Students often begin the countdown months in advance – 90 days until X-Ring! The date in question is Dec. 3, the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier, and the big event is the investiture ceremony for the coveted X-Rings at St. Francis Xavier University.
The X-Ring ceremony is “a highlight of students’ academic careers at StFX,” says Helen Murphy, director of alumni relations and proud X-Ring holder. Roughly 1,000 students receive their rings annually, handed out in their senior year. Students aren’t obliged to purchase a ring – they cost more than $500 – but over 95 percent choose to do so.
The iconic X-Ring was designed by a student for the Class of 1942. The first ring investiture took place in 1958 and the modern ceremony as it exists today began in the 1980s.
The ring is steeped in lore. Nearly every issue of the alumni magazine has a story, says Ms. Murphy, often about coveted X-Rings lost and found. The most famous X-Ring legend involves an episode of the show Jeopardy! The correct question to the answer, “The most recognized ring in the world,” was “What is the Papal Ring?” In his follow up, host Alex Tribek is alleged to have added that, according to the show’s researchers, the two next most recognized rings were the Super Bowl ring, followed by the X-Ring of StFX.
Famous X-Ring holders include former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna, two members of the musical group the Rankin Family, and journalist Linden McIntyre, recent winner of the Giller Prize.
I graduated from X in ’97. My boyfriend never heard of it before, and after he met me, we’d be in a supermarket in the laurentians north of Montreal, and I would see someone with the ring and start a conversation like we were old friends. It’s a special bond and the best 4 years of my life.