Have you noticed more and more University of Dallas girls showcasing a sparkling rock on their ring fingers? If so, it just might be a reflection of the “Ring by Spring” ritual that’s surfacing across campus since students returned from Christmas break.
The engaged couples say they spend hours with their significant others talking about the commitment of marriage and in prayer for divine guidance. They are excited, in love and
eager to spend their lives together.
And, on occasion, that special moment comes with a chuckle.
When Matt Stamper proposed to Adrienne McCabe, she was so ecstatic at the proposal that she forgot to say “yes,” keeping Stamper bent at the knee for longer than he’d hoped.
“I kind of forgot I had to say ‘yes,’” McCabe said. “I thought the answer was obvious. Also, I was kind of hyperventilating, so talking was difficult. Matt still says I made him wait forever down on his knees!”
In the December engagement of seniors Tim Blaxton and Jessica Mollner, Tim proposed after they received the sacrament of Reconciliation, hoping that in the future they would enter into another sacrament together – marriage.
“I’m really looking forward to being together and supporting each other as we struggle while trying to find some sort of certainty in our unknown future,” Mollner said. “It’s comforting to know that even though we have no idea where we’ll be three months from now, we’ll at least have each other.”
The couple said they spent 40 days in prayer writing letters to God to ensure their marriage was in accord with God’s will.
Although no scientific evidence proves that UD has higher “engagement rates” than other colleges, when considering that currently 11 couples are engaged and three already married of the approximate 270 students in the graduating class, UD comes out pretty high.
Sybil Novinski, who has been with the university since the 1960s, says Ring by Spring “has gone on since the beginning of the institution ; that is, people begin looking for a mate during college and decide on one by the end.”
But not everyone. As a senior previously in a two-year relationship, Becca Burns said, “I am completely OK with not getting a ring. This is a big point in my life and a lot of changes are about to happen.
If you are engaged, you may have to give something up because it doesn’t work for you and for your partner.”
David Hoffmann, men’s soccer coach since 2003, said he has seen at least 10 of his players marry straight out of UD. “[It’s] a niche school, so you are more likely to find that match that fits some of these kids’ narrow criteria for a spouse,” Hoffmann suggests.
Over the years, UD couples that engage and marry early have shown several overarching traits. Of the early-to-marry couples, at least one partner is a conservative Catholic and has remained chaste before marriage. The couples also dated for several years before making the life commitment.
Another couple planning a walk down the aisle is Madison Milliken and Danielle Schumer. Milliken said the two “met at a retreat on April 4, 2009, talked all summer, started officially dating on Aug. 1, 2009 and have been together ever since.”
And that leads to one to wonder: Who’s next?