Changing Traditions

The Purple and the White

“Old Missou” and Old Missouri

And Normal Number One* 

Fondly cling we to the memory

Of Old Misouri’s son

Gladly thee our hearts we tender

By the dim and flick’ring light, 

Every lad a proud defender

Of the Purple and the White.


In debates or feats athletic

The broader fields of life

Midst the shifting scenes of progress

Where the fiercest fights are rife

Taught by many a glorious vict’ry

From many a hard fought fight

They have learned they have to reckon

With the Purple and the White.


Hark the sound of yells exalting

From out the Tigers’ den!

Did ye hear the shout of triumph

‘Twas Warrensburg’s brave men

Far above them hark the tumult

Like the triumph of the right

As we give the Kirksville Normal 

And the Purple and the White. 


Through Harvard, Yale, or Princeton

Should we onward still pursue

As adopted “sons of Eli”

To the violets prove true

Shall we never cease to love thee

To tremble with delight

As we mark the gallant flutter

Of the Purple and the White. 


*This line, by 1917, had changed to

“Our hearts the school has won.”

The Orange and the Black tune is in the public domain; video courtesy of Szabo Music.

"Old Missou"

The School had no official song until Basil Brewer (1901), was inspired to write one while working as a Student Assistant in the Science Department the summer of 1902. According to him it happened this way:

“I was called upon to substitute for Professor Weatherly, head of the Science Department … In between classes, I attended music classes now and then, and at one of these sessions, the subject came up that the college had no school song. The Princeton song, “The Orange and the Black,” always had been popular, and in between classes on the laboratory table, and as I recall it, in one to two days’ time I wrote the words of “The Purple and the White.” A year or two later, the name was changed to “Old Missou,” the change being, you might say, by common consent.”


In 1996, it was decided that not only was “Old Missou” outdated and gender-biased, it was also confusing since “Mizzou” is the University of Missouri’s nickname. And then there was the fact that the song had not been played at Commencement and other ceremonies and programs for several years or at sports events for at least five. So, at the urging of Student Senate, President Jack Magruder asked the Traditions Committee to review the situation.

Three years later, in 1999, the new alma mater, music by Claude T. Smith, arrangement & lyrics by Thomas J. Trimborn, Associate Professor of Music, was finally selected and presented to the University.

Keep the Dreams Alive

In the heartland of America,
In the place we are all as of one.
Namesake of our Alma Mater fair
‘Tis Missouri’s pride and favorite son.

Spirit his o’er our University,
Let our song ever decree.

Gaining knowledge, wisdom, truth today.
Courage for life, set forth, decide.
Keep the Truman dreams alive!

For the future we shall pass the torch,
Strive to always follow paths of right.
With ideals to stand the test of time,
Soar on eagle’s wing our dreams take flight.

Spirit his o’er our University,
Truman’s song of harmony.

With a pledge of our allegiance firm,
Ne’er the road of life divide.
Keep the Truman dreams alive!

Property of Truman State University