Posts

Ring Story: Double Trouble

Frank Hammond '83

Frank Hammond ’83 lost not one but two Clemson class rings. He tells the strange story of how they were both recovered:

Due at least partially to the shock that I was (seemingly) going to graduate in 1982, my parents offered to buy me a Clemson ring. Much to their disappointment, I took a victory lap but did graduate in ’83. I proceeded to lose the ’82 ring in 1986 on a business trip in Columbia, and they were even more kind to purchase a replacement.

Flash forward to the summer of 2006 on an island in Lake Hartwell. I was with my family, throwing the ball for the Lab, and felt the ring come off, making a nice soft splash some distance offshore. With no luck finding it and figuring two was probably my limit anyway, I resigned myself to moving forward without my Clemson ring.

That is until about a month later when my home phone rang, asking if I was the Frank Hammond that graduated from Clemson in ’83. Affirming that it was indeed me, the caller relayed he had seen something shiny while recently fishing on Hartwell and dove down to retrieve what turned out to be my ring. He was a Clemson grad as well and mailed it back to me, politely refusing any reward. I considered myself more than fortunate to have lost two rings and actually gotten one back, though some nine years later, the story takes an even odder twist.

While sitting at my desk in 2015, my phone rings with that same question, asking for a Frank Hammond who graduated in ’82. The caller said she was looking at my ring, which turned out to be the first one I’d lost. It had been missing for almost 30 years. She was the manager of an assisted living facility in North Carolina, and one of their residents, who could no longer speak, had given it to her the day before with no further explanation of how she came to have it.

“What’s the story?” I asked the manager.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “She just handed it to me.”

Ring Story: Buried Treasure

When Wade Crow ’69 lost his Clemson ring, he didn’t think he would ever see it again. He tells the story of how it came back to him.

Wade Crow and sons

As a senior engineering student in the class of ’69, I ordered my Clemson ring and couldn’t wait to get it on my finger. It symbolized not only a substantial amount of hard work but also a rewarding and fun-filled college adventure. Eight years later, when my first son was an infant, I took my ring off and left it in my car while doing some yardwork. When I looked for it later, it was nowhere to be found. Although heartbroken, I never seemed to have the extra funds to replace it as our family grew to four children.

Fast forward 25 years. My son is also graduating in engineering, and I offered to give him a ring as a graduation gift. I realized it was a good time to replace mine, so I ordered two rings. The lead time on the rings was six weeks; I was like a kid waiting for Christmas. Two weeks before my ring was due to arrive, I was working in the yard with a shovel and hit something metallic. I turned over a shovel-blade of soil, and an unmistakable glitter of untarnished gold was right in front of me — “Class of ’69.”

Two weeks later, I was the proud owner of two rings. My second son also finished Clemson in engineering and received his ring in 2013. We are likely one of the only families with four Clemson rings and only three graduates to wear them!

Looking back, I recognize that it was never really about the ring. It is all about the wonderful friends and memories associated with Clemson. Same football seats for 45 years, and still going.

Ring Stories: A Clemson Family

For the Lanhams, the Clemson ring runs in the family.

Lanham Family Rings“Connection.” That’s what Janice Garrison Lanham ’88, M ’94 feels when she looks at her Clemson ring. Connection to her father, who never went to college but paid for her ring. Connection to other Clemson alumni, who have stopped her in line at the grocery store to show their own rings. Connection to her own Clemson family.

As a first-generation college student, Lanham fulfilled her parents’ dreams as well as her own when she graduated from Clemson with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1988. After her master’s degree, she started teaching nursing at Clemson, something she wouldn’t trade for the world: “I get to nurse in California and Utah and North Carolina and Georgia all in the same day because I’ve educated nurses who have gone out to work in all of those states.”

Her husband, Drew Lanham ’88, M ’90, Ph.D. ’97, whom she met while they were students, also teaches at the University, and the couple practically raised their children, Kimberly and Colby, on Clemson’s campus. Both followed in their parents’ footsteps.

When Colby, the younger one, graduated, the Lanhams gathered outside of Bon Secours Arena after the ceremony.

“He couldn’t wait to get outside and take a picture,” Lanham laughs, remembering her son’s excitement. “We all laid our hands out and kind of welcomed him into the fold. It was really special.”

Lanham Family

Drew ’88, M ’90, Ph.D. ’97, Janice ’88, M ’94, Kimberly ’12 and Colby ’16, M ’18 Lanham

Do you have a ring story to share? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information. Visit alumni.clemson.edu/ring for more ring stories.