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Alma Mater and Its History

Musical CompositionThe music to the C.W. Post alma mater was written by German composer and C.W. Post music professor Stefan Wolpe. Lyrics were written by Dr. Julian Mates, a professor of English and founding dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts.



"When Evening Falls"
Mates-Wolpe

Verse
When ev’ning falls,
And campus sounds are stilled;
Then mem're calls
And all our hearts are filled
With love for Post, so dear,
And dreams we dreamed while here

Chorus
The years pass quickly by,
And steal our youth and hopes,
But even time will die (and beauty fly)
Ere we forget our Post.

Verse
When shadows lean
Across old College Hall,
And friends once seen
Are dim beyond recall,
The thought of Post will rise,
A star that never dies.

History of the C.W. Post Alma Mater

As the C.W. Post community established campus traditions in the early 1960s, two professors put the thoughts of many into song when they created "When Evening Falls," our school alma mater. Dr. Julian Mates can still recall in vivid detail his collaboration with celebrated composer Stefan Wolpe.

Wolpe, then chairman of the C.W. Post Music Department, arranged the melody. Dr. Mates, then an English professor and later dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, wrote the words. Wolpe taught the song to the college chorus, whose exuberant performances earned the composition a warm reception from the Campus community.

One of the verses refers to College Hall, an historic mansion on Campus (which today houses the offices of admissions). "We wanted a certain amount of sentiment," recalls Dr. Mates. "The building that's now Mullarkey Hall used to be called College Hall, and that's where all of the classes were conducted. So there was a sentimental feeling about College Hall."

"When Evening Falls" made its first appearance in the Student Handbook in the fall of 1961. It was called the college song, "Under the Green and Gold." By 1963, when it was first sung in a commencement exercise, the composition had earned its current title.

College Hall became the admissions headquarters and classes were relocated to the various buildings that cropped up across the bucolic Campus. To this day, however, "When Evening Falls" retains the power to move the hearts of students, faculty and alumni.

"The purpose of our song was not just to be sentimental, but to come up with an idea that made some sense," says Dr. Mates. "The idea that even time can die, but nothing will [diminish] our recollections of the school made sense."