to Alma Mater
We will sing thy praise forever
All thy sons and daughters
Pledge thee victory and honor
Alma Mater Praise be thine
May thy name forever shine
Hail to purple
Hail to white
Hail to thee Northwestern
Thomas Tyra (class of 1954)
after the turn-of-the-century, Northwestern students sang the
original version of the University Hymn in the language of ancient
hymn ("Quacumque sunt vera") was written in 1907 by
Peter Christian Lutkin (1858-1931), who served as the first dean
of the School of Music from 1883 to 1931.
based the song on Franz Joseph Haydns "St. Anthony
Chorale," an Austrian pilgrims hymn that Haydn used
in one of his compositions ("Feldpartita").
lyrics were written by J. Scott Clark, the hymns arranger.
The literal translation of the Latin lyrics was based on the Universitys
motto, the Bible verse Phillipians 4:8, that begins with the phrase
"Quacumque sunt vera," which means "Whatsoever
things are true."
a professor of English at Northwestern from 1892 to 1911, was
fond of Latin and Greek songs and wrote several himself, in addition
to a number of tunes in English. Clarks collaborators were
Daniel Bonbright, former head of the Latin department, and James
Taft Hatfield, another former faculty member and eminent Latin
the early 20th century, the formal song was referred to as the
"University Chant" and later became known as the "University
records indicate that English became the preferred language by
the mid-20th century. The late J. Roscoe Miller, who was 12th
president of Northwestern from 1949 to 1974, noted that there
were times when the "University Hymn" was threatened
Millers tenure, a decision was made to "revive the
Hymn" because interest and enthusiasm for Lutkins song
had dwindled. Despite debate that alteration would detract from
the songs prestige and elegance, English words were put
to the Hymn in the late 1950s. The English lyrics were written
by Thomas Tyra, a 1954 School of Music graduate. However, Tyras
words were not the literal translation of the original Latin text.
Instead, Tyra created the words to fit the song that the Northwestern
community is familiar with today.
the "Alma Mater" has gone through changes over the years,
the tradition and pride associated with the song continues. Today,
the "Alma Mater" hymn is performed by the Marching Band
during halftime at Wildcat football games, and by the orchestra
during formal and special occasions such as commencement or convocation
Lutkin is best known as the composer of the choral anthem "The
Lord Bless You and Keep You," one of his numerous compositions
of sacred music.
Go U Northwestern break right through that line
With our colors flying we will cheer you all the time (U rah rah!)
Go U Northwestern fight for victory
Spread far the fame of our fair name
Go Northwestern win that game
words and music of "Go U Northwestern," the Universitys
popular "fight song" were written by Theodore C. Van
Etten, a 1913 alumnus of Northwestern. Van Etten was a senior
in the Universitys School of Pharmacy and a member of the
Marching Band when he composed it. Van Etten is also credited
for organizing Northwesterns first football band in 1911.
At the time, the band only performed collegiate songs from other
as Van Etten and the other band members were performing a song
of another college prior to a football game between Northwestern
and Indiana in Bloomington, he decided that Northwestern should
have a song of its own.
inspired by the fact that Northwestern beat their Indiana opponents
that day, Van Etten returned home and began to work on the words
and music. He even "put in a Northwestern yell
for good measure," according to an article he wrote for the
December 1929 issue of the Alumni News on how he came to write
"Go U Northwestern."
Etten completed the song, he had it arranged for the Universitys
20-member band. His new song was premiered at halftime of the
Illinois/Northwestern game in Evanston on Nov. 23, 1912, (the
same day that brought a 6 to 0 win for the Purple.)
to Van Ettens personal account, when his new composition
was played in public for the first time, "it went over with
a bang. The crowd wanted to hear it again, and it was repeated."
Soon his song was played, sung and taught to the students from
the manuscript he had sent to the Evanston campus at a time when
he lived on the South Side of Chicago (and attended the pharmacy
school on Northwesterns old downtown campus at Clark and
a modest man, admitted that he was thrilled every time he heard
a crowd sing "Go U Northwestern" or heard his song broadcast
on the radio.
Van Etten was made an honorary letterman and member of the N Mens
Club for his melodic contribution to the University.