Alma mater
Alma mater pronounced ˈælmə ˈmeɪtər, ˈɑːlmə ˈmɑːtər), was used in ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 as a title for various mother goddess
Mother goddess
Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation or embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.Many different goddesses have...

es, especially Ceres or Cybele
Cybele , was a Phrygian form of the Earth Mother or Great Mother. As with Greek Gaia , her Minoan equivalent Rhea and some aspects of Demeter, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth...

, and in Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 for the Virgin Mary.

General term

In modern times, it is often any school, college, or university at which one has studied and, usually, from which one has graduated. The term may also refer to a song or hymn associated with a school.

The expression is almost always used in the singular form, but the Latin plural is almae matres.

Alma Mater Studiorum ("Nourishing Mother of Studies") is the motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 and original name of the University of Bologna
University of Bologna
The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest continually operating university in the world, the word 'universitas' being first used by this institution at its foundation. The true date of its founding is uncertain, but believed by most accounts to have been 1088...

, the oldest continually operating university in the world, and other European universities, such as the Alma Mater Lipsiensis
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

 in Leipzig, Germany, have also used the expression in their names.

At Queen's University
Queen's University
Queen's University, , is a public research university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841, the university pre-dates the founding of Canada by 26 years. Queen's holds more more than of land throughout Ontario as well as Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England...

 in Kingston
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

, Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

 in Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, the main student government is known as the Alma Mater Society.


On the campus of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 on the steps of Low Library there is a well known bronze statue of Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French
Daniel Chester French
Daniel Chester French was an American sculptor. His best-known work is the sculpture of a seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.-Life and career:...

. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a large public research-intensive university in the state of Illinois, United States. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system...

 also has an Alma Mater
Alma Mater (Illinois sculpture)
The Alma Mater is a bronze statue located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The long flowerbed stretching from the front of the Alma Mater to the corner of Green Street and Wright Street is known as the Alma Mater Plaza...

 statue by Lorado Taft
Lorado Taft
Lorado Zadoc Taft was an American sculptor, writer and educator. Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois in 1860 and died in his home studio in Chicago in 1936.-Early years and education:...

. A mural in Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

's Sterling Memorial Library
Sterling Memorial Library
Sterling Memorial Library is the largest library at Yale University, containing over 4 million volumes. It is an example of Gothic revival architecture, designed by James Gamble Rogers, adorned with thousands of panes of stained glass created by G. Owen Bonawit.The Library has 15 levels, each with...

 depicts alma mater as a bearer of light and truth standing in the midst of the personified arts and sciences, painted in 1932 by Eugene Savage
Eugene Savage
Eugene Francis Savage was an American painter and sculptor known for his murals in the manner made official under the Works Projects Administration. He also is known for his work on the Bailey Fountain in Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York.He was born in Covington, Indiana...

Outside the United States there is another sculpture of Alma Mater on the steps of the monumental entrance to the Universidad de La Habana, in Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. The statue was cast in 1919 by Mario Korbel
Mario Korbel
Mario Joseph Korbel, American sculptor born in Osik, Bohemia on March 22, 1882 to a clergyman, Joseph Korbel and his wife Katherina Dolezal Korbel. He began studying sculpture in his homeland, continuing his studies after moving to the United States at age 18...

, and installed in its current scenic location in 1927 under the direction of architect Raul Otero.

In popular music

"Alma mater" is also used as a song title outside academia.
  • "Alma Mater" is a song performed by the Portuguese gothic metal and black metal band Moonspell
    Moonspell is a Portuguese gothic metal band from Brandoa, Lisbon. Formed in 1992, the group released their first EP Under the Moonspell in 1994, a year before the release of their first album Wolfheart...

    , from the album Wolfheart
    Wolfheart is the first full-length album by the band Moonspell. All of the tracks are in English except for "Trebaruna" and "Ataegina", which are in Portuguese, as well as the chorus of "Alma Mater"...

    in 1995.
  • In Chuck Berry
    Chuck Berry
    Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" , "Roll Over Beethoven" , "Rock and Roll Music" and "Johnny B...

    's 1972 number one hit "My Ding-A-Ling
    My Ding-a-Ling
    "My Ding-a-Ling" was the title of a novelty song recorded by Chuck Berry, and his only U.S. number-one single on the pop charts. Later that year the song, in a longer unedited form, was on the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions...

    ", a live recording, Berry can be heard saying to the audience, "We must do our Alma Mater." He then gets the females and males in the audience to sing alternate parts of the chorus.
  • Morrissey
    Steven Patrick Morrissey , known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career,...

     released a song called "Alma Matters
    Alma Matters
    "Alma Matters" is a song by Morrissey, released as a single in July 1997. It was the first single to be taken from the Maladjusted album and was released one week before the album....

    " on his Maladjusted
    Maladjusted is an album by Morrissey, released on 11 August 1997. The album was praised at the time as a return to form for Morrissey, albeit one without the broad appeal of some of his earlier work....

  • "Alma Mater" is a song performed by Alice Cooper
    Alice Cooper
    Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades...

     on his School's Out album in 1972.
  • One of the musical numbers in the ill-fated Carrie: The Musical is entitled "Alma Mater" with lyrics by Dean Pitchford.
  • Alma Mater is the name of an album released in 2000 by Rodrigo Leão
    Rodrigo Leão
    Rodrigo Leão is a Portuguese musician and composer. He was born in Lisbon in 1964. He became known for his musical compositions and participation in Portuguese bands such as Madredeus and Sétima Legião....

    . The album's title track includes the participation of Adriana Calcanhotto
    Adriana Calcanhotto
    Adriana Calcanhotto is a Brazilian singer/composer. Her melancholic songs are often categorized as belonging to the MPB genre...

  • Underdog Alma Mater
    Underdog Alma Mater
    Underdog Alma Mater is the debut album from Dallas band Forever the Sickest Kids. It was released on April 29, 2008. The first track to be heard from this album was "Whoa Oh! ", which was released on their MySpace page on March 19 at midnight...

    is the name of the first album by the Texan band, Forever the Sickest Kids
    Forever the Sickest Kids
    Forever the Sickest Kids is an American pop punk band from Dallas, Texas, who have yet to be signed to a new label after the closure of Universal Motown Records. In issue 228 of Alternative Press, the group was named the number one underground band in the "22 Best Underground Bands". Their first...


External links

  • Definition of alma mater at Merriam-Webster
    Merriam–Webster, which was originally the G. & C. Merriam Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially dictionaries that are descendants of Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language .Merriam-Webster Inc. has been a...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.