New NMU alma mater chosen


MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University has selected a new anthem titled “Northern Pride” in conjunction with its 125th anniversary.

The new alma mater was composed by NMU multimedia journalism professor Dwight Brady.

“It’s certainly an incredible honor that my version was selected,” Brady said. “I am approaching retirement in a few years, so it is nice to know that a piece of me will continue on through song here at Northern — hopefully for a long, long time. It’s especially gratifying because my son, Mason, is due to graduate from Northern in December, and that will be the first commencement at which the new alma mater will be sung.”

Brady has written over 400 songs since he was 9 years old and recorded two albums in Nashville and used to play writer’s nights at that city’s Bluebird Cafe while earning his doctorate at the University of Tennessee.

“I wanted it to feel like an alma mater, but with a more contemporary sound,” he said. “There’s a bit of folk also woven in, which seems to fit pretty well with the (Upper Peninsula).”

The lyrics include imagery of the area’s distinctive landscape, references to academic rigor and knowledge, and honor the university’s location as the ancestral homelands of the Anishinaabe.

Two of Brady’s good friends assisted him on the project: Mark Shevy, head of NMU’s Communication and Media Studies Department; and retired NMU music professor Rob Engelhart.

Together, they made multiple versions of “Northern Pride” for the selection committee. Brady said they recorded the piano and main vocal in the Communication and Media Studies recording studio while he added the harmonies at home with a digital mic and his laptop.

NMU President Brock Tessman announced the selection of Brady’s alma mater from 14 original submissions at the NMU Board of Trustees meeting Friday.

Runner-up was “NMU, Our Alma Mater” by alumni Abigail O’Connell and Benjamin Gronvall. Second runner-up was “Golden Shores” by alumni Heidi Hummel and William Ragnone.

The lyrics to “Northern Pride,” which may be tweaked slightly before its official debut at September’s Homecoming football game, follow. Listen to Brady’s recording of the alma mater at nmu.edu/125.

“Mountain ridges, forest floors, crashing waves on rocky shores / On the home of Anishinaabe tribes, our alma mater stands with pride / In your halls, my voice I find, rigor building strength of mind / As we journey from this place, knowledge will ignite our way / Like auroras in the sky, we will shine with Northern pride / We will shine with Northern pride.”


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