Homecoming legacy: Band members pen words to fight song, win $50

As Grand Valley's Homecoming approaches, Laker fans will have many opportunities to sing the fight song. Did you know there was a time when "GVSU Victory" did not have lyrics?

Two alumni penned the words to the song and won $50 for their work.

William Root was the director of the first marching band; he also wrote the music for GVSU Victory. In 1978, he held a campus-wide competition for the creation of the song's lyrics. 

Maris Tracy, '78, was a member of the marching band. She and bandmate Kathleen (Ure) Bell, '81, entered the competition and wrote the lyrics in three afternoons.

Maris Timmer Tracy, '78, left, and Kathleen (Ure) Bell, '81, are pictured at Homecoming 1978.
Maris Timmer Tracy, '78, left, and Kathleen (Ure) Bell, '81, are pictured at Homecoming 1978.

“My girlfriend and I went in the practice room a few times and we pounded it out on the piano, worked it out, and submitted it,” Tracy said.

With no prior music writing experience, Tracy and Bell won the competition with a grand prize of $50. President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers presented them with a check during the Homecoming game.

Tracy has had a connection to the Grand Valley campus since she was little.

“When I was a little girl, my dad would take us over here when they started to build,” Tracy said. “So, my first memory of the campus was the four original buildings.”

She attended Grand Valley when there were only 5,000 students on campus. Tracy described the school as a family and said she hopes that as the university grows, that will continue.

“The fact that a cohesive family feel is still a part of this university is huge,” said Tracy.

Tracy started her own family at Grand Valley, meeting her husband in the marching band. She earned a bachelor's degree in group social studies with an emphasis on psychology and a minor in music and education. 

After graduating, she worked as a teacher and raised her family only four miles from Grand Valley. Tracy said she moved to Florida 13 years ago to be closer to family.

Learn more about Grand Valley's Homecoming events.

GVSU Victory

Music by William Root, lyrics by Maris Tracy and Kathleen Ure

Grand Valley victory,

As Lakers we have pride,

Our team will lead us on,

Blue and white we're at your side.

We want a Grand Valley victory,

As our foes will quickly see.

Raise, your, voices, and cheer

For a vic-to-ry.

Samantha Drougel is a student writer for University Communications. Drougel is from Monroe and a double major in film and video production, and journalism, broadcasting and digital media.


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