University and Zoo Celebrate Graduating Students with Jaguar

Zoo Ring DaySAN ANTONIO —Texas A&M University-San Antonio and San Antonio Zoo celebrated students who have earned their University Ring this spring, featuring special guest B'alam the Jaguar. A host of University faculty, staff and students, including President Salvador Hector Ochoa, attended the event. 

As part of Ring Day, University ring boxes are placed in a ceremonial chest crafted by Practicum of Construction Management students from South San High School. This chest symbolizes the University’s collaboration with the ASPIRE Network, an educational partnership aimed at empowering South Bexar County schools, districts, and families. 

Minahil Farhan, a senior at A&M-San Antonio, originally from Pakistan, expressed her gratitude to the University for helping her obtain an education and make her family proud.

"Having my ring in the chest symbolizes what my parents have done for me," she said.  

Nearly 300 ring boxes were placed in the University Ring Chest, which took center stage in the jaguar habitat beneath the Pantera Walk, sponsored by A&M-San Antonio. An elevated catwalk system allows the jaguars to roam through the habitats of different animals, including birds and monkeys. In true Jaguar spirit, B'alam oversaw the ring boxes within the habitat before they were taken back to the University, where they will be officially presented to the students during the on-campus Ring Day, creating a memorable experience for everyone involved.   

“Ring Day has evolved into a delightful tradition, bringing joy not only to students and guests but also to B'alam the Jaguar," said Angela Garza, senior animal care specialist at San Antonio Zoo. "The unique box and scents serve as a valuable form of enrichment for B'alam, offering a range of sensory experiences that help preserve, stimulate, and nurture B'alam's inherent animal instincts. We wish each of the Texas A&M - San Antonio Jaguars an exciting adventure ahead and look forward to their positive contributions to securing a future for wildlife."


About Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Established as a stand-alone university in 2009, Texas A&M University-San Antonio is a comprehensive four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in South San Antonio, the University offers 39 undergraduate degrees and 23 graduate degrees to about 7,620 students. A&M-San Antonio is home to the Henry G. Cisneros Institute for Emerging Leaders and the Cyber Engineering Technology/Cyber Security Research Center. The University holds the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation and is one of 39 higher education institutions in the U.S. to have received the Seal of Excelencia certification from Excelencia in Education for its support of Latino student success. More than 77 percent of A&M-SA students identify as Hispanic, and approximately 72 percent are the first in their families to attend college. A&M-San Antonio is a military-embracing institution; the University was recently awarded the 2023 Gold Veteran Education Excellence Recognition Award (VEERA) from the Texas Veterans Commission. Visit for more information. #onamission

About San Antonio Zoological Society

San Antonio Zoological Society was established in 1929 and is a nonprofit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. The society operates San Antonio Zoo, Will Smith Zoo School, Edutainment, Center for Conservation and Research at San Antonio Zoo, and Kiddie Park. 

About San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo, operating since 1914, is a nonprofit zoological facility committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo's mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round. San Antonio Zoo operates the largest nature based preschool in the country, Will Smith Zoo School, the Center for Conservation and Research, and Kiddie Park. San Antonio Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, and Humane Certified by American Humane.