Graduates Take Up ‘Torch of Service’ in Aloha Oe Ceremony

On Tuesday, May 5, nearly 600 soon-to-be graduates gathered on the lawn of Ayres Hall for the annual Aloha Oe ceremony. Aloha Oe is a campus tradition that started in 1926. Despite changes to the ceremony over the years, its purpose remains the same: to give the graduating seniors a meaningful conclusion to their undergraduate years. Soon-to-be-graduates light candles and pass the “Torch of Service” to their fellow students to inspire them to be leaders in their communities.

 

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Seniors process onto the Ayres Hall lawn prior to the ceremony. The group met at the Alumni Memorial Building and walked to the top of the Hill.

 

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Many of the students personalized their graduation caps—this one is decorated with lyrics from “Rocky Top.”

 

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Seniors gather on the Ayres Hall lawn for Aloha Oe.

 

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Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek speaks to soon-to-be graduates gathered for the Aloha Oe ceremony on Tuesday, May 5, on the lawn of Ayres Hall. From left to right, Daniel Richter, SGA chief of staff; Kelsey Keny, SGA president; Melissa Shivers, associate vice chancellor for student life and dean of students; Cheek; Rick Kuhlman, guest speaker, alumnus and director of Knoxville Fellows; and Andre Agassi, president of UT’s Mortar Board.

 

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Fireworks close the Aloha Oe ceremony. Students gathered afterward for a reception and to take photographs.

 

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For more information on the Aloha Oe ceremony, visit the Aloha Oe website.

For more information on the 2015 commencement activities, visit the Commencement website.