“Our aim: a book indicative of this campus and its students… editors turn grey as they push their staff toward the final goal… the staff works steadily in an attempt (sometimes vain) to meet our deadlines… copy and more copy… layout after layout… crop, crop, crop… tempers flare as the time grows short… will we make it?… but finally, a year of college life recorded and preserved for posterity… the Torch staff sits back and waits for the reaction to come.”-Introduction to the 1963 Torch Yearbook
In 1963, the University at Albany student community celebrated Pedagogue’s 50th Anniversary by reinventing itself as Torch Yearbook and foregoing the traditional format of posed group photos. It became the campus’ unique student-led perspective for over five decades through the lens of University Photo Service student photographers, heralding free expression by publishing without editorial control from the University administration.
Yearbooks at UAlbany have a history dating back until as early as 1904. They transitioned into a Student Association-funded group in 1957. During the Vietnam-war era years, the Torch reflected the unfiltered student perspective as anti-war statements with controversial images within its pages and documentation of student-led protests and campus shutdowns. Torch Yearbook served as custodians of the visual history on campus and is unmatched in any other form at the University.
University Photo Service still exists today at their home in Campus Center 305 with a studio and darkroom.