Monday, August 07, 2006

Alma Mater

Mike D. Class of '60: Does anyone out there know who wrote the words to the Alma Mater- "On the City's Northern Border, Reared Against the Sky"?

Sula Class of '68: I remember in Jr. High in music class learning that it wasn't an original (tune or words) and there was talk of a contest for someone to write a new one. I tried my hand at it and wrote one but never submitted it. Due to lack of participation I think it fell through. But sure enough, here's what I found when googling the first line:

"On the city's northern border,
Reared against the sky
Proudly stands our Alma Mater
As the Years go by.
Chorus
May it ever be our watchword."Conquer and Prevail."
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater
Dear old Wofford, hail!
(2nd verse omitted)

Wofford [Carolina] shares the tune to its alma mater with many other institutions of higher education, including Cornell, Vanderbilt, Birmingham Southern, and the University of North Carolina. The lyrics are credited to Dr. Keener C. Frazer '20, who went on to become a distinguished professor of international law and political science at the University of North Carolina. However, the oldest version of the alma mater in print is found in 1923 Wofford Journal, with the first line "On the city's western border." This apparently was simply an editing error, as the 1925 Bohemian has the present reference to the northern border. In fact, in those days, Wofford was on the city's outskirts. In the 1960's, many area colleges began replacing their traditional alma maters with more original tunes. A professor and student at Wofford wrote a new alma mater in 1966. This proposal never passed the Student Government Association, as it had strong opposition from the alumni, students and The Old Gold and Black."

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