Alma Mater

When my wife Anita and I arrived on the campus of Wisconsin State Teachers College in Platteville in 1942, the enrollment of the school consisted of 12 disabled World War II veterans and 100 women students. The enrollment of students at UW-Platteville today is over 5,300. Outside of a few World War II songs, Platteville had just one so-called "Alma Mater." This song was a literal transcription of the Welch national anthem entitled "Men of Harlech." Sensing a need for an alma mater that was simpler to sing, I chose to use the Welch anthem, but to eliminate the repetitious parts of the song. In doing so I reduced it from 32 bars to 20. Fitting a text to the Platteville "Alma Mater" was not easy, as I didn't want it to become sentimental or mawkish. Here is the Platteville text:

Alma Mater
Alma Mater, grand and glorious,
We shall ever be victorious.
Loyal are we to you dear Platteville
Pioneers, e'er we'll be
We shall win her honor
Praise be ever on her.
Onward, upward to the fore,
None shall falter evermore.
Alma Mater grand and glorious,
Wrought by loyalty.

Fight Song
Come on you Pioneers of Platteville,
Come on you team of orange and blue.
We are with you one and all,Team of Platteville strong and tall.
And we'll fight, fight we're for you.
Come on you Pioneers of Platteville,
Come on you sons so good and true.
We will fight, fight, fight,
With all our might
And we'll win, win this game.

Fight Song

I composed the UW-Platteville "fight song," at a later date. By then, the Platteville "Mining School" and the Platteville "Teachers College" had merged into the University of Wisconsin Platteville after many appellation changes. Hence the reference to "orange" in the "fight song" is to the traditional color of engineering and "blue" to the traditional color of education. The fight song is frequently played and sung at athletic contests. Here's the text:


Note: William Dennis, a UW-Platteville professor emeritus of music, recently recorded the UW-Platteville Alma Mater and the Pep Tune for the campus carillon, or bell system. Each day at 9 a.m. the Alma Mater, and at 3 p.m. the fight song, both as performed by Dennis, can be heard ringing throughout campus. Above is Dennis' account of his creation of these two songs, which hold a special place in the hearts of tens of thousands of UW-Platteville alumni and friends.

William Dennis
William Dennis