On, Wisconsin! was composed by William T. Purdy in 1909 as “Minnesota, Minnesota”. He planned to enter it into a competition for a new fight song for the University
Carl Beck convinced him to withdraw the song from the contest at the last minute and allow his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, to use it instead.
The words were changed from “Minnesota, Minnesota” to “On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!”
In 1913, Judge Charles D. Rosa and J.S. Hubbard rewrote the lyrics for the state song. The song was widely used and recognized as a state song from then on, but never adopted by the state legislature until 1959.
“On, Wisconsin!” was regarded by John Philip Sousa as “the finest of college marching songs”.
It has become one of the most popular fight songs in the country, with some 2,500 schools using some variation of it as their school song.
The song is in the public domain in the United States.
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