KU Today: Know your alma mater, the song of the Jayhawks

Kansas fans in the northern student section sing the Alma Mater before tipoff against Alcorn State during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Inspired by an existing tune — but with words changed to reflect the beauty of Kansas University’s campus on “The Hill” — the KU alma mater dates to the school’s early decades.

According to KU history, in 1891 professor George Barlow Penny searched for a school song for the Glee and Mandolin Club to sing on a tour. Just before departing he thought of Cornell’s “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters,” changed a few words and taught it to the glee club.

It’s not just a song for the band, though.

KU students and alumni link arms and sing “Crimson and the Blue” at football and basketball games, commencement and other big events, so you’ll want to know the words.

‘Crimson and the Blue’

Far above the golden valley

Glorious to view,

Stands our noble Alma Mater,

Towering toward the blue.


Lift the chorus ever onward,

Crimson and the blue

Hail to thee, our Alma Mater

Hail to old KU.

Far above the distant humming

Of the busy town,

Reared against the dome of heaven,

Looks she proudly down.


Greet we then our foster mother,

Noble friend so true,

We will ever sing her praises,

Hail to old KU.


(Follow with Rock Chalk Chant)

— Source: www.ku.edu/about/traditions