TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

School Songs

The First School Song

The School had no official song until Basil Brewer ('01), was inspired to write one while working as a Student Assistant in the Science Department the summer of 1902. According to him it happened this way:               

“I was called upon to substitute for Professor Weatherly, head of the Science Department ...  In between classes, I attended music classes now and then, and at one of these sessions, the subject came up that the college had no school song.  The Princeton song, “The Orange and the Black,” always had been popular, and in between classes on the laboratory table, and as I recall it, in one to two days’ time I wrote the words of “The Purple and the White.”  A year or two later, the name was changed to “Old Missou,” the change being, you might say, by common consent.

Professor Gebhart, head of the Music Department, liked the words immediately and the music class sang them to the tune, of course, of “The Orange and the Black.”  The class was pleased, whereupon Professor Gebhart ordered several hundred copies printed and without announcement distributed them to students at chapel a few days later.  The chapel started somewhat haltingly to sing the new words but picked up momentum as they went to additional verses.  At the end of the song there was spontaneous applause both from students and from faculty on the large, old rectangular platform.”

No one knows for sure why or how the name of the song changed from “The Purple and the White” to “Old Missou”, but the official yell in use at the time may have had something to do with it:

                       Old Missou!  Old Missou!
                       Old Missouri’s Son,
                       Kirksville!  Kirksville!
Normal Number One.


Why Brewer used the colors purple and white is also a mystery.  They were never used as school colors either officially or unofficially, prior to 1902 and were chosen by the author for reasons known only to himself. 

In 1948 Brewer changed line two of the first stanza from  “And Normal Number One” to “Our hearts our school has won.”  The school had not been "The Normal" for 29 years by that time.


The New School Song

In 1996, it was decided that not only was “Old Missou” outdated and gender-biased, it was also confusing since “Mizzou” is the University of Missouri’s nickname.  And then there was the fact that the song had not been played at Commencement and other ceremonies and programs for several years or at sports events for at least five.  So, at the urging of Student Senate, President Jack Magruder asked the Traditions Committee to review the situation. 

Three years later, in 1999, the new alma mater, music by Claude T. Smith, arrangement & lyrics by Thomas J. Trimborn, Associate Professor of Music, was finally selected and presented to the University.

Keep the Dreams Alive

In the heartland of America,
In the place we are all as of one.
Namesake of our Alma Mater fair
‘Tis Missouri’s pride and favorite son.

Spirit his o’er our University,
Let our song ever decree.

Gaining knowledge, wisdom, truth today.
Courage for life, set forth, decide.
Keep the Truman dreams alive!
  For the future we shall pass the torch,
Strive to always follow paths of right.
With ideals to stand the test of time,
Soar on eagle’s wing our dreams take flight.

Spirit his o’er our University,
Truman’s song of harmony.

With a pledge of our allegiance firm,
Ne’er the road of life divide.
Keep the Truman dreams alive!


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Last Modified 28 March 2011
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