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Torch Night: A Farewell to Thee

 Fall 2024

Thursday, December 12, 6:00pm
Student Union Pilot Company Ballroom

Spring 2025

Thursday, May 15, 7 p.m.
Ayres Lawn

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 graduating seniors, graduate students, and their families are invited to participate.

Information

  • Torch Night: A Farewell to Thee consists of a pre-ceremony celebration with free food and photo opportunities, followed by the torch lighting ceremony.
  • Graduates will wear their gown. Caps are optional.
  • Spring Torch Night is held outdoors on Ayres Lawn. We highly recommend wearing comfortable shoes that can get wet. The grass on the lawn stays wet long after precipitation. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved indoors.
  • To arrange disability accommodations, please contact commencement@utk.edu.
  • We estimate the ceremony will last about 15 minutes.
  • Please register to attend. Registration is included in the commencement registration form.

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 students a fun and meaningful conclusion to their collegiate experience.