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A Song of Pride

A Song of Pride
From the 1980 Windhover yearbook: “Senior philosophy/theology major Kathy Fisher and Rev. Edward Gannon, S.J. Together they have written an alma mater, she the lyrics and he the melody. The entire University community owes them a thank you for a song that will stir our spirits now and bring back fond memories in the years to come.”

Like many devoted Royals, Dr. Kathleen Fisher’s heart swells with pride and joy when she hears the University’s alma mater performed. But she admits she can also add astonishment, and perhaps even a little disbelief, to her list of feelings.

That’s because in the summer of 1979, Fisher’s senior year, her mentor, the late Edward Gannon, S.J., asked her to compose the lyrics to Scranton’s official anthem. Nearly 37 years later, she said, the idea that it actually happened seems so improbable.

“Fr. Gannon was a legend on campus, and he was so important to me. He did so much to involve students, and this was one of those things,” she remembered. “At some point, he decided we needed an alma mater that people could actually sing. The one we had only got dusted off once in a while, and people didn’t know it. He wanted that to change.”

As a student, Fisher sang and played guitar in Coffeehouses, a weekly event on campus, but she did not consider herself a songwriter, preferring to perform other people’s songs.

“He came to me and said, ‘I want you to write this,’ and I thought, ‘You must be crazy,’” said Dr. Fisher. “By age 20 or 21, I had heard several alma maters and was familiar with the lofty language. I thought there was no way I could do that.”

But Gannon persisted.

Flattered and nervous, Fisher said she would give it a try. Over the course of a few days, she drafted lyrics to a melody that Gannon had created. Instead of going the traditional, “lofty” route, she wrote from her heart and personal experience as a student in transition, looking both behind her and toward the future as she was preparing to graduate.

Gannon changed the last two lines of Fisher’s draft and said it was ready to go. From there, he made a point to incorporate a performance of the new alma mater whenever possible, so the Scranton community could get to know it well.

Dr. Fisher, who now lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is an associate professor of theology at Assumption College, said she doesn’t remember exactly what she was feeling when she first heard Scranton’s new alma mater performed, but she knows it was thrilling.

“I don’t think it sank in at first, but hearing it over the years as I get older, I am more and more astounded,” she said. “I hope that then — and now — it resonates with students and alumni and says something meaningful. I am so honored that this has become a part of University life. ”

The lyrics Fisher and Gannon wrote are below:

The hours too quickly slip away
And mingle into years,
But memories of our Scranton
days will last
Whatever next appears.

The legacy from those before
Is briefly ours to hold,
We leave the best behind
for others
As the coming years unfold.

With faith in lives that touch
us here
And paths that ours
have crossed,
We know that reaching for
the rising sun
Is surely worth the cost.

May God be ever at our side,
May goodness fill our days,
We hail as loving sons and daughters
Alma Mater ours always.

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