The Tower Is the Backdrop to Longhorns’ Favorite Memories

Driving into Austin, the city appears slowly, then all at once. But in between all the shiny new high rises and skyscrapers, the UT Tower still stands as recognizable as ever—a signal to students, Austinites, and visitors that big things happen here. Not even the iconic pink dome of the Texas Capitol captures the city’s—or even the state’s—character more strongly. In honor of the upcoming renovation project, we asked alumni to share their most special moments in front of the Tower, from intergenerational love stories to introducing future Longhorns to campus.

“My wife Kristin, BBA ’05, and I stopped by Austin on our way back from a family trip to pick up some fresh Longhorns gear at the Co-Op. Afterward, we walked over to the Main Mall and took some photos while sharing with our kids all the great experiences from our time on the Forty Acres.”
—Jason Knape, BA ’05

“Walking around campus and capturing photos of my son Hayden Rhodes, BS ’23, in his favorite spots was a great way for his family to celebrate his accomplishments and see his love for the campus firsthand.”
—Sonya Rhodes

“After completing my degree as a first-generation college student, I got married at the University Catholic Center with a celebration at the Alumni Center in 2011. My husband and I had a 10-year-old and had been together for 10 years before we tied the knot. I had to get married on campus for all of the trials, wins, and memories the three of us went through while trying to finish my degree.”
—Liliana Cardona, BA ’10, Life Member

“My time at UT Austin provided me with opportunities to pursue my dreams. I was among the first in my family to graduate from a university with a bachelor’s degree. I am currently a chemistry PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Pentelute Lab. You can clearly see how excited I was after I was accepted into the program.”
—David Sarabia, BS ’22

“Kevin Yu, BS ’07, Life Member, and I got engaged in front of the Tower in July 2011. We are both proud alumni of UT Austin, and our relationship started long distance as we traveled between Austin and Dallas. We celebrated 11 years of marriage this past April and have two children (future Longhorns). Kevin and I returned to campus to introduce our daughter, Emilie, to our alma mater in August 2016.”
—Rivann Yu, BA ’06, Life Member

“I’m a former Purdue Boilermaker, but my fiancée Bailey Priddy, BSW ’22, is a proud alumna of The University of Texas. We met at Camp Ozark, a Christian sports and adventure camp, in the summer of 2020, and when the following school year started, I helped her move in. One of our first photos together was in front of the Tower. Fast forward two years later, and I planned the proposal to be in the exact same spot as the first photo. The Tower means so much not only to us, but also to her family. Her grandparents actually shared their first kiss together inside the top of the Tower back in the day.”
—Austin Thayer

“I had to send in two pictures of my most memorable tower moments. The first one was when Texas won the national championship in 2005–06, and then when I graduated! Going to UT was a dream come true. With my father being a UT alumnus, I never wanted to go anywhere else. Every moment I walked past the Tower heading to class was impactful. Now, working at the Texas Exes, I get to see the Tower every day, and it means more than this University could ever know.”
—Megan Springfield, BS ’14, Life Member

“As a first-generation Longhorn, getting my class ring held immense significance for me, and I cherished the opportunity to share it with my family. Standing in front of the iconic Tower, wearing my newly acquired ring, I was overwhelmed with pride and felt a profound connection to The University of Texas and its cherished traditions and values. The journey leading up to this milestone was adorned with countless treasured memories, invaluable friendships, and transformative experiences, for which I will be forever grateful.”
—Darlene Ledesma

“The Tower always served as a beacon of hope for me. Ever since I was young, I dreamed of attending UT, and walking by the Tower every day reminded me of everything I had worked for and motivated me to keep going. The Tower is an ever-present part of the memories of I have of enjoying life as a student. Since graduating, I have worked as a high school teacher in Alief ISD for eight years, and I am about to begin my new role as a school counselor in Katy ISD.”
—Roberta Blackmer Zylberberg, BA ’15


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