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Fireworks explode over Ayres Hall at a University of Tennessee commencement ceremony

Torch Night: A Farewell to Thee

Fall 2023

Thursday, December 14, 8:00pm

Thompson-Boling Arena

Spring 2024

Wednesday, May 15, 8:00pm
Ayres Lawn

Rain Location: Thompson-Boling Arena

Torch Night: A Farewell to Thee is one of UT’s oldest traditions. Graduates have the opportunity to symbolically receive the Torch of Service, pledging to serve both the university and their community as responsible and loyal alumni. All seniors, graduating graduate and professional students, and their families are invited to participate.

Information

  • Graduates:
    • Wear your regalia.
    • To arrange disability accommodations, please contact commencement@utk.edu.
    • We estimate the ceremony will last about 30 minutes.
    • Please register to attend. Registration is included in the commencement registration form.
  • Guests:
    • Guests are welcome. You do not need to RSVP for them.

History of Torch Night: A Farewell to Thee

The first Aloha Oe, meaning “a farewell to thee” in Hawaiian, was held May 17, 1926, on Shields-Watkins Field. It was created to be the companion event to Torch Night: A New Beginning, first held for our freshmen in 1925. The first Aloha Oe featured a muddy tug of war, students dressed in grass skirts, and the strumming of ukuleles.

It has since been renamed and become a more formal ceremony, but the purpose is the same: to give the graduating seniors a meaningful conclusion to their undergraduate years. Graduate and professional students are welcome and invited to attend as well.