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History of Varsity, SMU School Song

Varsity Songbook

In 1916, SMU theology student Lewis N. Stuckey wrote the words and music to Varsity.  His friend and roommate Harrison Baker made some suggestions in wording, but Stuckey is the sole author.

On March 5, 1924, Stuckey recalled the history of the song in an interview with Semi-Weekly Campus.  While a student at SMU, Stuckey also served as a student pastor of the Carrollton and Farmers Branch churches.  "I was coming into school over the Preston Road.  For miles I could see the University ahead of me.  Feeling fine, I went to singing.  How, I do not know, but someway, the words and music of Varsity just naturally came together and by the time I stopped the car in front of the administration building the song was composed."

Stuckey continued, "Sometime later, in the spring, I had my good friend Harrison Baker come to Carrollton to lead the singing in a revival.  During this time I sang the song to him, and through the meeting we sang it several times.  Had it not been for the fact that Harrison Baker learned the song, it would probably never have been known for he introduced the song into SMU."(March 5, 1924)  Baker was the president of the Glee Club and shared the song with SMU Music Professor Harold Hart Todd. The Glee Club was the first group to sing the song publicly.

After his graduate studies at SMU, Stuckey served as a prominent Methodist Minister in Texas and across the nation. 

In 1929, Varsity was adopted by SMU as its official school song.  In that same year, Professor Todd (SMU's first band director from 1917 to 1924) published the song using his arrangement with Stuckey's approval.  The notice on the sheet music said "Copyright 1929 by Harold Hart Todd."