It might seem like a big stretch to connect Longwood, a class ring, skydiving, and a casino night. But for David Lydiard '84, there is a joyous connection among all of these seemingly disparate items.

Soon after graduating from Longwood, Lydiard went skydiving with a group of friends. “After training all day, we went up in a small single-engine aircraft,” remembers Lydiard. “Before we jumped, the jumpmaster said, ‘Take off your jewelry,’ and put everyone’s jewelry (including my Longwood class ring) into what was supposed to be a zipped pocket in his jumpsuit.”

That pocket somehow became unzipped and Lydiard’s ring was lost in the skies.  “It was a very exciting day but the only down side was losing the ring,” says Lydiard. “Throughout the years, I thought I would get around to getting another one but just never did.”

Fast forward 35 years later to Longwood Alumni Weekend 2019. Lydiard was enjoying the Late Late Night Casino, a new addition—which he describes as “brilliant” and “well put-together”—to the weekend’s festivities. “I saw that a Longwood class ring was listed among the raffle prizes available,” he says. And he was pleasantly surprised to learn that alumni like him, who graduated from Longwood College (before it became Longwood University), can have the college’s name on their ring.

 “Even if you don’t wear it right now, it’s going to mean something to you down the road."

David Lydiard '84

After learning that casino participants could purchase raffle tickets with their winnings, Lydiard set his sights on replacing his long-lost class ring. “I played blackjack throughout the night, started betting heavier with my ‘funny money,’ and went on a winning streak,” he says.

“The student blackjack dealers learned the story of my lost ring and were very supportive of my efforts to win a replacement,” says Lydiard. “Friends who faded out early gave me the cash they had left which helped me beef up my bets.” Toward the end of the evening, Lydiard had $460,000 in pretend money which he used to buy 460 raffle tickets.

“Amid much fanfare and drama during the drawing for the ring, Nicole (Perkins, Longwood’s director of alumni engagement) stuck her hand in the ticket barrel, slowly pulled out a ticket, squealed and said my name,” Lydiard exults. “I was ecstatic.”

“It’s a visual reminder and a touchstone for our incredible Longwood experience.”

David Lydiard '84

“The ring meant a lot to me when I got it as a junior at Longwood and will once again because Longwood was a wonderful and truly unique experience,” says Lydiard.  He says that the ring is a reminder of his time at Longwood which gave him the skills, knowledge and self-confidence to be successful. A business administration major with a concentration in management, Lydiard has worked in a Fortune 500 company, owned and sold a successful bottled water business, and now works as a top-producing realtor with RE/MAX.

He is thrilled to once again have a Longwood ring in his life and encourages other alumni and current students to get one. “Even if you don’t wear it right now, it’s going to mean something to you down the road,” he says. “It’s a visual reminder and a touchstone for our incredible Longwood experience.”

All alumni and students that have purchased a ring this year through February 1, 2020 are invited to participate in Longwood’s Ring Ceremony. 

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