Open main menu

"We Hail Thee Carolina" is the alma mater of the University of South Carolina. It was adopted by the University in 1912 and is sung by alumni and students at Gamecock athletic events. The alma mater is also used to conclude each football game, home or away.

"We Hail Thee Carolina"
GenreAlma mater
Composer(s)Jonathan Spilman
Lyricist(s)George A. Wauchope


The Gamecock reported in its March 1911 issue that very little progress had been made on the alma mater for the University despite a reward of $50 by the faculty. English professor, George A. Wauchope, took it upon himself and wrote the lyrics for the alma mater in 1911 set to the tune Flow Gently, Sweet Afton by Jonathan Spilman. Other songs were written and sung, but Wauchope's song proved to be the most popular and it was adopted by the University in 1912.[1]

In recent years, while singing the phrase "Here's a health, Carolina," fans have raised their right hand as though raising a cup to offer a toast.[2] The phrase "Here's a health" is an old term for a toast.[3]

Since the turn of the millennium, Gamecock fans have adopted the last stanza, "Forever to thee," as a battle cry; the phrase has been seen on T-shirts.


We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise
With loyal devotion, remembering the days
When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be:
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

(Only the first verse is sung or played.)

Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls
And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls
We've honored and loved thee as sons faithfully;
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim
Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame;
For ages to come shall their rallying cry be:
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still
Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill,
And crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee:
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!


  1. ^ USC: Office of the University Registrar: A University Tradition
  2. ^ USC: Alma Mater
  3. ^ Lezlie Patterson (August 23, 2017). "Confused by the USC alma mater? You're not alone". The State.

External linksEdit