whose classes will be participating in the program when they receive theirs, to assist me with this presentation.
It is our distinct honor to present you with this engraved tray. The inscription reads: “LTC (Retired) Ronald D. Turner ’58, In grateful appreciation for his vision in suggesting the establishment of the Class Ring Memorial Program Presented 12 September 2003 By The Association of Graduates.” Cadets Simpson, Archuleta, and Freeze joined John Calabro in presenting the award to Ron Turner.