Guilford College Fight Song

There have been many Guilford College fight songs over the years, such as "Come on You Quaker, Go!" and "Roll 'em Down, Guilford! (Aye, Zigga Zoomba)," but the one that survives and is occasionally chanted is "Brave Ole' Guilford Team!"  It's short, simple and sweet...

Guilford College Fight Song (Brave Ole' Guilford Team!)

On, brave ole' Guilford team,
On, Crimson and Gray.
Fight on to victory,
'Cause that's the fighting Quaker way!
Rah! Rah! Rah!

(Repeat once. End.)

The fight song is always sung, led by the team itself, after (and usually only after) a victory. The same stanza is sung twice, followed by loud cheering. Sometimes the letters of the school name are spelled out at the end, followed by two chants of the name and a final cheer:


Musically, it's a very similar (but shorter) version of "On, Brave Old Army Team," the fight song of the United States Military Academy. (Most college fight songs are pretty similar...) This makes sense, as that song was widely sung by troops during WW ll and could have arrived at Guilford with the enrollment of veterans on the G.I. Bill.

The current team (2013), has been using a slightly modified version of the song, similar to the "old" version but omitting the "Fighting Quaker" part, thus reflecting the administration's hesitance to anything "fight" related. The "newer" and official Guilford College Quakers Fight Song is posted on a plaque in the locker room:

Quaker Fight Song

Ole' brave, ole' Guilford team,
Ole' Crimson and Gray.
Fight on to victory,
That's the Quaker way!
Rah! Rah! Rah!

Ole' brave, ole' Guilford team,
Ole' Crimson and Gray.
Fight on to victory,
That's the Quaker way!
Rah! Rah! Rah!

Video highlights from the recent huge comeback win against Emory & Henry.
A locker room plaque embellished with the fight song is seen at the beginning of the video. Guilford College footballers sing the fight song at the very end.

(Thanks to David Heggie '98 for jogging my memory with the tune!)

Alma Mater

Guilford College Alma Mater

Kindly light our founders kindled,
Midst primeval oak and pine.
Let thy radiance truth revealing,
Now upon our spirits shine.

Sacred mem'ries through the archways,
Of the swiftly passing years.
Still undim'd dear Alma Mater,
Strengthen us, dispel our fears.

So our hearts and voices joining,
Echo Guilford's ancient fame,
Hallow'd be thine each endeavor,
Hallow'd be fair Guilford's name.

(* Music by Austin Scott '43; words by Russel Pope.)

Guilford Football Helmets Past & Present

Generally, no helmets worn from 1892 until roughly 1900. A similar helmet to this one was worn by Quaker grid men in the early 1900s to 1930s.  Usually black or dark brown and made of leather, they were hot, cumbersome and offered little in the way of protection.

1930s, also leather.

1940s, leather.

1950s.  Era of the plastic shell begins.  Consistent use of a face-mask was rare in the 50s and 60s.  If one was used it was traditionally a single bar design.

1960 - 1964

1960 and 1961


1966 - 1971
For some reason, I guess we thought it was o.k. to copy the University of Georgia's athletic logo. (I'm not digging it...)

1972 - 1973

Back to numeral helmets.

1974 - 1976
Pretty plain...

1977 - 1979
The addition of a few stripes.

1980 - 1981
The black center sticker removed.

1982 - 1984

1985 - 1986
A slight change with the stripes.

1987 and 1988
The copycat logo with no stripes.

Back to plain.

1990 (and other periods?)
I'd heard about this helmet, the one with "Nathan the Quaker Man" in formation stance.  A few alumni players from the late 70s and early 80s said they used this design on occasion.  "Offensive Lineman Nathan" was probably discontinued, as it was too specific to one sport.

1991 - 1993
I remember these. They made some contests with Hampden-Sydney confusing as their helmets were nearly identical.

1994-1996, and 1998
I also remember this design.  I think they alternated between plain and numeral designs, depending on the game or opponent.  Either way they were pretty...plain.


1999 - 2002
I never liked the weird "diamond G."  We (thankfully) didn't use it for very long.  This abomination "G" is still on the sides of some basketball shorts worn occasionally by the mascot, otherwise it's not seen around all.

