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On Fridays we wear orange—though you won’t feel out of place wearing it every other day of the week, too. We sing “Rocky Top” often, and we sing it loudly. Our biggest campus celebrity is a Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey. Which is to say, we have some fun while also living the Volunteer spirit through leadership and service and helping discover new elements (yep, that’s why Tennessine is now on the periodic table).

“My favorite UT tradition is the painting of the Rock. I love to see the creativity that pops up on the Rock especially before game days.”

Ifedayo, Senior, Mechanical Engineering, Antioch, TN


In 1953, UT adopted Smokey, a Bluetick Coonhound, as our official mascot, six decades ahead of the breed’s recognition by the American Kennel Club.

Pride of the Southland

In 1869, our band began as a corps of cadets. It took 80 years before the band became known as the Pride of the Southland in 1949. This year the band, at 300+ members strong, will celebrate 150 years.

Roots Run Deep

Founded in 1794, UT is big on tradition, and we are proud of our humble beginnings as the first public university chartered west of the Appalachian Divide.

“Singing the alma mater at football games is my favorite tradition—it gives me chills!”

Audrey, Senior, Political Science and Child and Family Studies double major, Spotsylvania, VA

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