It was front-page news in the Technician — popular bandleader Fred Waring had agreed to write a new fight song for State College and perform it on his nationally broadcast radio program the following month.
The story, published on this day in 1940, noted that Leo Parks, chairman of the song committee of Mu Beta Psi, a national music fraternity with a chapter at State College, had announced that Waring had accepted an invitation to compose a new fight song to be performed at Wolfpack football games and other sporting events.
Waring, who was known as “The Man Who Taught America How to Sing,” was responding to a request by Mu Beta Psi that had been backed by a petition “carrying the names of practically the entire student body,” read the story in the Technician. The story said most campus organizations also wrote letters to Waring in support of the request made by Mu Beta Psi.
The requests were not usual for Waring, who had told his radio listeners that he would write a song for any college that petitioned it. By the end of 1940, Waring had received requests and petitions from 265 colleges, according to the book Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, by his wife, Virginia Waring.
“The only quiet place Fred could find to compose was in a taxi he commissioned to ply the lanes of Central Park, between rehearsals and radio shows,” she wrote. She said her husband ended up writing songs for 95 colleges.
That included State College, whose “brand new fight-song” was performed on Waring’s show on March 8.
But for all the fanfare about Waring writing the song, it’s not clear that the song itself had much of an impact. The Technician’s account of the performance was in a short story on a back page that made no mention of the song’s lyrics or how it was received by students. Instead, the story said, “if the new song catches on with State College students, it will be adopted officially by the campus musical organizations.”