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The Alma Mater In The 80s May Have Brought Shame

There’s a familiar sense of tradition that Penn State students know every time they file through Gate A. While we’re no stranger to singing the alma mater with arms around each other, it wasn’t always like that. Years ago from the 60s through the 80s, many students didn’t know the words to the alma mater. It wasn’t until recently that we started singing the alma mater after the games, courtesy of Bill O’Brien

According to Penn State Sports Marketing professor John Powell, students used to sing “we don’t know the goddamn words” instead of the lyrics that are engraved into most of the brains of Happy Valley residents. Powell is a proud Penn Stater and singing the wrong lyrics of Penn State’s beloved alma mater really bothered him.

While he doesn’t know how it started or why it stopped, he suspects that singing the alma mater returned with the addition of electronic scoreboards that show the words. “Students no longer had an excuse for not knowing the words,” he said. Especially with the recently added new scoreboards it’s no longer a challenge to memorize the lyrics after a home game.

As a proud Penn State alumnus himself, Powell expressed himself being content with students singing the alma mater every day. “I am so proud of them, especially with the emphasis on ‘may no act of ours bring shame.'”

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About the Author

Jess Frezza

Jess is a PR major with some random minors who, despite being a Jersey native, still bleeds blue and white. You can find her thinking it’s normal to break out into past THON lines dances or being called some variation of her last name. If you think you see her on campus, she's the one who tripped and/or spilled coffee on herself. Tweet her a bad pun and a puppy picture at @jessfrezza16 or exchange your ACL tear story with her at [email protected]


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