"Reverse design with G."  A return to the white helmet design of the 1950s.  Here, the "G" is getting closer to our present heritage "rectangle G" design.  Various Guilford athletic teams have used a version of this "G" over the years.

First reverse-color helmet with numerals.

2005 to 2012
The "rectangle G" is currently standardized across all varsity sports teams and probably here to stay.  I dig it. (A similar version adorned baseball uniforms from the early 1900s.)

Gray (!) helmets for the 2013 season.  Crimson "G" on one side...

...player numbers on the other. The general consensus among the Guilford community seems to be resounding approval of the new design. I love 'em.

(This pic and the preceding two were taken my me.)

(*Drawings courtesy of HelmetArchive;

Guilford's History

New Garden Boarding School, 1837. This building would form the nucleus of Founders Hall through the ages and into the present. From the Friends Historical Collection, Hege Library.

By the early 19th century, the majority of Quakers in North Carolina were living in and around Guilford County in an area they called “New Garden.” Nathan Hunt, the leader/elder of the New Garden Quakers had since 1830 advocated passionately for a school in which to educate the children of the the Religious Society of Friends. His dream was realized on August 1, 1837 when New Garden Boarding School opened with a student body of twenty-five boys and twenty-five girls. Delilah Reynolds, one of the first students wrote in her diary that day:

Phineas Nixon read the rules; Grandfather Hunt addressed us in a pathetic strain - a strain so pathetic that he faltered very much in trying to express the joy of his heart in beholding this so long deferred...(The Quaker, 1937, pg. 9.)

Guilford’s campus is noted as a historical site where famed abolitionist Levi Coffin - a New Garden Quaker who grew up on the land that would become part of the boarding school a decade later - began his Underground Railroad activities. Escaped slaves came to the woods of New Garden and were aided in their flight to freedom in the North by Quakers in the New Garden community. 

The woods were also a refuge and hiding place for Confederate draft dodgers and war deserters, Rebel and Yankee alike. Some local Quaker families took pity on hungry, tired and scared young men - black or white, Northern or Southern - and left baskets of bread and vegetables in the woods. Occasionally meats, such as hams, were hung from the school’s barn so runaway slaves and war deserters could partake at will.  The school remained open throughout the Civil War, one of very few to do so, particularly in the South, and with support from Friends in the North and Great Britain, gained strength during the Reconstruction era.  

Over the years, New Garden Boarding School evolved into an institution that served young people of every religious affiliation or those with none at all. By the late 1800s, the school had transitioned fully into a four-year liberal arts college. In 1888, New Garden Boarding School officially became Guilford College under an only slightly revised version of the original 1834 charter, making it the fourth-oldest degree-granting institution in North Carolina.

Guilford and the surrounding areas remained largely isolated until the 1920s, when the old trail to Greensboro became the Friendly Road. At that time, the Guilford College vicinity was still considered to be somewhat separate from the city of Greensboro; it was at first a village, then country township and eventually, a suburban area. State maps of North Carolina until quite recently showed "Guilford College" as a separate town west of Greensboro. Generations of students from the area listed “Guilford College, N.C.” - rather than Greensboro - next to their yearbook pictures as their hometown. The Friendly Road became Friendly Avenue around the middle of the 20th Century, yet was still but a two lane road with scant housing and development along it’s path.

Today, a busy and heavily-developed four lane Friendly Avenue is still the most direct route to the center city, connecting Guilford to downtown and a half-dozen neighboring colleges and universities, roughly seven miles to the east. The street name symbolizes the longstanding friendship between town and gown. 

The Guilford campus encompasses 340 peaceful acres of ancient tree canopy and spacious, rolling quad scholarship within Greensboro's city limits. It is one of the very few college campuses in the nation listed by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic District.

While it remains the only Quaker-founded college in the southeastern United States, Guilford is independent of formal ownership by any Quaker body. The school, its customs, administration and even its curriculum continue to be profoundly shaped and influenced by Quaker values, principles and testimonies. However, Guilford College looks beyond its North Carolina roots and Quaker heritage to welcome students from all regions and nations, faith, traditions and life experiences.

(* All photos except the first were taken by me and are part of my personal collection.)

