Writing 'We Will Climb'


By Jimmy Dunne

After meeting the Pepperdine’s fabulous students, its board, administrators and alumni, the goal was to write an alma mater that pushed the boundaries of the genre.

One thing that so many in Pepperdine’s family spoke to — is how they climb.  The magnificent university is perched above the Pacific Ocean with amazing views.  They climb the hills of the campus class, they climb back down, and they do it all together.  They have classes in professor’s homes on campus, they study abroad together; and, most importantly, they inspire each other to truly make a difference in the world.  I wanted to try to capture that.

Lyrically, it steps outside of traditional alma maters, which almost always sing praise and loyalty to their school — often with words that would be appropriate for pretty much any school.

This story is of a Pepperdine senior; looking out, on an early morning to an extraordinary vista of the Pacific Ocean and his/her university below.   It’s a moment of reflection of wondering what the future will bring.  And, as the song evolves, knowing the light of Pepperdine and its family will always be there along the journey of life.

Musically, it starts with an uncharacteristic ‘verse’ — intentionally unmelodic and conversational.

It leads into the heart of the alma mater, which can be performed by choirs, their wind ensemble, a marching band, a symphony — or as a simple guitar or piano/vocal.

The “Alma Mater” ends — opening the curtain to a Coda sing along section (in the spirit of the Coda of Hey, Jude).


In front of me, the most amazing vista
All I see — the richest college memories
Looking back, I realize
I’m right where I should be

Will I climb
Will I dare to dream
The light of the lantern
Will it shine through me

Will I catch
A wondrous wave
Will I ride on a crest
That shapes my days

And when the storms out on the sea
Test all I’m born to be
I will draw from my days here
You’ll always be, always be with me

We will climb
We will dare to dream
The light of the lantern
It will shine through me

We will climb
We will reach for more
We’ll hold this light together
We’ll share these days forever
We will climb


I will climb  / I will climb /  yes, I’ll climb
I will shine  / I will shine /  yes, I’ll shine



Music and Lyrics by Jimmy Dunne


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