UMD’s Most Recognizable Songs: Part II: The “Maryland Fight Song”

Last week we featured “Hail! Alma Mater” as one of UMD’s most recognizable songs. This week, we highlight the “Maryland Fight Song,” composed in 1939 by Ralph Davis, Class of 1942.

Ralph Davis, Class of 1942, in his ROTC uniform
Ralph Davis, Class of 1942, in his ROTC uniform

As a student at Maryland, Davis, who majored in chemistry, participated in the band, orchestra, and swimming club. Following graduation, Davis attended the University of Maryland Medical School, receiving his M.D. degree in 1945, and Johns Hopkins University, earning his M.P.H. from Hopkins in 1950. He had a distinguished career in radiology and served as director of public health for Adams County, Illinois and as chief resident physician at the Illinois State Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy, Illinois.

Fans in Byrd Stadium often wonder why the band plays the chorus of Davis’s tune after the Terps’ opponents score. When you learn the words, it makes perfect sense:

Go on and fight! fight! fight! for Maryland! Honor now her name again!                                   Push up the score, Keep on fighting for more, For Maryland!                                             Go on and fight! fight! fight! for Terrapin! Keep on fighting till we win!                                  So sing out our song as we go marching along to victory!

You can hear the song here: https://www.umd.edu/traditions/songs/fight.html

The University Archives is very proud to have the original manuscript of Davis’s song among its collections; Davis’s son, Fletcher, donated it to the Archives in July 2005, along with correspondence about his academic career, course materials, particularly in the sciences, and band and ROTC memorabilia, including his uniform.

Davis' manuscript of the
Davis’ manuscript of the “Maryland Fight Song”

This song and 17 other tunes popular on campus since the late 19th century can be found in Songs of Maryland: A Centennial Edition, the UMD Bands’ most recent songbook, published in honor of the bands’ 100th anniversary in 2008.

Check back on September 24th for the final installment in our series on UMD’s most recognizable songs and read our first feature on the Alma Mater.

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