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The Alma Mater 

sung at the end of the IF Sing,
led by prior year's Best Overall winner
original words were by Edwin H Lewis
slightly modified for gender neutrality by SCC

Today we gladly sing the praise of her
Whose daughters and whose sons,
now loyal voices let us raise.
And Bless her with our benizons.
Of all fair mothers, fairest she.
Most wise of all that wisest be
Most true of all the true say we
Is our dear Alma Mater.

Her mighty learning we would tell tho' life
Is something more than lore
She could not love her children well,
Loved she not truth and honor more.
We praise her breadth of charity
Her faith that truth shall make men free
That right shall live eternally
We praise our Alma Mater.

The City White hath fled the earth but where
The azure waters lie
a nobler City hath its Birth
The City Grey that ne'er shall die.
For decade and for centuries
Its battlemented tow'rs shall rise,
Beneath the hope-filled Western skies
Tis Our Dear Alma Mater.


Refresh or learn the Alma Mater

.....Click to hear Alma Mater

Our Alma Mater

The words mean what?

Alma Mater  literallly, nourishing mother

Benison, a blessing, a good saying. See Shakespeare's King Lear, for one early use. Bene song.

The City White is the 1893 Columbian Exposition, largely white plaster temporary Greco-Roman buildings around Jackson Park, all torn down, but visited by roughly 25% of the US population in its six month existence. (See Erik Larson's recent best-seller, The Devil in the White City.) One building- The Palace of Fine Arts was rebuilt in Indiana grey limestone, now the Museum of Science and Industry. Tis a fitting symbol of the rest of the "gray city". Of course, along the Midway, the gray stone quadrangles then were built that we love so well.

 Methinks the azure waters are Lake Michigan, not Botany pond nor the Midway which was to be flooded like Venice until a completely soggy South Side was forecast.

 Battlemented towers  are clearly the old quadrangle buildings with their crenulated tops- the original function being fortifications on castles. 

Yes, yes, the Columbian Exposition should have been in 1892. Construction delays.

Alumnus,  Latin word meaning graduate of a school.   Plural is alumni, for a masculine word in Latin.   The word in Latin is a masculine word, but in no way denotes male graduates,  any more than the feminine word grenouille in French refers to only female frogs.  Word gender should not be mistaken for sexual gender in humans. Websters may follow common use, but it is clearly based on ignorance.

 Alum,  any of several double sulfates of trivalent metals, available at your local pharmacy to use as an astringent, coagulant, or styptic.

The University of Chicago Alma Mater Song

Latin version- coming soon.

Alma Mater sheet music



If weather does not permit the Sing in Hutchinson Court, we will duck inside to Mandel Hall. Songleaders will assemble their singers in the hall, and march down the center or side aisles to reach the stage.
That reminds me of the time about 1973 when we heard Peter Serkin play a concert in Mandel Hall, and we were in the balcony. Some old guy was rustling papers in the lower corner of the balcony, near the stage. He was even scribbling on the paper energetically at times. Students had better manners, but this was some Hyde Park street person or music professor without couth. When the lights came up, my friend recognized the old codger. It was famed pianist Rudolph Serkin, Peter's father, with the music scores, marking his son's missed notes. Mandel Hall can be a tough audience. Beware. Pray for fair skies.

UC Fight Songs

Wave the Flag
  by Gordon Erickson

Wave the flag for old Chicago
Maroon th color grand

Ever shall the team be victors
Known throughout the land. (zumm rah rah)

With the grand old man to lead them
Without a peer they'll stand.

Wave again that dear old banner
For they're heroes, every man.

Go Chicago  (often sung right after Wave the Flag)
 Campbell Martin Chicago,1912
  to music by Wm T Purdy, Hamilton, 1906

Plunge, plunge on through the line
And fight for old Chicago's fame

Smash into every play,
Chicago grit will win this grame (will win this game)

As we roll up the score,
The cheers resound from high and low,
So plunge through that line again
And go Chicago, GO GO GO!


  Stagg Field would be jammed with thousands of UC students and fans cheering on Coach Stagg and the Maroons. The team was known as the Monsters of the Midway.   The U of C won more Big Ten football Championships than any other school until it was surpassed by Michigan in the 1960s. By then, Chicago had been out of the Big Ten since the Hutchins era- "When I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it passes over me."   The Chicago Bears adopted the stylized  C on their helmets from the old UC Football team helmets. 
   Until the early 1990s, at the conclusion of every IF Sing, the Order of the C presented blankets to graduating varsity athletes in all sports. The athletes led singing the Alma Mater. Some of the coaches knew all three verses.

In the Stagg era, the University of Chicago football half-time was a showcase for the world's largest drum, Big Ed. When football was disbanded, Big Ed went to Texas, where big drums are appreciated. When football was revived in the early 60s, half-time was again a matter of pride as the UC Marching Kazoo band took to the field with the world's purportedly largest kazoo. UC students have always exercised their musical talent in creative ways.

In the 1950s a group of UC fraternity men achieved some local fame as the Nasal Nineteen. In the early 1920s, Blackfriars made bald fun of John D. Rockefeller's habit of giving great sums of money to the University and plunking down UC extension schools in tropical places where there was oil.