The Torchbearer

1344 Circle Park Way
Knoxville, TN 37916

Details

About

The Volunteer Statue is actually more famous by its nickname, the Torchbearer. The statue was unveiled in 1968, over three decades after the Torchbearer became UT’s official symbol. The sculptor, Theodore Andre Beck, was the winner of a contest in 1931 to create a symbol of a Volunteer. However, in Beck’s original design, the figure appeared older, paunchy according to some critics, and he held a lantern waist high. Students and faculty objected at times during the design process, even marching to the office of UT President Andy Holt in 1967 to voice their opposition, so Beck modified his design multiple times. He made the figure look younger and more in shape, the clothing less classical, changed the lantern to a torch held high, added a sheathed sword, and put a Goddess of Victory in the figure’s left hand.


In 1932, UT adopted the Volunteer Creed to accompany the representation. “One that beareth a torch shadoweth oneself to give light to others." At the base of the statue, the creed is displayed on a plaque given as the senior gift from the Class of 1995.  The statue is located at Circle Park on the UT Campus.