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Sheet music showing the notes and words for the alma mater
Alma Mater Sheet Music, circa 1955

The Alma Mater of William & Mary was written by James Southall Wilson, class of 1904, set to the tune of Annie Lisle, an old Welsh ballad by H.S. Thompson (Athletics--Cheers and Fight Songs, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary). The tune has been used by high schools and universities across the United States as their alma mater, including Cornell University.1 The line "Bless the College of our boyhood" in the Alma Mater was changed to "Bless the College of our fathers" in the 1928-1929 student handbook (the first class of women students were admitted in fall 1918). There were discussions and contests to change the Alma Mater in at least 1941 and circa 1959.

1902-1928

Hark! the students voices swelling
Strong and true and clear.
Alma Mater's love they're telling,
Ringing far and near.

Chorus

William & Mary loved of old
Hark upon the gale,
Hear the thunders of our chorus
Alma Mater--Hail.

All thy sons are faithful to thee,
Through their College days,
Singing loud from hearts that love thee,
Alma Mater's praise.

Iron-shod or golden-sandaled
Shall the years go by
Yet our hearts shall weave about thee
Love that cannot die.

God, our Father, hear our voices
Listen to our cry;
Bless the College of our boyhood,
Let her never die.

-J. S. Wilson, 1902

1928-

Hark! the students voices swelling
Strong and true and clear.
Alma Mater's love they're telling,
Ringing far and near.

Chorus

William & Mary loved of old
Hark upon the gale,
Hear the thunders of our chorus
Alma Mater--Hail.

All thy sons are faithful to thee,
Through their College days,
Singing loud from hearts that love thee,
Alma Mater's praise.

Iron-shod or golden-sandaled
Shall the years go by
Yet our hearts shall weave about thee
Love that cannot die.

God, our Father, hear our voices
Listen to our cry;
Bless the College of our fathers,
Let her never die.

- J. S. Wilson, 1902

References

William & Mary Choir singing the Alma Mater

 

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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.