“On, Wisconsin!” is not only the University’s “fight song,” but it has also been designated as the official State Song of Wisconsin. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular school songs in the country and has been adopted by thousands of high school bands. It is rare to attend a high school football game anywhere in the United States and not hear “On, Wisconsin!” performed by at least one school band.
The melody of this famous song was composed in 1909 by W. T. Purdy, a corporation clerk who, prior to that time, had never set foot in Wisconsin. The words were supplied by Carl Beck, a former University of Wisconsin student. In one day, these two young men produced the song that John Philip Sousa called “the finest of college marching songs.”