Harvard Officially Swaps its ‘Puritanical’ Lyric from 181-Year Old Alma Mater

March 28th, 2018: As seen on SONGLYRICS (PDF)

Harvard graduation ceremony festivities; Photo: Harvard.edu


Facing pressure from outgoing President Drew Faust, on a proactive mission to create ways to improve Harvard’s culture, back in April of 2017 the university held a competition to change the lyrics to their 181-year old alma mater, “Fair Harvard,” to make it more inclusive to all representations of the student body.

That day has come, fair non-puritans, as the result of a 53-person task force lyrical think tank has come up with a change of said controversial line, “Till the stock of the Puritans die,” opting for the new line, “Till the stars in the firmament die,” of which the edits are now live on Harvard’s website.

Doubling down on that inclusivity, Faust released a prideful statement on the successes of the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging — the team’s official title — notes on the general ‘pillars of Harvard’s excellence’ and a glowing promise to sing the new line in the future.

“When it comes time to sing our alma mater, updated at the suggestion of the task force, I will proudly give voice to the song’s new final line — and its recognition that the pursuit of truth and knowledge belongs to everyone at Harvard, from all backgrounds and beliefs,” said Faust.

Written in 1836 by alumnus Samuel Gilman for the school’s bicentennial celebration, this is the second change to “Fair Harvard” since its inception. The other change came in a similar contest in 1998, that saw, “Thy sons to thy jubilee throng” modified to, “We join in thy jubilee throng,” to be more gender inclusive.

Still no word on the results of the “musical variant” competition that was launched in tandem with this lyric contest, though, that is seeking sonic submissions that change the traditional choir-backed sung version into “electronic, hip hop, or spoken word music.”