The Third Year Council is preparing to host its annual Third Year Ceremony Nov. 5 to honor the Class of 2025’s halfway point in their undergraduate careers. Students who purchased class rings will receive them at the ceremony, with friends and families also invited to attend.
The ceremony will take place at the Paramount Theatre from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Nov. 5, coinciding with the University’s Family Weekend. Highlights include a performance from student a capella group The Hullabahoos, followed by a reception outside on the Downtown Mall and a surprise gift from the Council to the Class of 2025.
While the event has traditionally been held on Grounds in John Paul Jones arena, James Edwards, president of the Class of 2025 and third-year Nursing student, said The Paramount will provide a more intimate setting based on the number of students who have typically attended in the past.
“JPJ felt cavernous when you only had [about] 1,300 people in it, I’m hoping that the Paramount will actually be able to accept those 1,300 people and fill the space,” Edwards said.
To combat concerns over the off-Grounds ceremony lowering turnout, Edwards said organizers have provided information to students and their families regarding routes, parking and public transportation options. The Paramount is located on the Downtown Mall, about a mile from the University.
The event will also bring in local businesses by offering pastries and refreshments from Cafe Marie Bette, a local bakery, as well as charcuterie from Feast!, a gourmet grocer and café.
Sophia Ditty, Class of 2025 ceremony chair and third-year College student, hopes the central location will strengthen the class’ ties with groups beyond Grounds.
“We are thrilled to be hosting it at the Paramount Theater this year in an effort to incorporate more local businesses and support the greater Charlottesville community,” Ditty said in a written statement to The Cavalier Daily.
In the past, the event has been titled the “Third Year Ring Ceremony.” While students will still collect their class rings at the ceremony, Edwards says the class council chose to emphasize coming together over the rings.
“It’s called the Third Year Ceremony because a class ring is not really a vital aspect,” Edwards said. “We understand that they are important, and we have them, but we also want everybody to come just to be with each other. We have convocation and we have graduation, but there’s nothing really in the middle.”
Class rings remain a steep expense for those who choose to purchase them. Standard women’s sizes cost $540 and men’s cost $740.
Third-year College student Nick Chu said the ring was expensive, but he chose to purchase one as a way to remember his college experience.
“I think especially seeing the fourth years now that all wear their rings out, I’m excited to have that,” Chu said.
Students could apply for need-based scholarships to receive a free ring. While these scholarships are offered every year, the Council must raise funds from other organizations around Grounds to continue funding.
“It’s all the Third Year Council ceremony committee reaching out to everyone around Grounds to solicit donations,” Edwards said.
This year’s donors include the Alumni Association, the Honor Committee, University President Jim Ryan, the Interfraternity Council and the Z Society.
These organizations were able to donate enough to fund scholarships for 50 students this year, though 105 applied. This marks a decrease from last year, where all 95 students who applied received a scholarship.
Edwards said that last year, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs had more money than usual to donate to scholarship funding.
All third-year students — whether or not they purchased a ring — are encouraged to attend the free event, along with friends and families. No registration is required.
Ditty, along with Liv Schortmann, Class of 2025 vice president, will be speaking at the ceremony with Ryan and other University leaders.