175 Makers of History: J. Marvin Rast

J. Marvin Rast 18C 29T
Author of Alma Mater Lyrics

Marvin Rast

J. Marvin Rast, a Methodist minister and educator (he was president of Lander College in South Carolina from 1941 to 1948), wrote a religiously themed syndicated column, "Altar Stairs," for thirty years.

But he turned in his most famous work, at least in the opinion of the Emory community, when he was a senior in Emory College. Following a Men's Glee Club practice in spring 1918, director Christian Hamff lamented the absence of an Emory song. Hearing this, Rast retreated to his dorm and wrote the lyrics that became the Emory alma mater. The hymn made its debut at Rast's own graduation later that year.