As far as Maryland universities go, St. John’s has always been a bit of an outlier. They learn science from Galileo and Newton, read ancient Greek, and have a mean croquet team. And now they have perhaps the least fight-y college fight song we’ve ever heard.
It wasn’t always this way. While it may be known now as a bastion of bookish eccentrics, the school started out as a “quasi-military academy” with varsity football and lacrosse teams, according to alumnus Adrian Trevisan. The former fight song, “St. John’s College March,” dates from 1911 and featured some of the usual fight song rhetoric: “St. John’s forever,” “Fight for her colors,” “United we as brothers stand,” etc. But things have changed a lot over the past century. These days, St. John’s only varsity teams are in crew, croquet, sailing, and fencing. Not to mention that this is a crowd that doesn’t appreciate androcentric language. So last year the call went out for a new fight song, which was unveiled at its 30th annual croquet match against the U.S. Naval Academy.
The new song, penned by current student Charles Branan (with a musical arrangement by Baltimore resident John Bonn, who teaches at Friends School), is notable for talking about books and wisdom and freedom, and not really mentioning fighting or winning. True to form. The lyrics to the new song are below:
True love of wisdom is sheltered in her halls/ Seekers of virtue will answer to her call/ Books and a balance are all the tools we need/ St. John’s forever! She will make us free.
The song proved to be good luck this year; the St. John’s croquet-ists (sporting mustaches, mirrored sunglasses, and baseball caps) defeated the Midshipman 5-0. Check out some pictures of the match here.
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