UT Tradition, Aloha Oe, Hits 90-Year Milestone

The Aloha Oe ceremony will be held at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at Alumni Memorial Building Cox Auditorium, 1408 Middle Drive.

Aloha Oe is a campus tradition that started on May 17, 1926, on Shields-Watkins Field. It was created to be the companion event to Torch Night, first held for freshmen in 1921. The first Aloha Oe featured a muddy tug of war and a luau theme with grass skirts and the strumming of ukuleles.

Despite changes to the ceremony over the years, its purpose remains the same: to give 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.

Graduating seniors will meet in Alumni Memorial Building dressed in their caps and gowns for the 8:00 p.m. ceremony. The event was moved indoors this year because of the threat of inclement weather.

Christi Branscom, chief operating officer and deputy to the mayor for the City of Knoxville, will be the guest speaker. Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek and Vince Carilli, vice chancellor for student life, also will speak. Outgoing Student Government Association President Will Freeman will address his fellow students, and selected students will read the “Torch” poem.

New this year, the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development and the Student Government Association will host an Aloha Oe Luau from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. inside the concourse area of Neyland Stadium Gate 21. The event will feature dinner, live music, and a photo booth.

CONTACT:

Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365, ksaxon@utk.edu)