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Torch Night Continues Legacy of Leadership

Torch Night is one of my favorite traditions. It’s a ceremony that goes back almost 100 years, and brings together our entire first-year class in one place for one night. It sets the tone for their entire academic career, reminding them of the responsibility they have as Volunteers.

As part of the ceremony, upperclassmen pass the Torch of Preparation to our first-year students. As they accept it, our new Vols make this pledge:

“I accept this torch
And pledge to represent my university and my fellow Volunteers
With honesty, compassion, and courage.

I commit to stepping forward in moments big and small,
To serve and to lead
And to light the way for others.”

This ceremony represents what sets our students apart. We are not just teaching our students the knowledge and skills they need to be great teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, engineers—we are also preparing them to be great leaders.

This is why students from all over Tennessee and the country want to be Volunteers. It’s why employers want to hire Volunteers.

Volunteers know what it means to step forward in moments big and small to lead and to serve and to light the way for others.