Volunteer “Torchbearer” Statue Unveiled
The administration unveiled the Torchbearer statue, officially named the Volunteer statue, in Circle Park on April 19, 1968. It took more than 30 years for the Torchbearer to go from a sculptor’s winning contest submission in 1931 to the nine-foot-tall statue that stands on campus. During that time, the Great Depression, World War II, disputes over the statue’s older appearance and paunchy physique, and a lack of funding kept the project from being realized. UT had adopted the Torchbearer as its official symbol in 1932 and represented it in yearbooks, class rings, stationery, and commencement programs. The university also sold five-inch tall bronze reproductions of the Torchbearer for decades. The Torchbearer is also the name of the highest student honor conferred by UT as well as the name of our university publication.