MIT class ring: Wikis


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MIT Class of 2007 ring. The ring is worn "Beaver down" until graduation

Massachusetts Institute of Technology's class ring, often called the Brass Rat, is crafted each year by a student committee. The class ring has three main sections: the bezel, containing MIT's mascot, the beaver, the MIT seal (seal shank), and the class year (class shank). The side surfaces show the Boston and Cambridge skylines. A campus map and the student's name are engraved on the inner surface. The phrase "Brass Rat" is derived from the resemblance of the gold beaver to a rat. Among other reasons, the beaver was chosen as mascot (and therefore for the front bezel of the ring) because he is considered to be the engineer of the animal world.[1]

MIT students are proud of their conspicuous and recognizable ring, and, like students of some other universities,[2] have a traditional belief that it is one of the most recognizable rings in the world. As articulated by William Wang, president of the Class of 1975, there are "three recognizable rings in the world—the Brass Rat, the West Point ring, and the Super Bowl ring."[3]



The MIT seal on the class of 2000 ring

The Brass Rat is traditionally worn with the Beaver "sitting" or "shitting" on the wearer until graduation. This represents the hardships imposed on students at MIT. In addition, the skyline of Boston is facing the student, representing the outside world awaiting. After graduation, the ring is turned around, and the Cambridge skyline is visible to the graduate, as a reminder of times spent at MIT.

The undergraduate ring is designed and presented in the sophomore year of each class. The design is unveiled during the Ring Premiere, which is followed months later by the Ring Delivery. The latter is a tradition since 1999 (Class of 2001), and is typically a formal occasion. Ring Delivery has been held on a harbor cruise, at prestigious restaurants, and at the Boston Public Library (Class of 2008). Most recently, the Ring Delivery was held at the Citi Performing Arts Center in downtown Boston (Class of 2011). Although parts of the ring change each year, there is typically the MIT seal on one shank of the ring, and a depiction of the Dome on the other side. The 2008 Brass Rat was the first in recent years to revert to the original style of the ring, placing the seal and Dome above the "MIT" and "08" respectively.

Grad Rat

2005 Grad Rat

The Graduate Student ring, or "Grad Rat", is redesigned every 5 years. Unlike the undergraduate ring, the Grad Rat is personalized according to the department in which the graduate student resides and the degree to be received (i.e., Ph.D, Sc.D, S.M., etc.). The Grad Rat has typically been less popular among graduate students at MIT than the Brass Rat is with undergraduates, with as few as 30% of graduate students opting to buy the ring compared with 85% of undergraduates who purchase the Brass Rat.[4] However, in recent years the Grad Rat has been gaining in popularity among graduate students. Factors contributing to the increasing popularity of the Grad Rat include the aforementioned personalization, increased visibility and marketing, and perhaps most importantly the ability to change these personalizations (including major, graduation year, and degree) free of charge.

2005 Grad Rat Bezel


The ring was first proposed in 1929 and labeled the "Standard Technology Ring".[5]

In the Spring of 1929, C. Brigham Allen, President of the class of 1929, appointed a ring committee consisting of one member of each of the classes of 1930, 1931, and 1932. The committee was headed by Theodore A. Riehl, and its sole purpose was to provide a ring which the Institute Committee would approve as the Standard Technology Ring. In October the committee submitted its first detailed report to the Institute Committee and requested a decision as to whether the Institute Dome or the Beaver should be used on the face of the ring. This precipitated a vigorous discussion concerning the exact status of the Beaver as the Institute mascot. Investigation showed that, on January 17, 1914, President MacLaurin formally accepted the Beaver as the mascot of the Institute at the annual dinner of the Technology Club of N.Y. Lester Gardner '97 explained the decision: "We first thought of the kangaroo which, like Tech, goes forward in leaps and bounds. Then we considered the elephant. He is wise, patient, strong, hard working, like all who graduate from Tech, has a good hide. But neither of these were American animals. We turned to Mr. Hornady's book on the animals of North America and instantly chose the beaver. The beaver not only typifies the Tech (student), but his habits are peculiarly our own. The beaver is noted for his engineering, mechanical skills, and industry. His habits are nocturnal. He does his best work in the dark." There was no record of any action having been taken by the Institute Committee so that the body went on record as approving the Beaver for the official mascot of Technology. Opinion was still divided on the question of Dome versus Beaver, but with the realization that many schools had domes somewhere similar to Technology's, the Institute Committee decided to use the Beaver on the face of the ring. The Dome lent itself particularly well to use on the shanks.

