Veronica Spencer
Engineer, Designer, and Maker

Morehouse College Relay Torch

A creative partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College to honor and celebrate 150 years of excellence.

 Lance Shipman Young carries the torch on its first leg to Atlanta.  Photo Credit: Morehouse College Facebook Page, 5/21/17

Lance Shipman Young carries the torch on its first leg to Atlanta. 
Photo Credit: Morehouse College Facebook Page, 5/21/17

Project Background

Project Background

Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically African-American college in Atlanta, GA that was established in 1867. In continuing their longstanding educational partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse commissioned a special commemorative torch that was designed and fabricated by an interdisciplinary team of students from Georgia Tech, with support from Morehouse students.


Goals of the torch:

- Survive a 150 mile run from Augusta to Atlanta while maintaining the original flame.

- Contain a camera capable of live-streaming content.

- Contain a GPS tracker for accurate torch location.

- Have an elegant and commemorative stand to mark the occasion and the torch creation.

An Unlikely Inspiration

An Unlikely Inspiration

The gyroscope subassembly was used to stabilize the flame and the fuel source during the relay. Because the team lacked the time to develop the liquid-gas most commonly seen in Olympic Torches, the flame was fueled by a gel similar to those found in catering canisters. Based on the popular anti-spill baby bowl design, the gyro successfully contained the fuel source and prevented splashes or other failures.

Aesthetic Inspiration

Aesthetic Inspiration

The aesthetics for the Morehouse Torch were devised through a combination of imagery on the campus, as well as imagery that represented the traits of the Morehouse Man - the paragon of responsibility, intelligence, and leadership to which all graduates are held.

Images sourced from my Pinterest mood board for the project:

Making It (x5)

Making It (x5)

Everyone on the team came together to assist with fabrication. Not only did we construct the torches themselves, we also developed an ecosystem to support the torches for the planned relay logistics.


Parts for the gyroscope assembly were made by the Machining Mall, and the torch bodies were powder coated at Snyder Cycles. We also purchased custom enamel medallions sporting the 150th Anniversary logo. Aside from that, everything was fabricated and tested at the Invention Studio at Georgia Tech, utilizing our waterjet and sheet metal tools.