One of the many things students love about the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is the number of traditions celebrated from year to year. The 1961-1962 University of Chattanooga Student Handbook described school traditions as “a rich core of student life” before going on to list over 10 annual events enjoyed by students of that era. Some of these, and their corresponding descriptions from this vintage handbook are below. How many of these traditions do you recognize?

Cover of the 1961-1962 University of Chattanooga Student Handbook

The 1961-1962 University of Chattanooga Student Handbook included information on everything new students needed to know about campus life, such as parking, the Honor Code, and of course, traditions.


“Alumni descend on the University for the celebration…the night before the game you will attend a bonfire and pep rally and will see the presentation of the Homecoming Queen to the Student Body.”

A picture of 1970 UTC Homecoming Queen Phyllis Marie White

Phyllis Marie White was crowned the first African-American Homecoming Queen in university history at the 1970 Homecoming celebrations. University Echo,1970 November 10.

Military Ball

“The Military Ball Sponsored by the ROTC Department is one of the most colorful dances of the year and is climaxed by the crowning of the military queen. The ROTC Department usually invites faculty and students to attend.”

Photograph of Military Ball leaders on the campus quadrangle with Patten Chapel in the background.

Military Ball leaders and runners-up from 1941. Do you spot Patten Chapel in the background? University Echo, 1941 March 14.

Mortar Board All-Sing

“A singing competition between fraternities, sororities, independents, and individual acts. Most of the groups practice for weeks, and the quality of their choral singing is excellent. Even the faculty gets into the act with a skit or choral number.”

Photograph of University of Chattanooga faculty members performing a choral piece.

Faculty choir at the 1957 Mortar Board All-Sing. Their performance took place on a tennis court that was located near the site of present-day Chamberlain Pavilion. University Echo, 1957 May 7.

Sigma Chi Derby

“The Sigma Chi Derby is a competitive event between sororities. This comes in the late spring and is an event full of fun for participants and viewers.”

Black-and-white photograph of Sigma Chi Derby participants sitting and standing on Oak Street.

1976 Sigma Chi Derby participants on Oak Street. The building in the background is the Men’s Gymnasium (later used as the Theater Arts Center), which was located next to Bretske Hall. Moccasin yearbook, 1976.

Honors Day

“If you’ve achieved excellence in any area, this is the day on which you will be recognized. Awards are made, honors announced, and new members tapped into organizations.”

Black-and-white photograph of student Carolyn Delores Higgins approaching podium to accept award.

Carolyn Delores Higgins receives the Black Student Association award for academic excellence at the 1979 Honors Day ceremony. University Echo, 1979 April 6.

Class Night

“Class night comes during graduation weekend. This is the night seniors make their parting bequests to students, faculty, and University.”

A newspaper clipping describing the University of Chattanooga Class Night itinerary for 1948.

A summary of Class Night activities from the 1948 University Echo student newspaper. The program began with class seniors leading a candle-light procession of students to Chamberlain Field. University Echo, 1948 May 31.


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