Since that time, subsequent classes have appointed a Ring Committee to design their own MIT ring. The goal of these committees has been to create a ring that keeps the design that is unmistakably the MIT ring, yet introduce changes that will allow that ring to always be identified with their class. This tradition has developed throughout the years producing one of the most cherished symbols of an MIT education that is recognized worldwide.


The ring is offered in several sizes, in various gold purities: 10, 14 or 18 carat (42%, 58% or 75% gold alloy) as well as white gold and Celestrium (jeweler's steel). The Celestrium ring is often called "The Stainless Steel Rat," a joking reference to the series of novels by Harry Harrison, or "Tin Rat" by older alumni.[citation needed] A typical ring: medium size, 14 carat gold, would cost US$616 in 2010 (class of 2012 ring). In recent years, the Balfour Company has been the exclusive manufacturer of the Brass Rat, although several other companies have made the ring through an annual competitive bidding and design process.[6] The ring is manufactured through a lost-wax casting process.


The Brass Rat has many invariant central themes (such as the Beaver, and the class year) as well as new themes added over the years, such as the IHTFP motto. Each year then adds to the design numerous hidden jokes and references to experiences shared by the class of that year. There is a map on the inside of the ring that is typically an outline map of buildings on the MIT campus.


2012ClassShank.jpg 2012SealShank.jpg CambridgeSkyline.jpg BostonSkyline.jpg Hacker's map.jpg

The 2012 MIT Brass Rat was launched in space on Monday, February 8 on STS Mission 130 aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Astronaut and MIT Alum T.J. Creamer '92 received it on the International Space Station. This is the first Brass Rat to be part of the payload of a space shuttle and the first actual Brass Rat to be on the ISS. The Beaver is positioned facing right, looking towards Boston and its future, reminded of the experiences and challenges that shaped its mind and hands by the IHTFP that prods it in the back (spelled out in the twigs of the dam). Twelve 12s are represented across the ring. The Olympic Torch-like flames on the Class Shank have 8 tips, in honor of the 8 Varsity sports that were cut in 2009 due to budget cuts. An i and j vector run normal to each other on the Boston Skyline, such that, while at MIT, the wearer's finger will form the k vector of the Right Hand Rule.[7]

Features introduced:RHR utility, Media Lab Extension Building added to Cambridge skyline
Recurring features: Beaver, IHTFP, Punt/Tool Ambigram


First year beaver has sat on the Harvard Bridge, whose rails spell "MIT." The 150 Smoot mark represents MIT's sesquicentennial birthday. The beaver crushes eight ivy leaves with the weight of MIT’s accomplishments but a spade replaces one of the leaves, honoring MIT‘s blackjack team. Twelve by twelve hatches on the tail identify the 144th graduating class. The shanks make reference to Athena, flashing the right-hand-rule, hackers silhouetted on the dome, and the Large Hadron Collider. The MIT seal is unchanged and beneath it is the "nuts and bolts" insignia of MIT. The screw heads on the insignia spell "X + I," or, 11 in Roman Numerals. On the Cambridge skyline, the lights of the Green Building read "2011" in binary.