Quaker Heritage

(*) In 1837, Guilford College opened as New Garden Boarding School, an institution intended to serve the children of the Religious Society of Friends living in and around Guilford County, N.C. New Garden Boarding School provided a “guarded” education, one in which children of Friends could be formed in an environment shaped by the Quaker testimonies. The first students at the school used the “thee’s” and “thou’s” of Quaker plain speech, dressed plainly, worshiped in the silence of the Quaker meetinghouse, and were schooled in the simple truths of the Bible and the Quaker community.
Staff and students, late 1800s. Photo: Guilford College

As Quaker society changed and the school grew into a less separated and more diverse college, Guilford constantly interpreted and reinterpreted what core Quaker testimonies were important in its life.

Today, it’s rare to find anyone on campus who uses the plain speech, wears the “Quaker gray,” or expresses their religious faith in any recognizable form of 19th century Quaker orthodoxy. Yet, Quaker testimonies remain central to most facets of the school. Five “normative” testimonies— integrity, simplicity, equality, peace and direct and immediate access to God/Truth—have been incorporated into the school’s curriculum. Guilford College’s seven core values, which are community, diversity, equality, excellence, integrity, justice and stewardship, are clearly based on and consistent with these testimonies. (* Courtesy of Guilford College)

Senior Class officers of the 1920s payed homage to the school's Quaker roots by dressing up in old Quaker garb for yearbook pictures. 
On the left is the facade of Founders Hall, appearing very much as it did in 1837.

(Photos: Guilford College.)

"The college reflects many of the basic concepts and ideals of its Quaker founders, and as a faith based on first-hand experience, Quakers believe in simplicity, equality of human relations, love for mankind, and the sharing of material and spiritual goods. To Friends, religion is a way of life rather than a doctrine or creed. Freedom to follow the “inner light” is the essence of their faith and it is in this context that instruction and scholarly investigation developed at Guilford. Friends have emphasized coeducation and believe in educating the “whole student” in order to graduate truly educated people capable of independent thought."   

(Guilford College, “Statement of Purpose,” ms., p.1)

"Such an education has two goals: to prepare each student to live an intelligently directed and purpose-driven life so that he/she will bring mature understanding and wisdom to all their relationships, and to help them discover and develop their unique interests and abilities so that they can make the maximum contribution to their fellow man." 

(Guilford College “Faculty Handbook,” ms. , 1963, p.2)

Quaker students, 1949, at the "Hut" Friends Center. 
Photo: Guilford College 

On average, 8-10% of students, faculty and staff at Guilford College are Quaker. But, you don't have to be a Quaker to enjoy the coziness of the Hut; you can be any denomination, 
or none at all (Guilford's pretty accepting). It's a great place to have a class, sip coffee, study, nap, or just hang out by the fire. 

"Quakerism 101." Max Carter, professor of religious studies, director of the Friend's Center and expert on Quakerism, totally breaks down the origins of the under five minutes.

Here, Max gives a tour of a few landmarks in the Guilford College community. Included near the end is "Arcadia," the spacious, late Victorian-era home of the first president and lady of the College. Located adjacent from the school, Arcadia was a hub of campus activity, hosting dignitaries, speakers, visiting professors, faculty, staff and students for many years. In later years it was a farmhouse, at times boarding a few students as they worked campus jobs to pay tuition. The house is referenced in the last stanza of the "Guilford Campus Song."   

Nathan the Quaker (Mascot)

Little is known about exactly how long Guilford has used the Quaker Man” as its mascot; however,  the college’s founding by The Society of Friends no doubt influenced the tradition and the mascot has played a role at school sporting events ever since baseball and football became popular collegiate sports, both nationally and at Guilford, in 1889 and 1892, respectively.  

"Live" mascot. From The Quaker, 1949. 

For most of the 20th century, human actors, usually members of the cheerleading squad, have played the role of the “Quaker Man, “ and there are yearbook pictures from the 1940s that show both a “Quaker Man,” as well as a counterpart “Quaker Woman.” Contrary to the Society of Friends’ outward stance against conflict, battle and war, the “Quaker Man” of the mid-century carried a musket and possibly fired it (sans bullet) after Guilford touchdowns.
"Quaker Woman."  
(Obviously a dude...) 
Mid-20th Century. 
Photos courtesy of Guilford College.

Drawing of Quaker couple raking leaves. 
Photo by me, of a drawing. 
(The Guilfordian, 1949.)

