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Tower Gets 'Lit'

As familiar as the sight of the University Tower is to students, ex-students, and "furriners," it is not too often that you find someonewho knows the system by which the Tower is lighted, whether it be orange, white, or a mixture of both.

A switchman doesn’t turn the lights on the Tower every night, for that is taken care of by a photo-electric cell atop the Tower. When day-light intensity is less than one foot-candle the floodlights come on, the clock beams, and the read obstruction light goes on. At midnight the floodlights are dampened; then, at dawn the photo-electric cell shuts off the power.

But, as smart as the Tower is about lighting itself up, it doesn’t know when the University wins sports contests, championships, or has holidays. In that case the orange lights are turned on by hand.

The color scheme which the Tower sports on various occasions is as follows:

  • All orange Tower on the nights of Thanksgiving football victories only.
  • Tower shaft (the first twenty stories) white and observation and column decks orange:
    • On nights of football victories.
    • On nights of unqualified Southwest Conference victories in baseball, basketball, track, swimming, and tennis.
    • Nights on which no game or match is played, but on which University wins the Southwest Conference championship.
    • On nights of National Collegiate Athletic Association team championships in track, swimming, tennis, and golf.
    • On nights of NCAA championship playoff victories baseball or basketball if the team is running for the national championship.
    • Easter
    • Graduation
    • On holidays such as: March 2, April 21, May 8, July 4, August 14, November 11, and December 25.
  • White Tower shaft, and observation and column decks alternately orange and white:
    • On nights of "tie" football games
    • On nights the University "ties" for first place in the Southwest Conference championships in football, track, and swimming.
  • White Tower shaft, orange observation deck, and white column deck on nights a football, basketball, or baseball game lost, but the University wins or ties for the Southwest Conference football championship.

Daily Texan. November 1950.
Article by: Unknown

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3 May 1999
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