Features introduced:Koch Cancer Research Center added to hacker's map, student center and Stata added to Cambridge skyline
Recurring features: Beaver, IHTFP, Punt/Tool Ambigram

Brass Rat 2010 Bezel.jpg

Brass Rat 2010 Class Shank.jpg Brass Rat 2010 Seal Shank.jpg Brass Rat 2010 Skylines.jpg Brass Rat 2010 Map.jpg

The Tech article

Class year positioned at top of shank, 20 "10's" hidden on ring, NASA space shuttle representing the phasing out of the Shuttle program, which will officially end in 2010. Kerberos on shank, guarding MIT with a key made of a 1 and 0. A rose stem, as a tribute to class members who died and also to those who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech tragedy. Black relief on the buildings in the background spell IHTFP. Fire truck to symbolize the fire truck hack of freshman year. Lightning bolt to signify the energy initiatives by MIT as also the release of the last book in the Harry Potter series during the summer of 2007. The flame on the top of the pedestal on the seal shank forms the number 10 (for the class year 2010).[8]

Features introduced:Crew shell and sailboat on Cambridge skyline, Fenway park added to Boston skyline building 6 added to hacker's map
Recurring features: Beaver, IHTFP

Brass Rat 2009 Bezel.png

Brass Rat 2009 Class Shank.png Brass Rat 2009 Seal Shank.png Brass Rat 2009 Map.png

The de-planetification of Pluto commemorated. Cashier's office dollar bill, removed in the construction of a new student lounge, is shown behind the Lobby 10 columns. Six simple machines represented. Caltech cannon shown representing 2006 hack. Felled log crushing Ivy Leaves. In the background of the beaver the three-headed dog Kerberos, representing MIT's computer security. Hacker's map shows Building 6 unreachable due to construction.

Recurring features: Beaver, IHTFP,Punt and Tool were added on shank.

MIT class ring 2008 bezel.jpg

The Tech article
No woman on the ring from previous year Spoof ring presented initially:[9]MIT class ring 2008 spoof bezel.jpg

Boat leaving (signifying the dissolution of Ocean Engineering) with a DNA sail (signifying the introduction of Biological Engineering) Class year positioned lower than previous years

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features: Beaver, IHTFP

Mit ring bezel 2007.jpg

The Tech article
Second time a woman has been featured on the MIT seal

Woman on shank seal. Hour glass with 'V' running out into 'H' signifying the MIT's presidential change from Charles Vest to Susan Hockfield in 2004. Moon reflection signifying commencement during a blue moon month. Shower head on branch representing the 'end' of freshman showering. Beaver juggling as students often juggle much work. Recently finished Stata Center in background. ' ƎƧЯUƆ ' on shank for 2004 Red Sox World Series victory.

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:IHTFP, Beaver sitting on eight ivy leaves, Beaver wearing Brass Rat.

Brass Rat 2006 Bezel.png

Theme:"Starry Night"
The Tech article
Joining Cambridge and Boston skylines creates "MIT" in the negative space:MIT 2006 Brass Rat Skylines.JPG Much controversy surrounded the use of Greek letters on the ring.[10]

A snow shovel is featured on the Mens et Manus side of the ring, signifying the occurrence of the only Institute snow day in recent history. The snow day occurred during the freshman year of the 2006 Class. IHTFP hidden in class shank; mission patch of STS-107 commemorating the Columbia tragedy Φ and θ letters on Cambridge skyline representing fraternities and sororities (response to "freshmen in dorms" policy, started with 2006 Class); coonskin cap on seal laborer, representing "pioneering nature" of class. Addition of Stata Center to "hacker's map" on underside of ring; miniature gnome in tree representing a hack from 2003; DNA strand and MIT Chapel spire commemorating the Dalai Lama's speech at MIT on religion and science.

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:IHTFP, Beaver sitting on eight ivy leaves, Beaver wearing Brass Rat.

