A Ring Come True

Stu Tentoni and Charlotte Hall

In the nearly 50 years since Stu Tentoni (`74 Ph.D.) graduated from what was then North Texas State University, he has enjoyed a successful career as a professional psychologist and, later, as the coordinator of the counseling center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. But somewhere along the way, Tentoni lost track of the item that physically connected him to his university days, his class ring.

More than two years ago, Tentoni reached out to the UNT Alumni Association to see how he could go about getting a replacement ring. Tentoni was connected with a Jostens representative, who presented him with ring options. The Jostens representative indicated there was only one design mold that represented the university as it was when Tentoni was a student, but he ultimately chose to go with a modern ring design.

Tentoni received his ring in 2021, and made his way back to North Texas after 50 years to get the opportunity to experience the UNT Ring Ceremony and Eagle Ring Dive in person, as the ceremony did not exist when he was a student.

“Around the time I received my ring, a number of medical follow-up appointments precluded me from getting down here two years ago,” Tentoni says. “So, the ring has been in the box for two years. I wasn’t going to put it on until we baptized it.”

Stu Tentoni ('74) and his wife, Charlotte Hall, at the Fall 2023 UNT Ring Ceremony and Eagle Ring Dive.
Stu Tentoni (’74) and his wife, Charlotte Hall, at the Fall 2023 UNT Ring Ceremony and Eagle Ring Dive.

Cut to: the UNT Union South lawn in December 2023, and Tentoni sits next to his wife, Charlotte Hall, on a stage facing hundreds of students and their families at the UNT Ring Ceremony and Eagle Ring Dive. His patience and ambition, along with the support and collaboration of the UNT Alumni Association, have finally brought Tentoni back to North Texas.

“This has been two years in the making and then to find out my wife and I caused all this flurry of activity just because I’m an ‘old geezer’ crashing this party,” he says. “This is something that current students are going to remember for the rest of their lives. It’s an incredible, incredible ceremony.”

Tentoni says he even took a photo of the crowd while he was onstage, a personal tradition that started during his time at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“I used to take students and feature them in presentations to give to the American Psychological Association,” he explains. “And I would introduce the students and they would take center stage. I always took pictures of the crowd sitting there to prove to the university that I did indeed go there and I did what they paid me to do. So, I figured I had to get a picture of the Ring Ceremony crowd because nobody would believe this.”

Reflecting on his time as a graduate student at the university, Tentoni says there seems to be more support systems in place for students now.

“It’s nice to see all the support that the students have now and the fact that the university can turn something simple like this into more of a ritual and ceremony,” Tentoni says.

Tentoni added that the campus atmosphere and levels of engagement between students seems to have changed since the 1970s.

“I saw students walking around campus that actually looked like they were connected,” he says. “They looked like they really wanted to be here. You see people really having a lot of pride in this place.”

After a full day of excitement and anticipation, Tentoni got the moment he set out for and was finally able to dip his ring in the fountains at the UNT Library Mall, located between Willis Library, the Hurley Administration Building and the Student Services Building. The ring now proudly clings to his finger, unlikely to ever return to the box it arrived in.

Tentoni enjoys his retirement from his career as a psychologist, but remains active in the sciences. Diagnosed with a near fatal disease in 2018, Tentoni relied on the research skills he learned while at UNT and reviewed medical literature on his disease. One particular blood value led to his proposing a revised medical algorithm which is now being used with patients like him, who are defying conventional medical diagnostic wisdom. 

“I suspected I wasn’t an outlier,” he says. “My algorithm has uncovered many others like me who can now be diagnosed sooner and receive curative treatments rather than palliative ones.”

Tentoni says that as he looks ahead, he is also reminiscing. Calling UNT his alpha and his omega, he relished the opportunity to return to the place where his adult life began.

“That was another motive for coming because I’m taking my final bows in life and I wanted to see what happened to the place where I got my start,” Tentoni says. “I left North Texas when I headed back to Wisconsin to continue on with what I thought was adult living. But North Texas never left me.”