University of Texas Lights Up Famous Tower for National Championship

For the 4th-straight year, the University of Texas has lit up the famous Main Building Tower burnt orange with a white number 1 in honor of a national championship by its men’s swimming & diving teams.

The tradition began in 1931, when famous engineer Carl J. Eckhardt Jr. became the head of the school’s physical plant: a position put him in a position to supervise construction of the new building. He lit it up with orange flood lights for the first time in 1937, and a decade later helped develop guidelines for use of the orange lights. An all-orange building with a white 1 on all sides indicates a national championship. The tower glowing orange (with no white 1) represents a win over long-time rivals Texas A&M in football, major academic student and faculty achievements, commencement, Texas Independence Day, and club sport national championships.

Other guidelines memorialize solemn occasions (including a darkened tower with a white cap and observation deck in remembrance of rivals’ Texas A&M bonfire tragedy), and special effects like fireworks or numbering for commencements and other celebratory occasions.

The men’s swimming and diving teams are now responsible for 14 of the school’s 46 NCAA national championships (23 men’s and 23 women’s in total acorss all sports). The women’s swimming team has 7 on their own. This is in addition to 4 men’s football national championships, and 5 other major varsity national championships by sports that would later become NCAA sports, including women’s swimming, who were AIAW champions in 1981 and 1982.

See photos and videos of Sunday night’s tower lighting below:

Full guidelines for the tower lighting from the university:

TOWER ENTIRELY WHITE

  • Standard lighting configuration

TOWER ENTIRELY ORANGE

  • Faculty academic achievements (Academic Convocation)
  • Student academic achievements (Honors Day)
  • Staff achievements (Staff Recognition Day)
  • Academic team achievements with #1 displayed
  • UT’s birthday: Sept. 15
  • Commencement
  • Texas Independence Day: March 2
  • Football victory against Texas A&M University
  • Big 12 Conference championship (all sports)
  • Student organization sports club national championships
  • Other events at the President’s discretion

TOWER WITH ORANGE TOP AND WHITE SHAFT

  • Football regular season victories, except Texas A&M
  • Football bowl game victories other than national championship
  • Other events at the President’s discretion

TOWER ENTIRELY ORANGE WITH #1 DISPLAYED

  • National championships
  • Other events at the President’s discretion

DARKENED TOWER WITH WHITE CAP AND OBSERVATION DECK
(All other levels dark, including windows)

  • UT Remembers (annual memorial service)
  • Tower Garden dedication
  • Significant solemn occasions, e.g. Texas A&M bonfire tragedy
  • Other occasions at the President’s discretion

TOWER WITH SPECIAL EFFECTS (FIREWORKS; NUMBERING)

  • Commencement
  • Other occasions at the President’s discretion

 

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I-DA-HO

Great tradition and well deserved by UT swimming.

Bear drinks beer

& Diving

Jeff

I think what the deciding factor was not diving (they came in well-regarded), but how well Shebat performed and mainly the two freshman–Katz and Sam Pomajevich. Katz won 200 bk. but also was 4th on 100 bk (the next best placement for a freshman was 4th). Sam placed in 3 indi. events as a freshman (I think only one to accomplish this). Overcoming Schooling and perhaps not the best relays, makes this special. I also thought that Cal. would be favored next NCAAs, but being at their home pool, I am all in with UT. I am looking forward to next yr., I think they will do extremely well. I love watching Haas and will be rooting for him to… Read more »

Sccoach

The deciding factor actually was diving though

Swimmer

Looks Wolfpack red to me. Go Pack!!!

Jim Fletcher

It seems like your total of 46 national titles is incorrect. According to the UT athletics web site, they now have 54 national championships, although three of the women’s team titles appear to have been AIAW (rather than NCAA) championships, since they weren’t yet NCAA-sponsored titles at that time. Nonetheless, thanks for the article!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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