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Alma Mater

Sing we to our Alma Mater,
O. S. U., O. S. U.;
None are nobly, truly greater,
O. S. U., O. S. U.;
Friends may pass and fame may perish,
Hope be dalliant, life untrue;
But thy mem'ry e'er we'll cherish,
O. S. U., O. S. U.

Sing we to the lives that made thee,
O. S. U., O. S. U.;
And the lives that since have stayed thee,
O. S. U, O. S. U.;
Thou their hoping, as they ever,
Strove to strengthen thee anew;
Thou the gem of our endeavor,
O. S. U., O. S. U.

Ours the hope to tell thy story,
O. S. U, O. S. U.;
Hope to live thy larger glory,
O. S. U, O. S. U.;
Hope to keep thy sterner knowledge,
And thy tend'rer picture too,
Shade and dale enshrined college,
O. S. U, O. S. U.


Before Carmen Ohio was adopted as the Alma Mater of The Ohio State University, this song was by all accounts is the original Alma Mater of The Ohio State University. It was written by Rev. Ralph P. Smith, in th early days of Ohio State. Unfortunately, the song books do not indicate the year, but one must assume this song dates back to the early 1870s. In October, 1906, Carmen Ohio was first published in The Lantern (October 10th), and it will eventually be adopted as the Alma Mater of The Ohio State University. Carmen Ohio was performed and sung at the 1906 Homecoming Game (Ohio State - Michigan on October 20th) and became instantly popular with the student body of Ohio State. It is not clear, when Alma Mater was replaced by Carmen Ohio as Ohio State's Alma Mater, but it is suspected that the adoption took place soon after the October, 1906 publication. We know that by 1916, Carmen Ohio was firmly in place as the Alma Mater of Ohio State and that Alma Mater faded from use. In the 1916 and 1923 editions of Songs of Ohio State University, Alma Mater was published.

Additional note, sometime between 1902 and 1916, the "O. S. U"'s were changed to "O-hi-O", in the lyrics.

Photo: 1905 University Hall, Courtesy of The Ohio State University Archives


Please e-mail any comments, problems or suggestions to nmetro@sgsosu.net

Webmaster: Nick Metrowsky
The Ohio State University, BA, History, 1979
Life Member The Ohio State University Alumni Association
Life Member of The Ohio State University President's Club
Annual Member of The Ohio State University Varsity "O" Association

Last Updated: 18 September, 2015


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