The Vol Walk is going to look a little different this year.
Peyton Manning Pass is being painted to look like the field where the street's namesake threw all of his Volunteer passes.
Due to UT's Senior Gift Campaign fund, there is now a Power T in the center of the street and checkerboard end zones at either end. This homage to UT's Shields-Watkins football field stretches from Volunteer Boulevard to Phillip Fulmer Drive in front of Neyland Stadium.
"It blends in with the university and really shows our school spirit," said Shawn Finchum, a junior in history. "... It brings more tradition to our school and makes people see that 'Power T' and that checkerboard. It really brings out what is inside the stadium."
The classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 funded the project, with over 700 donors providing the $20,000 necessary to complete it. With the ongoing construction on campus, especially the areas around the stadium, the university had delayed repainting for three years. As of this week, though, students and faculty can walk over the checkerboard end zones or the Power T on the way to class. Karen Simsen, a spokeswoman for UT, announced that the street was officially reopened on August 20th.
Later this fall, the street will get a special dedication, with Manning potentially making an appearance.
"We are scheduling an event for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and have contacted (Peyton Manning) for it. He knows it has been done," Lance Taylor, director of annual giving and student philanthropy, said.
UT's senior classes have a long tradition of giving back.
"The clock tower on the pedestrian walkway was a senior class gift from the class of 1992," Taylor said, adding that the stained glass window in Hodges was a gift from the class of 1995. "The repainting of Peyton Manning Pass is the last physical project that students will do."
Since 2009, students have given back to the college or organization they were involved with.
"From now on, the projects will be more focused on student choice," said Taylor. Seniors from 1991-2011 have raised over $400,000 and had close to 7,500 donors for senior class gifts.
Those who wish to find out more about senior gifts should contact Lance Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-974-8949.