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Alma Mater


Although alma (nourishing) was a common epithet for Ceres, Cybele, Venus, and other mother goddesses, it was not frequently used in conjunction with mater in classical Latin.[7] In the Oxford Latin Dictionary, the phrase is attributed to Lucretius in his De rerum natura where he used the term as an epithet to describe an earth goddess:




alma mater



late 14c., Latin, literally "nurturing mother," a title given by Romans to certain goddesses, especially Ceres and Cybele, from alma, fem. of almus "nourishing," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain" (from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish") + māter "mother" (see mother (n.1)). The use of the Latin phrase for "one's university or school" is attested from 1710.


"female parent, a woman in relation to her child," Middle English moder, from Old English modor, from Proto-Germanic *mōdēr (source also of Old Saxon modar, Old Frisian moder, Old Norse moðir, Danish moder, Dutch moeder, Old High German muoter, German Mutter), from PIE *mater- "mother" (source also of Latin māter, Old Irish mathir, Lithuanian motė, Sanskrit matar-, Greek mētēr, Old Church Slavonic mati), "[b]ased ultimately on the baby-talk form *mā- (2); with the kinship term suffix *-ter-" [Watkins]. Spelling with -th- dates from early 16c., though that pronunciation is probably older (see father (n.)).


In 2014, the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees were discussing long-term objectives such as greater engagement and support, when the idea of an alma mater emerged. Originated in 18th-century England, an alma mater is a song or hymn that lyrically expresses loyalty to a school, college or university.


In 1941, when The University of Southern Mississippi was known as Mississippi Southern College, Yvonne Hamilton '43 and Clara Davenport '42 wrote the lyrics for the school's alma mater. Mary Leila Gardner arranged the conductor's score. In 1963, the alma mater was retooled, with changes made to the first verse and Luigi Zaninelli arranging the current score. The alma mater is played before every Southern Miss academic and athletic event. 041b061a72


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