“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

Since 1904, yearbooks at the University at Albany have been a cherished tradition, evolving into an emblem of student life and history. In 1957, they officially transformed into a group funded by the Student Association, marking a new era of student involvement. The birth of the ‘Torch’ title in 1963 ignited a legacy of capturing the essence of university life.

Amidst the turbulent Vietnam War era, Torch became a beacon of unfiltered student expression, boldly showcasing anti-war sentiments and documenting the fervent protests and campus disruptions. Its pages brimmed with controversial imagery, reflecting the raw emotions and activism of the time.

Throughout the years, Torch Yearbook has stood as a guardian of the university’s visual narrative, unparalleled in its scope and significance from the point of view of students. Even today, the torch burns bright with University Photo Service continuing its legacy from its longtime home in Campus Center 305. Students of a new generation continue preserving memories in the same studio and darkroom, ensuring that history continues to illuminate the campus community.

In 2020, students were poised to publish the first Torch Yearbook in six years when the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly shuttered the campus. However, in the subsequent year, the yearbook finally returned to print once more, marking a triumphant resurgence despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The content from Torch Yearbook featured on this website is solely intended for educational purposes and does not necessarily represent the viewpoints of former Torch editors, members, or the University at Albany. All materials showcased in Torch are copyrighted by their respective photographers.

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