Brass Rat 2005 Bezel.jpg

The Tech article

"A=B=C=P" in the water on the left signifying the end of a year pass/no record, "ZZZ" in the water on the right to remember the sleepless nights. Tombstone with "rush" written across signifying the end of the traditional rush system. The beaver has a muscular arm and is standing in front of the Zesiger Athletic Center to commemorate the center and health consciousness. The beaver is holding a diploma with a screw - getting "screwed." A pile of numbers beneath the diploma represent the importance of numbers on the MIT campus. A hand in the water for the FSILG coordinator who was thrown into the Charles River. Infinite symbol under the columns for the Infinite Corridor. A star above the dome to show we do our best work at night, and an owl with eyes spelling out 0 and 5 represent the late nights spent in Athena. A dove in front of a globe as a symbol of world peace since 9/11 happened a few days after the class started freshman classes. A hip flask and Erlenmeyer flask are present behind the dove with words "Punt" and "Tool," symbols of balancing social lives and academical pursuit. Two laurel leaves spell out "80" for the sister class of 1980.[11][12]

Features introduced:View of new Z-center building, screw under diploma, full enclosed seal on side shank
Recurring features:IHTFP, Beaver sitting on eight ivy leaves, Beaver wearing Brass Rat.

Brass Rat 2004 Bezel.jpg

2004 and its variations are portrayed numerous times

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:IHTFP, Beaver is sitting on eight ivy leaves.

Brass Rat 2003 Bezel.JPG

The Tech article

Crane seen in background representing extensive construction on campus. The beaver is building a bridge to the future with a stick and diploma. In the bridge are the words “MIT”, “IHTFP”, and “MMIII” (the Roman numerals for 2003). A broken bottle in the river represents changes to MIT’s alcohol policies.

Features introduced: Beaver sitting on eight ivy leaves representing superiority over the eight in Ivy League. Recurring features:IHTFP, Beaver sitting on eight ivy leaves.

Brass Rat 2002 Bezel.jpg

Brass Rat 2002 Seal Shank.jpg

Theme:"Reflections" The Tech article First time a woman has been featured on the MIT seal

Beaver is clutching a stick crafted into a diploma with "02" at end. Leaves compose world map. Athena owl. Woman on seal shank in between books and laptop. Lamp has "77" handle, Great Dome R2D2 hack, and "02" flame. Ribbon from ILTFP and housing choice. Giant Tech "T" spelled in Green Building windows. Punt in Killian Court. 77 Mass Ave. steps.

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:Beaver is sitting on twigs spelling IHTFP, Beaver wearing Brass Rat.

Brass Rat 2001 Bezel.jpg

"Class of 2001 Ring Tells Tale Of Rainy Rush, New Beginnings" (March 9, 1999)

Beaver was oriented to right only once previously in history of brass rat.

Beaver faces right to represent new millennium. Star on globe marks Cambridge, Massachusetts above Kresge Auditorium, site of initial class gathering. Combination of city skyline and forest signifies adaptability. "PUNT" and MIT class number (134) in trees above beaver's head. Beaver holds diploma carved from branch, bearing class years '01 and '76 (sister class). Flower in lower right symbolizes resilience. "IHTFP" in blades of grass in front of beaver's tail. Bottle in lower left in remembrance of classmate Scott Krueger. "R/O" behind beaver in the ripples of Charles River.

Features introduced: Ring delivery event
Recurring features: IHTFP

Brass Rat 2000 Bezel.jpg

The Tech article

Bezel: diverse trees reflect the geographic makeup of class; 00 in the logs; IHTFP in the sun rays, which is neither setting nor rising, representing sunrises after all-nighters; dead 3-eyed fish representing the 'death' of the Athena computer cluster called the Fishbowl; buddy class ('75) ripples in the water; beaver wearing Brass Rat. Class Shank: snowflakes, representing blizzard of '97 (1997-04-01); MM in the columns of 77 Mass Ave, representing 2000.

Seal Shank: closed book, for the end of a millennium; 2000 hidden in lamp; globe, centered on Boston, is held in hands, representing, "The world is in our hands."

Boston skyline: first to include Harvard Bridge and Citgo Sign, sailboats on Charles.

Cambridge skyline: first to include Longfellow Bridge, crew boat representing early morning crew practices, Hale-Bopp Comet.

Features introduced:Harvard Bridge and Citgo Sign,[citation needed] beaver wearing a Brass Rat, realistic beaver depiction.
Recurring features:IHTFP


"The Tech" article

The Class of 1999 brass rat was the first to include the MIT campus map on the underside of the bezel.

