sung at the
end of the IF Sing
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
of all the true say we
Is our dear Alma Mater.
Her mighty learning we would tell tho' life
more than lore
She could not love her children well,
Loved she not truth and honor more.
We praise her breadth
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
City Grey that ne'er shall die.
For decade and for centuries
Its battlemented tow'rs shall rise,
hope-filled Western skies
Tis Our Dear Alma Mater.
Refresh or learn the Alma Mater
.....Click to hear Alma Mater
The words mean what?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Wave the flag for old Chicago
Maroon her color grand
Ever shall our team be victors
Known throughout the land zumm rah rah
With the Grand Old Man to Lead us
Without a peer we'll stand.
So Wave again that dear old banner
For they're heroes, every man.
And then we'll plunge, plunge on
through that line
And fight for Old Chicago's fame
Never a vantage yield
Chicago's grit will win the
grame (will win the 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 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."
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.