New PBSC alma mater to formally debut at commencement
Palm Beach State College has an official new song.
Titled “Hail, Palm Beach State College,” the new alma mater, which will be sung for the first time by graduates at the morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies Dec. 20, was written by PBSC Learning Specialist Wesley C. Wells and musically composed by Professor Allen Webber.
Wells’ song was chosen from 10 entries that were submitted during a contest held earlier this year. A panel of five judges, representing students, staff and English and music faculty, reviewed the entries.
“The judges considered criteria such as originality, expression of virtue and values, timeless quality, meter and rhyme, and ‘singability’ in scoring the submissions,” said Dr. Peter Barbatis, vice president of student services and enrollment management, who was part of an organizing committee to find the new song. “The winning entry emerged as the one that will best stand the test of time and fit the spirit of a revered, comprehensive state college.”
Wells’ entry had the highest total point score and the highest number of #1 rankings.
Some of the judges’ comments included:
• Great refrain! Excellent use of language, rhyme and alliteration.
• This nicely weaves in the mascot, the College colors and the historical nature of the College. It has great singability and could generate pride.
• The form and meter will adapt well to a musical song form.
Wells works on the Palm Beach Gardens campus. When he first heard about the contest, he believed it would be an enjoyable new project to tackle.
“Poetry and song writing hold a special place in my heart,” said Wells. “And, having worked at the College for 10 years now, I really hoped to write the kind of lyrics that would instill a timeless and true representation of Palm Beach State. The College prides itself on strong ties to the community and guided pathways to success for all, so my goal was to incorporate those messages with ones of honor and tradition in the hopes of portraying how proud all of us are to be here.”
The need for a new alma mater surfaced in President Ava Parker’s ongoing discussions with faculty, staff and students. The original song, written in 1939 and sung to the tune of “God Bless America,” was a quaint but outdated salute to the then-fledgling Palm Beach Junior College. Despite some tweaks over the years, the song no longer inspired current students, and it was rarely performed.