March 11, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 84  

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Ivey and engineering at odds over graduate ring
Engineers upset over the precious

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Leah Crane/Gazette
WITH THIS RING, I THEE ENTREPRENEURIALIZE. Western engineering students are upset that the Richard Ivey School of Business plans to give rings to its graduates, which they say is a slap to the face of their own tradition.

The introduction of a ring for graduates of the Richard Ivey School of Business has created quite a stir within the faculty of engineering, which historically has their own ceremonial ring given to graduates.

The initial uproar came when an e-mail was sent by the Honours Business Administration Association to HBA graduates announcing the beginning of the new ring tradition. “There will be an Ivey Ring Ceremony similar to the engineering Iron Ring tradition,” the e-mail stated.

“Our ring is supposed to show humility. The Ivey ring is just a copy of our ring,” said Kevin Whittam, co-president of the Undergraduate Engineering Society. “In the e-mail, they said they’d be bringing it in [based] on the engineering ceremony, so I got the impression they’re copying our ring.

“The purpose of our ring is a ritual and it’s got to do with being ethical with your profession,” he said.

According to Whittam, the source of tradition for the engineering ring began when a bridge collapse almost 80 years ago. After the accident, pieces of the steel bridge were forged into pinky rings for engineering graduates across the country.
“The HBAA has no part in the whole issue,” stated HBAA President James Kim. “I just forwarded the message to the students.”

Kim explained the Ivey Alumni Association came up with the idea for the ring, however, he noted that he does sit on the IAA Board of Directors, the body that approved the ring.

With the recent business scandals in the United States, many at Ivey felt the need for a symbol of business integrity and ethics, said Glenn Yonemitsu, executive director of advancement at Ivey.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation, and if they hear the truth they’d probably agree,” he said when asked about the Ivey ring’s similarities with the engineering rings, adding he regrets the ongoing rumours.

Franco Berutti, dean of engineering, pointed out the issue is being resolved. “There is no problem. I had an opportunity to look at the ring and it’s considerably different — Ivey is giving the students the option to wear it on any finger,” he added.

“We’re working together to resolve the matter; they have already made some considerable changes,” Berutti said, confirming he has been having meetings with Ivey and some compromises have been made. “I still have some reservations and I have addressed them, and Ivey is considering them.”

“I think Ivey could have something more creative,” noted second-year mechanical engineering student Jonathan Wong. “Give them a briefcase or something.”

“It’s not an exclusive concept, it stands for the same things,” said Jocelyn Hsieh, a second-year masters of business administration student. “If anything, they should be flattered; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”



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