University of Wisconsin


On Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin official fight song, “On Wisconsin,” was composed by William T. Purdy, with original lyrics written by alum Carl Beck. The song was first performed in 1909.  Originally written for a University of Minnesota song competition (the words were once “Minnesota, Minnesota” instead of “On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin”), the song was also adopted as the official state song of Wisconsin in 1959.

The University of Wisconsin Alma Mater, “Varsity,” was written in 1898 and was originally titled “Varsity Toast.”
Tradition with the playing and singing of “Varsity” is the arm wave, which started in 1934. The new band director that year, Raymond Dvorak, started the arm wave after being inspired by the image of PSU students waving their caps while singing their alma mater in the stands after a huge loss. Dvorak later instructed UW students to wave as a salute to UW President Glenn Frank.

Songs To Thee Wisconsin
Written in 1853, “Songs to Thee Wisconsin” sings the fans’ love and admiration for UW and is played by the band during pregame immediately after the concert tune.

If You Want to be a Badger

Written in 1919 by faculty of the School of Music, “If You Want to be a Badger” is played at the end of every pregame show. In the stands, when the band plays the song, the crowd reaches out their right hands, palms facing up “If you Want to be a Badger…” then they draw their arms towards themselves, beckoning you over to them “Come Along with Me!”

You’ve Said it All

Although not really an official school song, this parody of the 1970’s Budweiser jingle, “When You Say WIS-CON-SIN, You’ve Said It All!” is a relatively new staple at all sporting events when fans dance the polka to the music.