Benjamin A. Ring was born November 4, 1925 in Catonsville, Maryland, where his father was a gardener at Spring Grove State Hospital. He grew up near Baltimore and attended the University of Maryland from 1943-1947. After earning a BA in history, Ring obtained an instructorship at Virginia Poly-technical Institute, teaching history, economics, and political science from 1948-1950. From 1952 through 1961 Ring held various positions within the Registrar's Office at Johns Hopkins University. At the same time, he worked toward a doctorate in Philosophy. Ring's dissertation, related to Hume's historic skepticism, was twice rejected by his doctoral committee.
Ring began his teaching experience at UND in the 1962-63 school year. He was named chair of the Philosophy Department the following year. Ring taught a full load of undergraduate and graduate classes as well as humanities and honors courses. In 1963 Ring taught at the National Science Foundation summer institute for gifted high school students. He directed the NSF program for the next two summers. In addition to his teaching duties, Ring was active in academic organizations. He served as treasurer (1965-66), vice president (1966-67), and president (1967-68) of the UND chapter of AAUP. He also helped establish an AAUP State Conference, for which he served as president from 1970 through 1971. Associated with his role at the State Conference, Ring chaired the Ethics & Grievance Committee and was appointed the AAUP Observer at meetings of the State Board of Higher Education.
At UND, Ring was a member of the University Senate from 1982-90, serving as its chair during the 1989-90 school year. He also helped establish GITAP and edited its newsletter, Salmagundi. With KFJM-FM, Ring began the series "AGORA of the Air," which brought together a variety of local humanities scholars to participate in the radio forum.
Ring also participated in non-academic organizations. Beginning in 1972, he was an active member of the North Dakota Committee for the Humanities and Public Issues. As a member of NDCHPI, Ring led workshops, acted in Chautauquas, served as a consultant for humanities projects, and spoke to groups and organizations throughout the state. As an outspoken opponent to United States involvement in Vietnam, Ring promoted peace issues at UND and participated in peace conferences held at the University. He was also active in the North Dakota Democratic Party, serving as a precinct committeeman in 1970 and running for a seat in the ND Legislature in 1982.
Ring retired following the 1989-90 school year and moved to Wisconsin with his wife, Beatrice. Sometime later, Ring was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia. He died in his Wisconsin home January 30, 1992.
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