NC State adds ‘Southern’ to Alma Mater, drops ‘Dixie’

Exterior of Talley Student Union at NC State University. Photo courtesy of NC State

RALEIGH — The NC State Board of Trustees approved a wording change to the university’s Alma Mater, removing “Dixie” in the first lines of the song and replacing it with “Southern” in a move that effective immediately.

Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a letter that, “A growing number of students, faculty, staff and alumni have expressed concerns about the word “Dixie” in our Alma Mater and see it as contrary to NC State’s vision, values and goals.”

“In response to concerns, last year the Alumni Association Board of Directors formed an executive task force to review the Alma Mater. The task force ultimately presented options for moving forward, one of which was removing “Dixie” and replacing it with a geographical reference. The chair of NC State’s Board of Trustees, Stan Kelly, and I brought this issue to the full Board of Trustees and recommended the change be made,” the letter continues.

The board unanimously approved the change on Feb. 18. Now, the first line of the song begins, “Where the Southern winds so softly blow.”The lyrics and accompanying music of NC State’s Alma Mater were originally penned in the 1920s, and the word “Dixie” had been part of the song since 1925.

“Traditions remain an important part of NC State. Those traditions must reflect who we are today and what we hope to achieve. As an institution of higher learning founded on a land-grant mission, we have a responsibility to continually educate ourselves and those who pass through our doors to unite against intolerance, model inclusivity, and advance the dignity and power of diversity. Making this change is simply the right thing to do,” Chancellor Woodson’s letter ends.

The change was included in a faculty report to the Board of Trustees on Feb. 18. It was one of three resolutions presented to the board following a vote of the staff Senate. The other resolutions presented were to eliminate a 20% cap on increase in staff salaries and a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The meeting minutes have not bene publicly posted and efforts by North State Journal to obtain them are ongoing.