[title_box title=”Tuesday Traditions: The Rock”]
When it comes to traditions at the University of Tennessee, there may be none more visually interesting than the rock. Day to day, as the paint becomes thicker, the messages displayed on the rock continually change.
TNJN’s Triple Play host Danielle Whaley recently did a feature on one of the rock’s most well-known painters, Payton Miller.
The rock was first unearthed in the 1960’s and has grown in size over the years, not only from thousands of layers of paint, but also from relocation.
The rock originally sat on the corner of Pat Head Summitt Street and Volunteer Boulevard where the new student health center is. To make room for the new student health center, the decision was made to move the rock diagonally across the street. It now sits in front of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center.
Since the 97.5-ton rock was safely moved to its new home, the tradition of painting it has lived on. The rock continues to display messages ranging from hello’s and goodbye’s to happy birthday’s and marriage proposals.
It is also popular to show pride for Tennessee sporting events.
This summer, a large chunk of paint fell off the beloved rock, allowing current UT students and alumni alike to start a clean slate on an old tradition.
The rock plays such a large role in day-to-day life at UT that WUTK 90.3 FM. one of the university’s radio stations, calls itself ‘The Rock’ and its sports department is known as Rock Solid Sports.
Today, the rock has reached such a pinnacle in UT tradition, students can even buy miniature models around campus.
Featured image by Danielle Whaley
Edited by Cody McClure