The spirit of the Y lives on in BYU’s school songs.
BYU fans have been singing the praises of the university for more than a century, thanks to the efforts of a teenage student who used her poetry skills to compose “The College Song” in 1899. Another student gave BYU a reason to cheer with a rousing fight song.
“Both songs have enjoyed a rich heritage at BYU,” says Linda M. Palmer (BS ’71), executive director of the BYU Alumni Association. “The song we refer to as ‘The Cougar Song’ and sing at our athletic events no doubt has a permanent place in the hearts of our alumni. Although less familiar to today’s student body, our Emeriti Alumni Association sings ‘The College Song’ with vigor and enthusiasm at all its events. Both are deeply rooted in the university’s history.”
Annie Pike Greenwood’s (BS 1900) “College Song” emerged in response to the growing popularity of college songs nationwide at the end of the 19th century. Several attempts were made to compose BYU’s official alma mater song before Greenwood penned the words “All hail, the college that we love.”
Greenwood later became a well-known author and poet. As a schoolteacher she wrote several books and contributed to local and national publications. In 1925 she was honored with the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. She died in 1956.
Clyde D. Sandgren (BS ’37) wrote the words and music to “The Cougar Song,” which has become the anthem of BYU sports and one of the greatest BYU traditions. He wrote the song in the 1930s and later added a special dedication: “To all BYU students who so valiantly served their country in World War II.”
Today the fight song can be heard throughout Utah Valley after each touchdown and field goal at football games. Sandgren also wrote many other songs, including “The Old Y Bell,” sung at the original dedication of the Victory Bell on upper campus. Later, Sandgren served at BYU as general counsel, as a vice president, and for four years as the Alumni Association president. He died in 1989.
THE COLLEGE SONG
All hail the college that we love,
At the throne, the throne of wisdom’s sway,
Oh, let us lift our songs above
The thronging multitude today.
No pride nor riches here may sue:
The head, the heart, the hand
United must be true—
Be true to thee, our white and blue,
When they join our happy band.
Then cheer anew for the BYU
We’ve come to work, to live, to do;
We’ll raise our standard—bear it through;
Our hearts are true to the BYU
No college emblem half so sweet
As our colors, colors pure and true,
No college banner that we greet,
Like thee, our dear old white and blue.
No youth its beauty e’er denies;
Such thought no maid allows,
For blue is in her eyes,
For blue is in her bonnie eyes,
And of white her thoughtful brow.
Copyright © 1927 Brigham Young University
THE COUGAR SONG
Rise, all loyal Cougars and hurl your
challenge to the foe.
We will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, strong, and true
Wear the white and blue.
While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on, Cougars, it’s up to you. Oh!
Rise and shout, the Cougars are out
Along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As you unfold your vict’ry story.
On you go to vanquish the foe
For Alma Mater’s sons and daughters.
As we join in song in praise of you our
faith is strong.
We’ll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.
Copyright © 1947 Clyde D. Sandgren Jr.