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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- MIT's sophomores have made over the Brass Rat in their own image.
The 1,078 members of the class of 2002 -- the first to purchase Brass Rat graduation rings in the 21st century -- have adopted up-to-date symbols in the ring's design that celebrate their life on campus.
The bearded scholar in MIT's traditional mens et manus seal has been replaced by a woman holding a laptop computer instead of a book. Women make up 43 percent of the class and 41 percent of MIT's student body. The blacksmith's hammer is now a picket sign, "just as many students have put down their books to stand up for their beliefs," the ring brochure explains.
The podium still holds the traditional stack of books, but the lamp of knowledge has been redesigned. It now depicts the 1999 hack of MIT's great dome made up as R2D2, the robot in Star Wars, celebrating "one of the greatest unofficial traditions of MIT."
One symbol survives: the traditional beaver, known as "nature's engineer," adorns the centerpiece of the design, thus the Brass Rat.