As an alumna of Dana Hall, I am often asked what makes Dana Hall special. There are a number of ways I could answer this, but I almost always immediately think of the connections that Dana Hall alumnae make with each other across decades. One tradition that connects all Dana Hall alumnae is the class ring. We can date the tradition of the ring back to 1911 and the tradition of a unified class symbol all the way back to 1897, when students had class pins. The ring style was standardized in 1924 with a design very similar to what we still use today, incorporating a stone with your class color and your class year.
What makes this tradition so special are the connections alumnae make when they recognize a Dana Hall ring in their everyday lives. One alumna told me she was walking the streets of New York City and holding her cellphone to her ear with her Dana ring in sight. An alumna from a different decade stopped her and said “You went to Dana Hall?!” They talked for more than 20 minutes about their experiences at the school and what they are doing now. We have heard these stories over and over about how the ring opens up conversations across decades and allows friendships to emerge.
Now that I am back working at Dana Hall, I love to see how the ring continues to connect alumnae with the students at the school. My ring stone is green as that was my class color at Dana Hall, and the current junior class in which I advise students will soon be receiving their ring with a green stone. I have a new connection with these students; our conversations have sparked an excitement around what it means to be a Dana alumna due to the shared color of our rings.
For the past few years, Dana’s senior classes have decided that the ring is such a significant component of their time at Dana Hall that they have started to raise money for a fund that will help future students pay for their rings. These gifts will forever link our students with future alumnae they are helping. I love to see how the Dana Hall ring continues to connect generations of alumnae!