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Frank Beamer and his ‘protector’ honored as Virginia Tech class ring namesake, sponsor

Police Capt. Vince Houston, at left, and former coach Frank Beamer run onto the football field.
Police Capt. Vince Houston, at left, and former coach Frank Beamer run onto the football field.

Virginia Tech alumnus and recently retired head football coach Frank Beamer is the Class of 2018 class ring namesake. Capt. Vince Houston of the Virginia Tech Police Department, Beamer’s protector at home and away football games since 1989, is the class sponsor.

Selected by each class, the ring namesake and sponsor are honorary roles. Class of 2018 representatives recognized Beamer for his 29 years as head football coach and Houston for keeping the coach and the campus community safe.

After meeting with Beamer this spring, 2018 Ring Design chair Harvey Creasey III of Richmond, Virginia, a rising junior studying multimedia journalism in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, said, “We mentioned to coach that we noticed he was wearing his 1969 class ring at his retirement announcement. He told us that his Virginia Tech class ring is the one that has given true meaning to all of his many bowl rings.”

Class President Chris Saunders of Malvern, Pennsylvania, a rising junior majoring in marketing and management in the Pamplin College of Business, added, “We felt that selecting Captain Houston as our sponsor would create a great combination. The two have been linked together for so many years.”

Beginning with the Class of 1991, the class ring design process has included the recognition of a distinguished Virginia Tech alumnus, alumna, university president, or administrator as ring collection namesake. The first namesake, former university president Julian Burruss, an 1896 graduate, was honored posthumously. Beamer’s classmate, Ray Smoot was namesake for the Class of 2017.

Officers for each class also choose a university faculty member or administrator to serve as honorary sponsor. Recent sponsors have included Rachel Holloway, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs for Class of 2016, and Dean Robert Sumichrast of the Pamplin College of Business for the Class of 2017.

Since 1993, the Virginia Tech Alumni Association has provided sponsorship and advising to class programs, which includes the class ring tradition.