What is Ahoya? (Marquette’s unofficial cheer guide)

November 13, 2009

Or is it a hoya?

For those of you who need to learn or just need a brush up of Marquette’s songs for tonight’s Season Opener.

First and foremost, Ring Out Ahoya is Marquette’s fight song:

Ring out Ahoya with an M.U.Rah Rah,
M.U.Rah Rah, M.U.Rah Rah Rah Rah Rah
Ring out Ahoya with an M.U. Rah, Rah,
M.U. Rah Rah for Old Marquette. Rah! Rah! Rah!
Go! Go! Go! Marquette!
Go! Go! Go! Go!
Goooooo! Goooooo! Go! Marquette

MUScoop Wiki lists the song as arranged by Muriel Burett but I believe it was originally written by Dr. Nick Contorno.  Here’s what you do. When chanting Go Marquette, you have to pump you first on the “Go”s. Just follow everybody else around you. But since you looked here before the game, you’ll know the words, so SING!

A lot of people over the generations have asked what is “Ahoya”? Hoyasaxa.com (via MU Scoop Wiki) gives the general explanation, which has in fact, been lost in time:

The origins of the word “Hoya” defy simple explanation. Over the years, some have claimed it is an Indian word, while those of a legal mind thought it related to the French word oyez, the traditional opening of judicial sessions. Still others held that with Georgetown’s location along a river, Hoya might be an offshoot of the nautical “ahoy”. None of these claims have held water, so to speak.

The official explanation holds that there was a baseball team at Georgetown called the “Stonewalls”. It is suggested that a student, applying Greek and Latin, dubbed the team the hoia saxa– hoia is the Greek neuter plural for “what” or “what a”, while saxa is the Latin neuter plural for “rock”. Substituting a “y” for an “i”; “hoya saxa” literally means “what rocks”.

To this day, however, no one has proven exactly when and under what circumstances the yell originated. While there was a Stonewalls team between 1866 and 1873, an actual reference to the team is pure speculation. Some have held that hoia saxa referred not to the team but its surroundings–the team’s field (the present site of Copley Lawn) was bounded by the College Walls along 37th street. One theory holds that words such as saxa (Latin for “rocks”) were scribbled on the walls for years and a similar phrase may have simply been adopted by fans of the baseball team.

The Hoya yell gained additional attention in 1920. In that year, a fledgling student newspaper known as The Hilltopper petitioned Rev. Coleman Nevils, S.J., Dean of the College, to change its name to The HOYA, a name said to be more representative of the University. Nevils, who had championed naming the Holy Cross student paper “The Hoia” without success in 1916, enthusiastically approved the change.

As the college paper was often cited by sportswriters covering Georgetown sports in the 1920’s, it took only a few years for a nickname to be born. By the fall of 1928, a HOYA sportswriter began to refer to the football team as the “Hoyas” rather than its contemporary nickname of the “Hilltoppers”. The change was picked up by local writers as basketball season began, and Hoyas became the official Georgetown nickname within a few years.

Among all college programs, only Georgetown University holds this unique team nickname to which its students, faculty, alumni, and fans can take pride in. But the Hoya yell did find its way into the fight songs of two other Jesuit colleges: Holy Cross’ “Hoiah, Holy Cross”, and Marquette’s “Ring Out Ahoya”. Each appears to have its roots, however distant, in the yell begun on a college yard many years ago. In short, “Hoya” may be difficult to define, but its tradition endures.

The Marquette Univeristy Alma Mater is a bit easier .The tune was written by Liborius Semman.

The Marquette University anthem – Hail Alma Mater

Hail Alma Mater,
Thee we do call.
We’re here to greet thee,
Dearest friend to all.
We’re here to show thee
Our love is strong.
Hail Alma Mater!
Marquette, hear our song!

Here’s what you do: put your arms around the person standing next to you -I don’t care who it is- and sway. After “Our love is strong” a trumpet plays like 5 or 6 notes. After that you sing from “hail…” On “Marquette” you do another fist bump thing.

As for cheering at the rest of the game, please remember these few things:

  • A) Be loud
  • B) Be obnoxious
  • C) Wear a Gold MU shirt -What happened to calling the student section “The Gold Rush”?
  • D) Those Big Heads are cool… embrace them
  • E) Heckle the Refs only if you know their names
  • F) Use the bullshit chants sparingly. I know you want to swear loudly at a basketball game, but not ever call by the zebras is in fact “bullshit”
  • G) Do your research on the opposing team. You can find out some players have gotten into shenanigans. In the past there have been “Where’s my iPod” and “Where’s my Laptop” chants for players that steal stuff. ERIC DEVENDORF PUNCHED A WOMAN IN THE FACE!
  • F) Be nice -for now. Until the BE season arrives don’t be too mean to the opposition, they are probably nice people and the university is getting a nice check to have their basketball team get it’s butt kicked.

One comment

  1. Liborius Semman is my Great grabdfather whom I grew up with. He lived with my Grandfather Armin and grandmother Olive Semman in Fox point. Would love one day to actually attend a cerimony in which his music was part of. Thank You
    James B Burmeister

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