Longhorn Family Gifts Father UT Class Ring 31 Years Later

It was a proud day for the Hodges family. The time had come for the youngest of the clan, Clay, a sports management junior at UT, to receive his class ring—a gift he’d been eagerly waiting for since he first tried on the 1949 class ring of his late grandfather William, BBA ’49, as a little boy. Clay remembers sitting on his PaDad’s lap, admiring the ring’s weathered engravings as his grandfather told stories about his time as a student at UT. “He’d always tell me if I worked hard, made good grades and good decisions, one day I could be a Longhorn and have my very own ‘Bevo ring,” Clay says.

Surrounded by orange and white balloons, joyous families, and UT spirit, Clay, a third generation Longhorn, was joined at the fall 2016 bi-annual Texas Exes Ring Celebration by his grandmother, mother, and father, Bryan, BS ’85. Not only was it a special day for Clay, but one for Bryan, who held the box with the little gold ring before his son. As Clay took the ring, Bryan told his son how proud he was, wishing that his own father, who died in 2005, could have still been around to join them. After devastatingly losing his own ring in 2010, Bryan had taken to occasionally wearing his father’s ring, though it wasn’t the same.

In the early fall, when Clay had made his way to the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center to order his ring, he had an idea. “I thought, how special would it be to order a replacement ring for my dad?” he says. So he called his mom then and there, and ordered one ring for Bryan Hodges on the spot.

The big reveal came that Ring Celebration day. After Clay received his ring and photos were taken, Clay’s mother, Francie, took Bryan’s right hand, and removed PaDad’s ring as Clay opened a box to reveal another—an exact replica of his father’s missing 1985 class ring. With tears in his father’s eyes, it’s a moment Clay says he will always treasure.

Now, PaDad’s ring sits in its box back home, but on occasion the Hodges will still take it out to admire the detail and remember the man who first wore it. Clay says it will always remain a special family heirloom that represents three generations of proud Longhorns.

“I always dreamed of coming to UT,” Clay says. “This is the only school I applied to. These rings show a sense of accomplishment, they mean a lot, and I’m proud to wear mine.”

Photo courtesy of Clay Hodges.


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