Harvard holds contest to change last line of alma mater song

Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. When she arrives there, Malia will join a long list of presidential children who have attended, including Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert; Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy; and George W. Bush, who went to business school there.
Harvard University in Cambridge. –Charlie Mahoney for The New York Times

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard is holding a contest to erase a reference to “Puritans” from the final line of its alma mater song.

The song “Fair Harvard” ends with the lines “Be the herald of light, and the bearer of love, till the stock of the Puritans die.”

The university’s Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging said the line “till the stock of the Puritans die” dates to 1836 and needs to be updated “for the 21st century.”

The task force encourages anyone associated with Harvard to submit a new ending by Sept. 15. The winner will be announced next year.


The task force is also holding a competition to compose a variation of the song in a new style, such as electronic music or hip-hop.