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James Halpin '71

Your 13-page commencement program in 1971 included these instructions for students receiving their degrees: "When the Governor steps forward to extend the greeting of the State, the band will play one chorus of 'On Wisconsin' and the candidates are requested to rise and sing. When the president steps forward to deliver the charge to the graduating class, the band will play one verse of 'Varsity' and candidates will please rise and sing."

Today, UW-Madison students and their families can go online to find detailed information about commencement ceremonies; and the printed program no longer includes directions for graduates or guidelines for singing "Varsity."

Badgers have sung "Varsity" for more than a century, but it wasn't until 1934 that then-UW band director Ray Dvorak introduced its famed wave. You can read more about the history of the nostalgic tune right here in the Campus Traditions - Ask Abe archives.

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