Richard Tilman Vann, Meredith’s second president, wrote the words to our “Alma Mater” in 1904 and the next year a violin professor at the College set them to music. However, in 1907, Dr. Vann himself wrote the music that has been used since that time. Generations of Meredith freshmen were required to memorize the song—yes, all five verses—as part of orientation.
In A History of Meredith College, Dr. Mary Lynch Johnson writes that by using the emphatic shall in the third verse, Dr. Vann issued “a stern imperative to the daughters of Meredith …”
“In thy path the fields shall blossom and the desert shall rejoice
In the wilderness a living fountain spring
For the blind shall see thy beauty, and the deaf shall hear thy voice
And the silent tongue their high hosannas sing.”
Richard Tillman Vann is the grandfather of my husband, William Pennington Vann. I was wondering if there is a framable version of the “Alma Mater” available as I would love to frame it and give it to him as a gift.
Thank you for your comment! What a great idea – while I do not know of anything off hand I would suggest that you contact Martha Fonville in the archives department. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. She may have some ideas and/or know what direction to point you in! Thanks again!
Thanks for your feedback and your sweet story! We’re so glad that you enjoyed the photo this week!
Thank you for posting this printed version of the Alma Mater. I have always remembered the tune and most of the words, especially “where the sons of Carolina taught a nation to be free and her daughters taught their brothers to be brave”. That phrase says so much about Meredith to me. The last time I was part of a crowd singing the alma mater was the most memorable: My daughter’s graduation day in May 1999. Meredith has been an important part of both of our lives.