Banners of White and Blue

Written by Monica VanDerWeide, ’95

It’s a staple of every All-College Convocation, Commencement, choir concerts, and countless other campus events. The lovely harmonies of Hillsdale’s Alma Mater, “White and Blue,” have united students and alumni in professing their “noble pride” for the College since the song was instituted as the official Alma Mater in 1937.

The words and melody of “White and Blue” were written by Bess Hagaman Tefft, ’37, and harmonized by Hillsdale music professor Raymond Bowers. During her time in college, Bess was on the newspaper staff, served as the editor of the literary magazine, and wrote the “Hillsdale Tribute,” later changed to “White and Blue.” “My mother truly loved the College and was deeply grateful for how it influenced her whole life,” said Bill Tefft, ’66, in a 2012 Hillsdale publication. “She would be proud to know that the College still uses her song.” In June 1940, Bess married Mr. Robert Tefft in the Slayton Arboretum with “Dr. Bertram Barber furnishing the wedding music on a record player in the little stone cottage,” Bill added. Bess went on to write and publish children’s books, receiving a Hillsdale Alumni Achievement Award in 1960 for her writing. She was president of the Alumni Association for several terms and was a member of the Board of Women Commissioners. One can still find in Mossey Library a copy of her children’s book Merrie Maple, presented to the College in April 1958, with the inscription: “Remembering helpful ‘creative writing’ sessions with Marion Mix, Howard Vincent and Elsie Reynolds Rowe.”

If you haven’t heard the College’s Alma Mater in a while (or even if you have), please enjoy this beautiful recording by the Hillsdale College Choir, and be reminded of why we love our “college halls” and “ivied walls.”

Monica VanDerWeide is Director of Marketing Content for Hillsdale College. She graduated from Hillsdale in 1995 with a degree in English and German.

Published in September 2021