Shaiane Dickerson Takes the Purple Plunge

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ABILENE, TX (09/24/2013)(readMedia)-- Shaiane Dickerson of Clyde, Texas, took part in Hardin-Simmons University's Sophomore Ring Event, September 19, 2013.

The speech/language pathology major was one of 151 sophomores on the Hardin-Simmons University campus brave enough to see what the big bowls of purple dye were all about.

Second-year HSU students plunged their hands into bowls filled with a mysterious dark purple concoction as they fished for a representation of what could be their destiny just three years from now.

Sophomores waited in line on Anderson Lawn to plunge their hand to the bottom of one of the bowls containing key chains with a mock senior ring attached. The idea is for students to slip their forefinger through the keychain and bring it out dangling in the classic Cowboy-gun hand sign.

The sixth annual Sophomore Ring Event attracted 57% of all returning sophomores, a statistic that thrilled Stacey Martin, HSU's director of undergraduate academic advising. "I was really pleased with the great turnout, and especially thrilled considering that it was raining the whole time!" said Martin. "Everyone had such a great attitude, students just took the rain in stride."

Adding to the attractiveness of the event were the Chick-fil-A sandwiches given to everyone sporting a purple hand.

"The event is to remind sophomores that if they stay focused, they will get a real class ring as a gift from the university just before they graduate," said Britt Jones HSU director of alumni relations. "The keychain serves as is a symbol of their eventual graduation."

Held near the fire hydrant that marks the grave of bulldog mascot Fritz (Dam-it), from the class of 1920, the setting was the perfect stage for establishing the tradition of allegiance to the university.

Sophomores were supplied with a bandana to wipe off the purple whatever-it-is, with many wearing it as a fashion statement to match their purple hand. Past sophomores say it takes at least a couple of days for the purple stain to wear off.

While many of the students wonder about the ingredients for the mysterious Kool-Aid-smelling cocktail, they won't be getting any recipes from Jones or Martin. The recipe is so secret that it is kept under lock and key in a vault in Britt Jones' alumni office. Okay, not really, but the recipe is still a secret.

About Hardin-Simmons:

HSU has an enrollment of approximately 2,300 undergrad and graduate students from 31 states and 12 countries. HSU has a 12:1 student faculty ratio with a campus that sits on 228 acres, with 86% of HSU's faculty members holding the highest degree in their field.

The university is named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best universities in the western region of the United States and is listed by The Princeton Review as a Top Ten Best in the West University. It is a member of the Colleges of Distinction and the Chronicle of Higher Education named HSU to its list of Great Colleges to Work For. HSU has been name as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media and is a member of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Seven undergraduate degrees encompass 70 major fields including: athletic training, criminal justice, social work, counseling, sociology, psychology, molecular biology, biochemistry, environmental science, religion, music, art, theatre, teaching, communications, business administration, accounting, and management. Ten graduate degrees, encompassing 26 programs, include the Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Education in Leadership, and the Doctor of Physical Therapy.

International study programs include England, Austria, Hong Kong, Spain, and Australia.

Hardin-Simmons University, founded in 1891, is a private Christian liberal arts university, and has been affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists) since 1941.