The iconic UT Tower is more than just one of the most recognizable landmarks in Texas — it’s also a symbol of academic excellence and personal opportunity.
While the standard lighting configuration illuminates the Tower in Austin’s skyline most nights, a handful of other lighting configurations convey signals of celebration, accomplishment or, sometimes, sorrow.
From the orange top best known for celebrating football victories to the windows lit in different formations bidding farewell to a graduating class and welcoming incoming freshmen, the Tower had special lighting configurations 30 times in 2017.
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- The year started with a filming endeavor for which the Tower turned orange for a few hours at sunset two nights in a row.
- In February, the Texas men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams clinched Big 12 Championship titles, prompting the Tower to be drenched in burnt orange lighting.
- The university celebrated Texas Independence Day on March 2 with a burnt-orange Tower that night.
- An orange Tower in March congratulated recipients of three important awards bestowed by the university to deserving faculty and staff members.
- President Gregory L. Fenves honored three individuals — Ardon Moore, Sandy Gottesman and Colonel Leon Holland — with Presidential Citations, and an orange Tower honored the group for extraordinary contributions made to the university.
- The Tower shined with burnt orange lights and “1” on its sides in late March to celebrate the Texas men’s swimming and diving program’s 13th NCAA title.
- The first Tower lighting in April coincided with Honors Day, an annual celebration of the university’s highest achieving students.
- On April 10, the university community remembered and celebrated the life and accomplishments of distinguished alumna Margaret Berry with a darkened Tower.
- In late April, the Tower shined in honor of the recipients of the 2016 President’s Staff Awards, which celebrates and recognizes the contributions of committed staff who are responsible for transforming lives for the benefit of society.
- Texas Army ROTC celebrated its 70th anniversary with a Tower lighting in April.
- The Texas women’s golf team turned the Tower orange after winning the Big 12 Championship.
- On May 3, the Tower darkened in honor of student Harrison Brown, a first-year student who was a victim of the May 1 attack on campus.
- As part of university tradition, the Tower again darkened on the final day of the spring semester as part of UT Remembers, which gives the university community a time to gather in remembrance of students and current and retired faculty and staff who died during the past year.
- The Texas men’s golf team won the Big 12 Championship in April, prompting a Tower lighting to celebrate the conference title.
- Texas Speech — the official intercollegiate competitive speech team in the Moody College of Communication — won its second consecutive national championship and celebrated with a burnt orange Tower.
- On May 13, the Tower darkened to honor the life of Peter T. Flawn, who was twice the president of the university and one of its most distinguished leaders.
- The Tower shined with burnt-orange lights in May to celebrate two national championships — one academic and one in RecSports. A student team from the School of Architecture and the McCombs School of Business claimed first place in the Urban Land Institute Hines competition, and the UT Fencing Club Women’s team won the 2017 USACFC National Championship.
- Coinciding with commencement, the Tower shined with orange lights and “17” displayed on its sides to honor the Class of 2017 and this year’s graduates.
- A Tower lighting in May celebrated the Texas Men’s Track and Field team for winning the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
- In July, the Tower turned orange in honor of alumnus Jordan Spieth and his victory at the 2017 The Open Championship.
- To welcome the new students and the Class of 2021 to the Forty Acres, the Tower displayed “21” on its sides during Longhorn Welcome.
- The Tower glowed with burnt orange lights in September in honor of Regent Steve Hicks’ generosity and the naming of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.
- On September 15, the Tower turned orange to celebrate UT’s 134th birthday.
- Texas Football turned the Tower orange seven times during the 2017 season, once for each of the team’s wins — including for the 33-16 victory over the Missouri Tigers in the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl. As part of UT tradition, the top of the Tower turns orange to celebrate regular-season football victories.
- In October, an orange Tower honored new inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and all members of the Academy.
- In November, the Tower turned orange as the UT community celebrated the naming of the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering and thanked the Hildebrand family for its general support.
- The Tower shined with orange lights on November 10 to honor the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients. They are: John L. Adams, BBA ’66, JD ’69, Life Member; Vice Admiral (Dr.) Raquel Cruz Bono, BA ‘79, Life Member; David O. Brown, ’83; Michael L. “Mickey” Klein, BS ’58, JD ’63, Life Member; David A. Ott, BA ’68, Life Member; and Sonia Pérez, BJ ’78, Life Member.
- The Texas Volleyball team turned the Tower orange after winning the 2017 Big 12 Championship.
- In December, the Tower shined with burnt-orange lights in honor of the Longhorn Men’s Powerlifting Team and to celebrate the team winning the 2017 USA Powerlifting Equipped Division National Championship.
- At the end of the fall semester, the Tower turned orange and displayed “17” on its sides to honor the Class of 2017 and this year’s graduates.
We’re proud of all the reasons we turned the Tower orange this year.
What will you do in 2018 to light the Tower?
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