Nathan's "uniform" has changed little since 1968, 
barring the design of the "G" on his chest. The 
"buckle Q" on his hat (for Quakers) is constant.

In 1968, John Lambeth decided that a new logo was needed to signify a new era in Guilford’s athletic program. John contacted Duke Hilliard, a Western Guilford High School student, with artistic ability, to design several Quakers. Hilliard came up with different Quakers – a smiling Quaker, a Quaker with mini-glasses and a mean looking Quaker. For years Guilford had used the Quaker Oats passive and benign-looking Quaker as its symbol. The entire coaching staff immediately selected the “mean” Quaker as their logo, and it quickly became a favorite among the athletes, coaches and many alumni and friends. The new Quaker was the subject of several Guilfordian articles that disapproved of it as a representative or symbol of Guilford College. Herb Appenzeller said that it was merely a caricature, much like the odd- shaped Deacon of Wake Forest, the Wolf of N.C. State, the Blue Devil of Duke and of Ram of Carolina. 

The new Quaker became a controversial topic within the athletic department when golf clubs, a tennis racquet, a football, a baseball bat and a baseball were added to the logo. Coaches of volleyball, lacrosse and soccer became unhappy because their sports were not represented. As a result the revised Quaker was discarded for the former Quaker logo. 

The new Quaker weathered the storm for the next few years, but in later years many on campus suggested that Guilford’s new logo, which included the “Black Oak,” replace the Quaker. As a compromise all athletic stationery uses the tree, while only Quaker Club stationery has the Quaker as its logo.

(* Excerpted from Pride in the Past, by Herb Appenzeller, former Director of Athletics for 31 years and Jefferson Pilot Professor of Sports Medicine Emeritus at Guilford College.)

Keychain from my time at Guilford in the early 90s 
(the keyring connection broke long ago).
The "G" on Nathan's sweater resembles the "G" on letter sweaters from the mid-20th Century. 
Photo by me.

The main Guilford College founder and leader/elder of the New Garden community, Nathan Hunt. 
Photo is from the cover of the 75th Anniversary Celebration program magazine cover and courtesy of Guilford College.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, a student has volunteered to dress up in an anthropomorphic “Nathan, the Quaker Man” costume, “Nathan” being the name of one of Guilford College’s early founders, Nathan Hunt.  "Nathan" appears at all home football and basketball games, as well as other Guilford home sporting events, to represent the college, drum up enthusiasm, entertain spectators, and cheer on the team. Like all costumed mascots, "Nathan" doesn’t speak, but is often found among the Quaker faithful, striking poses, high-fiving spectators, interacting with children, and generally spreading good will and team pride.  His usual halftime center field dance of the "Macarena" is a crowd favorite, as well as his pizza box toss, and of course, when he chucks branded Guilford gear such as T-Shirts into the stands.

Nathan doing the Macarena during halftime. Photo: Guilford College.

In the video below, "Nathan" does the "Harlem Quake" with a large gathering of students in the Quakeria, a campus hangout for pizza, subs, ping-pong or zoning out on the large saltwater aquarium's tropical fish.  

Guilford College Men's Basketball players lining up before their game.

Source: Guilford College Athletics
On a personal note, I wanted to lead a charge several years ago to 
"update" Nathan - make him more human, or at least not so...comical.  I thought his bulbous, Muppet-like nose, somewhat goofy stance and clothes needed a re-boot.  I'd pictured a more life-like drawing of Nathan in the "buckle Q" hat, boots, charcoal or "Quaker gray" long pants, and a light gray sweater with GUILFORD or the "G" emblazoned in dark crimson red on the front, and holding a QUAKERS pennant.  His visage would change from "angry" to slightly menacing, with a sly grin instead of a scowl. 
(Okay, still comical but slightly updated...)  

Apparently, it's a sensitive subject.  I was informed by people in the know at the College that tampering with Nathan would be a losing battle.  They were right.  Its come up several times over the years, with no changes made.  Most students, alums, staff, administration, faculty, and all governing boards pretty much like Nathan just the way he is.

There is some periodical noise to change his persona, but for the foreseeable future Nathan is here to stay.  And I'm cool with that. 
Besides, just about all living Guilfordians identify with this design...Muppet nose, squatting stance and all.

*** UPDATE***

Looks like Nathan made an appearance on football helmets for the final game of 2015!