Despite a lack of a college degree, Joanna worked in the electronics industry until she became a manager (and later a business owner), supervising people who often had much more education and much less intelligence than she had. Circumstances delayed her dream of going to college until after she and I had been married for two decades. Then, when I started my graduate program at Washington State University, she became a student at the University of Idaho.
As a long-time student and now a professor, I have attended more than 20 college graduation ceremonies (including three of my own). By far my favorite, the only one that brought me to tears, was the one in which my wife walked across the Kibbie Dome stage after completing her bachelor’s degree. She then stayed at UI to complete a master’s degree, taking a heavy load while working so that she could finish at the same time that I completed my Ph.D.
Joanna, her daughter, my father, both of my siblings and various in-laws now all have degrees from the University of Idaho. (Among my father, my siblings, our spouses and me, we have accumulated two doctorates and seven master’s degrees, demonstrating that at least some of us are, as Dad would say, “educated beyond our intelligence.”) And though I went to college elsewhere, I had grown up cheering for the UI Vandals, often listening to Saturday afternoon games as my father and I road-hunted for grouse after an unsuccessful morning of hunting deer or elk.
I found a video version of the school’s alma mater, “Here We Have Idaho” (which also is the official state song), but decided to feature the UI fight song here. After all, it has been called “the once and future king of college fight songs, with an fanfare lead-in a successful infantry charge.” That same article and another “top 10” also included the WSU fight song, which was written by two women and sung by John Candy in the 1985 Tom Hanks movie, “Volunteers.” Obviously the quality of fight song has absolutely no relevance to the talent of the athletic team.
I’ve noted previously that Joanna isn’t a big sports fan, but I also chose this song because I found a video of the UI marching band playing “Go, Vandals, Go” on the WSU field during halftime of a 2005 game between the two schools — which happened to be one of the very few football games we’ve attended together. Naturally we cheered for different teams at the game. The winner? Me, of course, 33 years ago.
Another weird fact, which I discovered when putting together this post — there once was other UI “fight song,” which you can hear on YouTube sung by former Spokane resident Bing Crosby (now known better for his Christmas music). If you’re a fan of either Idaho or Crosby, you owe it to yourself to listen to that one.
Find a bit of history about the current Idaho fight song and the lyrics here, with video below.