"Carmen Ohio" (Latin: Song of Ohio) is the oldest school song still used by Ohio State University. The song was composed by freshman athlete and Men's Glee Club member Fred Cornell in 1902 or 1903. According to some accounts, he composed it on the train ride home from Ann Arbor, Michigan after Ohio State suffered an 86-0 loss to the Michigan Wolverines.[1] The song is set to the tune of "Spanish Hymn", or "Spanish Chant". The Men's Glee Club first performed it in 1903; however, it did not gain popularity until after its publication in The Lantern on October 10, 1906. At the following Ohio State–Michigan football game on October 20, 1906, "Carmen Ohio" was published in the program. In 1915, Cornell recalled that he wrote the song in 1903 at the request of the Men's Glee Club, and other family members later stated that the train story might be an exaggeration or outright fabrication.[2] Currently, after every home football game in Ohio Stadium, win or lose, the football team and the crowd sing the first verse of Carmen Ohio, accompanied by The Ohio State University Marching Band. It is also sung by new graduates at the end of the university's commencement ceremonies, after diplomas are distributed.[3]

A floor tile in William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library marked with the song's musical notation.

Band director Jack Evans and arranger Richard Heine adapted the song to the brass band for which Ohio State is famous. The sound of chimes from the Orton Hall bell tower (which themselves are based on the Westminster Quarters) were added as an introduction to the song.

Small selections of the lyrics, arranged at random, are found on campus in the Ohio Union building.

The tune may also be recognized as the same in the hymn "Come Christians, Join To Sing", Text: 1843 by Christian H. Bateman (1813–1889). Music: Spanish melody; arr. by David Evans in 1927, (1874–1948), Words originally written for "Sacred Melodies for Children" published in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1843. With slight variations, the tune is used for a variety of other hymn texts, including "When This Passing World Is Done."[4]


The lyrics of "Carmen Ohio" are as follows:[5]

Oh come let's sing Ohio's praise
And songs to Alma Mater raise
While our hearts rebounding thrill
With joy which death alone can still
Summer's heat or winter's cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely[a] show
How firm thy friendship ... OHIO!

These jolly days of priceless worth
By far the gladdest days on earth
Soon will pass and we not know
How dearly we love Ohio
We should strive to keep thy name
Of fair repute and spotless fame
So in college halls we'll grow
And love thee better ... OHIO!

Though age may dim our mem'ry's store
We'll think of happy days of yore
True to friend and frank to foe
As sturdy sons of Ohio
If on seas of care we roll
Neath blackened sky or barren shoal
Thoughts of thee bid darkness go
Dear Alma Mater ... OHIO!

See also


  1. ^ Sometimes replaced with "truly".


  1. ^ "Songs of the Ohio State University".
  2. ^ Script Ohio: Evolution. Kappa Kappa Psi. 2003.
  3. ^ "Ceremony details | Commencement".
  4. ^ Praise for the Lord hymnbook at #758 (Praise Press); hymnary.org (search "Spanish Hymn").
  5. ^ "Songs of The Ohio State University". www.sgsosu.net. Retrieved 2023-03-22.