When Tony was 19 he graduated summa cum laude from MIT with not one but two master’s degrees. His father, the one person Tony wants to impress was cold and unresponsive to the achievement. Howard expected no less and no praise was thrown Tony’s way. Not long after that Howard and Maria died and Tony lost any chance to impress his father.
Point being that even though Tony feigns indifference to what he accomplished, in this scene from IM he is wearing his class ring. Tony is a billionaire, he can have any jewelry he desires but we only ever see him with a watch. This ring costs between $300 and $600, depending on the metal you choose. Pocket change to Tony and yet he wears it to an event where he knows he will be in the public eye, just after his kidnapping when the public and the press will be scrutinizing his every move. Deep down, hidden under all the derision and self loathing, Tony is proud of what he did here. Regardless of what his father said by not saying anything at all, Tony knows it was a huge accomplishment and yes, he is proud of himself for doing it and wearing the ring is his subliminal way of expressing physically what he will never say in words.
(I have panels somewhere where Howard is being a total asshole to Tony when he is on break from MIT, but I really don’t want to dig through all those files right now).