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Cobber rings: a Concordia tradition

MOORHEAD —  It was an exciting day for upperclassmen students as they celebrated getting their Cobber Rings and becoming a part of the campus tradition during ring day on Friday, Nov. 17. 

“I’ve been waiting such a long time and so I have just been counting down the days,” senior, Tiernery Jo Stewart said.  

The Cobber ring is a cherished tradition dating back to over 100 years ago. The ring is a symbol of reaching junior year status and becoming an official member of Concordia’s family.  

“We think of it as a milestone… when you first come you get your beanie, the next milestone is getting your Cobber Ring, and then of course graduation,” director of the bookstore, PJ Hines said.  

A student cannot order the Cobber ring until they have reached junior status to uphold the tradition of the Cobber ring.  

“It’s really welcoming and it makes you feel like you’re a part of something, I just love the community that Concordia gives,” junior, Rachel Lanning said.  

Juniors and seniors start to order their Cobber rings at the end of Sept. Then they patiently wait until Nov. to participate in ring day and get their ring. During the celebration, students get an opportunity to take pictures with Kernel Cobb and their friends who are also getting rings.  

Ring day photo. Contributed/Concordia College

They stick around for a short ceremony where Eric Johnson, director of alumni relations, leads them in a song and gets a group picture of the new members of the Concordia family to be archived for generations to come.  

“We have a whole bunch of traditions, don’t walk under the campanile, the beanies. We have a lot of things that create community and the ring is one of them, and it’s an enduring symbol of your time on campus that you take with you,” Johnson said.  

The Cobber ring is a symbol that students will take with them. Wherever they may go they will be connected to Concordia and the community with that ring they wear on their finger. The ring represents more than just the fact students attended and received an education at Concordia.  

“The ring is a tangible symbol, what it symbolizes in my opinion is the memories, the friendships, and everything they have encountered during their time here at Concordia,” Territory Manager for Jostens, Brian Klempke said.  

Emily Tron, a Concordia Alumni who graduated in 2002, wears her Cobber Ring everyday with pride and a feeling of gratitude due to the fact she thought she would never see it again.  

“I lost my ring the summer I moved to Minneapolis but had no idea where it might have been. It must’ve fallen off my finger somehow,” Tron said.  

Tron studied Biology, Classical Studies and minored in Chemistry during her time at Concordia.  

“I thought I’d never see it again,” Tron said.  

The spring after, Tron received an excited call. A man had found her Cobber Ring under some leaves in the West Acres parking lot.  

Since Tron had her name engraved in the ring, the man was able to do a Google search and found the name of Tron’s parents. After the phone call to her parents, the man was able to get in touch with Tron to get the ring back to her.  

“I think what must of happened is I was at Target that day and it must have fallen off then and perhaps a street sweeper or snow plow moved it to West Acres? I really have no idea, I’m just so grateful that man got it back to me,” Tron said.  

The ring was still in good condition when Tron got it back besides the few scratches it gained along its journey, but Tron didn’t mind.  

“I was overjoyed and relieved when I got it back. Not only did I not have to order a new one but I got the exact one back that had been with me for all those memories of Concordia, friends and faculty,” Tron said.  

Tron is currently working at Aldevron as a GMP Technical Lead, making DNA, RNA and proteins for vaccines and rare disease treatments.  

“My Cobber Ring has been with me for over 20 years and I wear it everyday. I hope (Cobbers) feel the excitement that I did. It shows you are amongst a great group of people who attended and will attend. And when you finally get it, it shows your hard work and dedication,” Tron said.  

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