September 1, 2018, marked Spring Hill College's first official day as an NCAA Division II member. That designation brings a fresh push to win more games and reap playoff bids in post-season play.
The 2018-19 season will be the first in which any student-athlete could be on an NCAA postseason- bound team.
With that in mind, the story of the College's fight song, first published in the Spring Hill College magazine in the Fall 2017 edition, is a story worth remembering and celebrating
“Purple and White, we’re goin’ to fight, we’re goin’ to fight for you.
Purple and White, with all our might we’re goin’ to see you thru.
And when the clouds of battle roll and press around your standard true,
We’ll push them back until the light of vict’ry shines on the Purple and White.”
A collaboration between a faculty member and a student culminated in the birth of Spring Hill College’s “Purple and White” fight song in 1930. Today, almost 90 years later, a version of the original fight song is still used on campus.
James Horace Hynes, also known as Jimmy, was born in Chicago in 1910. After being orphaned at the age of 9, he went to Barbour Hall, an all-boys school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before attending Holy Cross Seminary High School in Notre Dame, Indiana. Due to the length of time he had spent in church housing, and after being encouraged to spend time in the secular world, he worked his way down to Mobile, Alabama, on the railroad. Upon arrival, he enrolled at Spring Hill College, taking a job at the icehouse downtown to afford tuition and board – a modest $340 a semester at the time. He also performed jobs around campus, including work at the golf course.
Described as an individual with an avid intellectual curiosity, Hynes excelled at both scholastics and impersonations and what his family and friends describe as “unnoticed leadership.”
During his undergraduate studies, he served as a member of numerous organizations, including the Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity, student council, the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Poetry Society, the Springhillian staff and the cheer squad.
It was during his time at Spring Hill College that Hynes also served as an assistant to the Rev. Michael Kenny, SJ, who became a mentor and lifelong friend until Kenny’s death in 1946. Reflective of the relationship’s significance, Hynes even named his oldest child Kenny, a daughter, after the Jesuit priest.
Music was a central part of Hynes’ life on The Hill. Playing both the clarinet and piano by ear, he participated in the orchestra on campus under the direction of the Rev. C.C. Chapman, SJ. Music flourished in this era on The Hill. According to the 1931 Corsair yearbook, “The Spring Hill College Orchestra reached a high degree of perfection” under the direction of Chapman. Working together, he and Hynes composed “Purple and White,” which was first played at the football dance on Thanksgiving night 1930 and became the fight song for the school.
The song, copyrighted in 1931, was used to celebrate victories for championships in golf, tennis, football and baseball. And in that same year, college music, including the beloved “Purple and White,” was broadcast over the radio station WDOX, now WNGL 1410 AM. In May 1931, at the 101st Annual Commencement, Hynes was awarded the Joseph Block Memorial Medal for Proficiency in Music.
Hynes was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree on May 30, 1933, and completed his graduate studies at Georgetown Law School. He practiced law first in Nashville, Tennessee, and then in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he also raised his family. He also served in the Navy during World War II.
According to Hynes’ daughter, Mary Anne Hynes Frenzel, music and Spring Hill College continued to be a part of her father’s life. He often visited the campus with his family, frequenting both St. Joseph Chapel and Fr. Kenny’s grave. Many of his family members – including his grandchildren, Renee Frenzel Becker ’90 and Patrick Frenzel ’93 – have also attended the school and a tattered copy of the fight song remained on the piano bench in the Hynes household throughout the years. Hynes passed away in February 1985 in Baton Rouge.
Since 1930, variations of the song have been used on campus with an official adaptation — pulling from the original lyrics — shortening the song to give it more of a modern “fight song” feel in 2015. With this version, the legacy of the “Purple and White” lives on.
Information and images provided by Mary Anne Hynes Frenzel and Renee Frenzel Becker ’90.