Features introduced: Campus map on underside of bezel


Theme: "It's a Classic"
The Tech article

The Class of 1998 ring was a departure from recent designs, with shanks similar to styles last seen in the 1970s.

Features introduced:Goddess Athena represented for the first time.
Recurring features:


Info and pics of '93 Brass Rat

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:


Originally, men on seal were dressed in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World, but this was eliminated from the final design due to controversy.[13]

Beaver clutches XCII. Owl in upper right represents Project Athena. MIT92 seen in branch under owl. "PUNT" spelled out in twigs below beaver.


Beaver clutches XC. "90" on beaver's tail and crescent moon and "NINETY" in its dam. "MIT" in the fur on beaver's flank. Scroll in the MIT logo forms "9" on the left and "0" on the right.

Features introduced:First ring with skylines and Citgo sign.[citation needed]

Brass Rat 1986 BezelA.jpg

Fierce beaver facing left, holding twig in hand. "86" spelled in twigs in lower left. Pine trees and moon in upper right. Big dome and year on one side, MIT seal and "Mens et Manus" on other side. Manufacturer: Herff Jones.

MIT Ring 1983 bezel.jpg

MIT 1983 Ring Side A.jpg MIT 1983 Ring Side B.jpg

`83' is partially hidden in the twigs on the ground. Hungry beaver is preparing to gnaw on a twig. Pete Van Voast’s ring (Course III, '83).

Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:Class date on bezel is a hidden image in beaver's pile of twigs. Shank design is very similar to previous year.

MIT Ring 1982 Bezel.jpg

MIT Ring 1982 side A.jpg MIT Ring 1982 side B.jpg

`82' is (barely) visible in the twigs on the ground. The beaver looks uncharacteristically Rat-like and angry this year. The Tech comments: "It looks like the Beaver just found out about the newest tuition hike" (9800 TDM). Dave Kieda's ring (Course VIII, '82).

Brass Rat 1950 Bezel.JPG

Brass Rat 1950 Class Shank.JPG Brass Rat 1950 Seal Shank.JPG


Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:TBD

Brass Rat 1946 Bezel.jpg

Brass Rat 1946 Class Shank.jpg Brass Rat 1946 School Shank.jpg


Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:TBD

Brass Rat 1942 Bezel.jpg

Brass Rat 1942 Class Shank.JPG Brass Rat 1942 Seal Shank.JPG


Features introduced:TBD
Recurring features:TBD

Brass Rat elsewhere

Giant Brass Rat on Fleming House cannon

In Film

See also

External links


  1. ^ "Shiny new beaver mascot has debut". MIT News Office. 2000-05-10. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  2. ^ "X Ring". Retrieved 2009-06-15. "According to myth - supposedly confirmed by a question on Jeopardy, although no one can say when - the X-Ring is the most recognized ring in the world after the papal ring and Super Bowl ring." 
  3. ^ Wright, Sarah H. (2000-06-07). "Class of 1975 finds homes in business or remote Thai village". MIT News Office. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  4. ^ "Grad Rat Proves Popular". Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  5. ^ "Ring History ('93 class webpage)". Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  6. ^ "List of ring manufacturers by year". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  7. ^ "MIT 2012 Brass Rat". Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  8. ^ "MIT 2010 Brass Rat - Design". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  9. ^ "The Spoof Bezel describing the 2008 "Spoof" ring". Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  10. ^ "Response to the Greek Letters on 2006 ring". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  11. ^ Cameron, Jay (2003-02-25). "Class of 2005 Brass Rat Features Rush Tombstone, Traditional Seal". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  12. ^ "2005 MIT Brass Rat brochure(PDF)". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  13. ^ "Columbus on class ring demeans Native Americans". The Tech. 1995-03-09. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  14. ^ "Hack brings Yard Plate to campus". The Tech. 1990-09-14. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  15. ^ "Clip of Grossberger wearing Brass Rat from Stir Crazy". 
  16. ^ "MIT admissions article on Iron Man with production stills". MIT Admissions. 

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