Goodman: Alma mater, may thy words forever shine


Meredith Goodman, Columnist

If you have ever glanced at my columns, you might have noticed that I am a huge hometown Longhorns fan. At every University of Texas game or event that I attended, from women’s basketball games to football tailgates and even band concerts, every fan in the arena knew the words and sang along to the alma mater.

Northwestern, we have a school spirit problem. Although we all wear purple to the football games and sing the fight song loudly, barely anyone knows the school alma mater (or people know it and they aren’t singing along). As a senior who will graduate soon — and will sing the alma mater at her graduation ceremony — this irks me a lot. It makes me frustrated enough to yell at the Homecoming Royalty when more than half of them did not sing along to the alma mater (yes sorry, that was me obnoxiously yelling during the Homecoming ceremony on Deering Meadow).

This isn’t even a new topic of concern for me. I have written a column on the importance of knowing the alma mater previously. A year after I wrote that column, things seem as if they haven’t improved much.

Tomorrow we will play the Wolverines, and I guarantee you that every Michigan fan will know the alma mater and sing it proudly if the Michigan band comes to Ryan Field and plays it. The Ohio State fans not only embarrassed us on the football field last year, but their fans stayed after the game to sing their alma mater, “Carmen Ohio.” Similarly, I am very sure that when NU fans travel to Notre Dame next week, we will hear: “Notre Dame, Our Mother.”

But more important than knowing the alma mater in order to avoid embarrassment in front of rival schools is the exhibition of pride in our University. Fellow seniors, remember that we will sing the alma mater at graduation and at any football game that we return to as alumni. The alma mater is as much of an NU tradition as painting The Rock, Dillo Day or the primal scream, and we should respect it by learning the words.

Despite all the negativity I have spewed in this column, I believe that there is hope for the alma mater. One of my friends who is a peer adviser told me that this year at the Millennium Park welcome ceremony for Wildcat Welcome, Burgwell Howard, assistant vice president of student engagement at NU, taught new freshmen and transfer students the alma mater. I am happy to hear this and hope that these students can serve as an example for the rest of NU by singing the alma mater proudly at all school occasions.

In closing, I would like to print the alma mater in this column so that everyone can learn it (only 40 words!):

Hail to Alma Mater
We will sing thy praise forever
All thy sons and daughters
Pledge thee victory and honor
Alma Mater Praise be thine
May thy name forever shine
Hail to purple
Hail to white
Hail to thee Northwestern

Meredith Goodman is a Weinberg senior. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].