William Carey College Jubilee
November 15, 2004
Ruth Joan Geiger, B.A., 1962
Author, William Carey College Alma Mater Text
Dr. Larry W. Kennedy, President
William Carey College
Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39401
Dear Dr. Kennedy:
On this, the Jubilee Anniversary of its birth, please allow me to congratulate you on the marvelous work you are doing at William Carey College, my Alma Mater. In my visit to the campus for the Jubilee Homecoming, I was impressed with the changes on the Hattiesburg campus. It has been my joy to read about the growth on the other campuses. You are to be commended for your vision and dedication to the work there. I thank you for caring for my Alma Mater so well.
I was invited to the campus for the Jubilee Homecoming because I wrote the William Carey College Alma Mater. When I entered school there in 1960, we did not have an Alma Mater, and I wondered why. I was soon made aware of the reasons. In her growth and change, Carey had been born from the Women's College, and the school song for the previous student body was no longer applicable to the existing coed population. I was asked by Mr. McCrory to write and submit words for a new Alma Mater. He said the students needed a new song to celebrate the school.
I went to my room at the dorm and prayed that I would do the school justice. I decided quickly that the song should address the school with praise and end with a prayer. I wrote the words and gave them to Mr. McCrory when I went to class that day. I was surprised when Dr. Gauldin called me to his office and said he would like to talk with me about the words I had submitted. He asked if I minded his adding two words to soften it a bit, and I agreed that he could do anything he wished. He added the two words, and he composed the music we all came to love.
On May 25, 1961, the day of the song's adoption by the student body, I walked back from the library to the dorm, wondering if the students who would come after me would ever really appreciate what they were receiving at Carey. That night, I wept in gratitude for what was being given me there. I am pleased to know that so many others know and appreciate what Carey affords them. They leave with an abiding love for the school and the will to serve Christ. Carey has sent its graduates around the world with a common theme in their lives: service to others in the name of Christ and excellence in achievement as they pursue their professional goals.
I commend you again on your service to God and to this worthy school, which I am blessed to call mine. I pray for your continued success and for Carey's growth, and I look forward to meeting you. One graduate who met his wife there, told me his eyes always fill with tears when he sings those last words: "May His Spirit, Alma Mater, ever dwell with thee." I have often heard the same thing. My son, who was eight when I was graduated, said it. I know what they mean. Ours are tears of gratitude and pride.
Ruth Joan Geiger
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