The College of Our Fathers
The college of our fathers,
On Manitou so high,
Is dearer far than others,
Her fame will never die.
Her sturdy walls are grounded
Among the stalwart pines,
She stands for truth unbounded
Which Viking blood defines.
Her lofty spires are pointed
Against the distant sky,
For noble deeds anointed
With power from on high.
The precepts she is teaching
Within her walls so wide,
Shall ever be far-reaching
As is the mighty tide.
Her sons and daughters loyal
Sing praises to her name.
The black and gold so royal
Her glories shall proclaim.
We love our Alma Mater!
Long may St. Olaf live!
May God, our Heavenly Father,
His blessing to her give!
“The College of Our Fathers” was written by members of the Class of 1912, the words by Agnes Berge and Clara Fjelstad (Nelson), the music by Maude Hopperstad (Rosenquist ), and was first sung at commencement that year. It became the official college hymn and has remained so to this day.
High on Manitou Heights
High on Manitou Heights
St. Olaf College stands,
There’s the place where I ever long to be,
Where the students are gay
Amid their work and play,
There’s the place where I ever long to be.
Give me a place on the Dear Old Hill,
For fondly I love it still,
I sigh night and day, I long to be all way
At St. Olaf, the College on the Hill.
“High on Manitou Heights” came into being around 1915. It is really not original with us but is an adaptation of an old southern melody by one of the numerous male quartets that Manitou Heights has fostered One of the original lines reads “Where the darkies are gay on every holiday.” The melody and words caught on quickly and each succeeding student generation has sung with fervor of “High on Manitou Heights” . . . `Where the students are gay amid their work and play.
A charming story is told of Mrs. C. A. Mellby. She was attending a concert in Minneapolis. Among the numbers played by the orchestra was a medley of southern melodies. All at once she heard the strains of “High on Manitou” and immediately stood up. A man sitting near-by disgustedly ejaculated, “Sit down. This isn’t the `Star Spangled Banner.’ ”
Onward St. Olaf
Onward St. Olaf steadily!
Onward ye Vikings bold!
We’re out to win this victory;
Fight for the Black and Gold!
Rah! Rah! Bah!
Forward to battle gallantly,
Our sturdy warriors go!
Were all behind them,
Sure to find them
Fighting for Manitou!
“Onward St. Olaf”: One lovely spring day during the 1920’s, Mrs. Mellby telephoned me and excitedly asked me to come to her house for she had something she wanted to show me. When I arrived she said, “We don’t have any good pep songs to sing at our games. All we have are rah, rah yells and neither the college hymn nor “High on Manitou” are suitable. I’ve been working this morning on a pep song and I want you to hear it and tell me what you think of it.” So she played and sang her “Onward St. Olaf Steadily.” I was delighted with it. She asked if I could in some way transmit it to the students for her. I conferred with Miss Ella Hjertaas (Mrs. Herman Roe), who got a quartette of her voice students to come to Mohn Hall to rehearse it and give their opinion of it. They liked it and introduced it at a student body meeting. Ever since it has been a regular feature at basketball and football games, often with the stirring accompaniment of the band.
Fram! Fram! St. Olaf
Christmen, Crossmen in dauntless quest,
Led by the spirit of truth,
Reared for the race a Home in the west
Filled with the song of youth.
Founded in faith to render light,
Radiant today it crowns the height,
Rising glorious and, under God, victorious.
Fram! Fram! St. Olaf! Impelled we sing,
Sing to thee.
Fram! Fram! St. Olaf!
The hilltops ring,
Fram! Fram! Free!
Grant that spirit to lead us still
Onward as ages unroll,
Caught by the Crossmen shrined on the hill,
Steepled to lift the soul,
Give us again the heart aglow
Stirred by the songs of Manitou,
Ever glorious and, under God, victorious.
“Fram! Fram! St. Olaf:” This stirring song is the joint product of two members of the music faculty, the words by the poet-musician, Dr. Oscar Overby, and the music by the composer, Dr. F. Melius Christiansen. In these stimulating words and music they have left us a precious heritage and a compelling summons.
Trumpets, resound from the hill, thro’ the valley;
Echo the thrills of a jubilant throng.
Manitou calls and, responding, we rally
Bringing our tribute and greeting in song.
Hail! Hail! St. Olaf, hail!
Here youth shall long prevail,
Ever renewed as you rise into sight.
Trumpets, triumphantly sound from the height
The call of our college enthroned in the light!
“Trumpets, Resound”: This song with words by Dr. Overby written to the melody of “Sönner av Norge” has not been used as much as it might have been. It is an excellent marching and rallying song and is fun to sing.
Fairest of Homes
“Fairest of Homes” with words written by Dr. Mellby and the music by Mrs. Mellby is a lovely thing. It is primarily an alumni song, but its sentiments are such that every student should know it.
Fairest of homes on the circling hills
Sacred to wisdom’s reign;
Guardian of fame which my fancy thrills
Promise what I may attain;
Halls where I caught the distant gleam
Presage of victory;
Fields where I dreamed youth’s shining dream;
I pledge you my loyalty.
Visions of beauty, passing fair,
Thronging from every clime;
Glory of friendship, rich and rare,
Built in youth’s golden prime;
Impulse to struggle the upward way,
Passion for liberty;
All that shall fruit in the coming day,
St. Olaf, we owe to Thee!
O, may we cling to the call they bring,
Visions that gleam and bum;
O, may we drink of memories spring
When to Thy arms we turn
Fair Alma Mater, robed in light,
Gather thy sons again,
Rise on Thy height like a beacon bright
O Maker and guide of men.
Introduction and Foreword
St. Olaf Builders
“Loyal and Faithful”
Ytterboe Hall Boarding Club
War Comes to St. Olaf
When the Chapel Burned
Dearest of “Homes on the Circling Heights”
A Dream Come True
Second World War Years
Getting Back to “Normalcy”
Some Distinguished Campus Visitors
“The Play’s the Thing”
‘Once Upon a Time’ Traditions and Other Miscellany
Our College Songs