Share on Facebook

Simple Gifts and WVU

We may not look the same, talk the same or act the same. But as Mountaineers, we share a special, common bond: we’ve all been there—a place in our hearts—the place just right.

Many of us first arrived at this gold-and-blue tinted home in the mountains as timid freshmen, finding our way with the help of a faculty mentor, a kind-hearted staff member or a fellow classmate. For others, your siblings, parents or grandparents came here, and you first saw the beauty ofWVU through their eyes.

Maybe others became a Mountaineer for the first time in the packed stands of Milan Puskar Stadium or Coliseum.

Whether an athletic venue or a classroom … Towers or Woodburn Hall … the Mountainlair or the Health Sciences Center … the PRT or Law School hill, all of it encompasses a place just right.

The title, “The Place Just Right,” comes from the lyrics of one of our signature songs, “Simple Gifts,” which we know you are familiar with—thanks to the Pride of West Virginia Marching Band, our University Choir and other extraordinary WVU performing ensembles.

Written as a Shaker hymn in 1848, “Simple Gifts” was largely unknown until the 1940s when noted American composer Aaron Copland borrowed it for the score of his ballet Appalachian Spring. Another well-known version appeared in 1963 by English songwriter Sydney Carter, who adapted the hymn for his song “Lord of the Dance.”

In 1973, the WVU Marching Band adopted the song for its football halftime shows, and the University community has embraced “Simple Gifts” ever since.

The lyrics speak true to the Mountaineer spirit: values, character, and a belief in simplicity, humility and hard work. You will find those traits in “Simple Gifts,” and in the hearts of Mountaineers everywhere.

It’s more than a song to us—it exemplifies the qualities that define us. Not just during holidays, but each and every day.

Please enjoy this year’s holiday message, a pleasant reminder of these “Simple Gifts,” featuring our University Singers under the direction of Jeffery Redding at various iconic locations around campus.

Truly, the phrase “The Place Just Right” resounds in this holiday message.