First grads sang praises of U-W-G-B

Ron Retherford, class of 1970, remembers the very first UW-Green Bay commencement ceremony (June 1, 1970) for its music.

While the official record notes a prelude concert and triumphant recessional by the Concert Band under the direction of Prof. Robert J. Bauer, Retherford maintains that at some point a little barbershop harmony burst forth.

“Since we had no school song, Ken Hogg and two other graduates and I wrote, rehearsed, and sang the first ‘official’ graduation song,” Retherford writes. “The song was unusual, but representative of the kind of silliness and fun we had as the first graduating class of our brand new — and also unusual —college.”

Retherford shared his recollections in response to a query from the UW-Green Bay alumni magazine for commencement-day memories from that first graduating class. As Retherford and Hogg tell the story — and with his “Creative Communication” degree and status as an ordained Methodist minister, who could doubt Retherford? — the student quartet donned Shakey’s Pizza Parlor straw hats and held up huge cardboard letters, U-W-G-B, to deliver their ditty:

U is for the happiness YOU bring me
W means twice as much to me, to me,
G we’re glad you’re here
So together we can B

Despite its hammy tone and somewhat abrupt ending, Retherford says, the song was a hit. He shares the following solo re-creation as an audio file with Inside readers.

File size: 116kb | Duration: 28 seconds | MP3

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