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Alma Mater Song

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Thank you, for my first encore I'd like to turn to a type of song that people like myself find ourselves subjected to with increasing frequency as time goes on, and that is the college alma mater. You'll find yourself at a reunion of old grads, and old undergrads, and eh... somebody will start croaking out one of these things and everyone will gradually join in — each in his own key, of course — until the place is just soggy with nostalgia.

An anthem sung in praise of a college, high school or other scholastic institution. Often sung at Class Reunions. May be used to begin a Flashback to school days.

The most traditional examples are based on old folk tunes. A common habit of students is making up parody, Filk-style versions of their Alma Mater Song, with the same tune and rhyme scheme but offbeat lyrics.

Not to be confused with the Football Fight Song.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Seitokai Yakuindomo's first OP is this, which is weird considering the incredibly perverted nature of the show.
  • During the graduation scene of Angel Beats! Kanade writes one about mapo tofu.
    From the afterlife world in Heaven
    A comfy number
    Is sent
    Keep eating it until you die
    Mapo tofu
    Mapo tofu
    Mapo tofu.
  • In Food Wars!, the Autumn Festival opens with the Totsuki Culinary Academy anthem (Episode s3e02 in the anime). All the students join together in singing it ... except Soma Yukihira, who after six months' attendance didn't even know the school had a song, much less what it is.
    Here in the bosom of the land of the rising sun,
    Come ye sharp and bright-souled youths
    Look upon the pinnacle of food.
    Now, bestir yourselves.
    Ah, hone yourselves. (Hone yourselves.)
    You are in the sacred land of gourmands.
    You are here in Totsuki Academy.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, the student body of Shuchi'in Academy sings the school anthem at the beginning of every week during the school assembly. One of the many "Fujiwara tutors Shirogane to not suck at stuff" chapters revolves around her teaching him to sing properly so he'll stop lip-syncing.

    Films — Animated 
  • Monsters University: The anthem for the titular school is sung by the student body before the final event of the Scare Games.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T has one for the Terwilliker Institute.
  • Lean on Me: Joe Clark requires every student to know the school song and sing it on demand. He also requires no one move during a public singing of it, which provokes a memorable scene where he chews out then suspends a teacher for doing so.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Welcome Back, Kotter had an episode revolving around the school anthem ("Oh Buchanan My Buchanan Fair Buchanan, Oh Buchanan My Fair"), which was written by Mr. Woodman many years previously and updated by the Sweathogs, which was discovered to be plagiarized.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth gives us a nice 'anthem' by General Melchett and Lt. George, two posh Cambridge grads:
    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the stream,
    Belts off, trousers down,
    Isn't life a scream?!
  • In Suits Mike nearly exposes his fraud when he's unable to recall the Harvard school song, having not studied it in advance. Harvey saves him by claiming most people forget it, then privately tells Mike to learn it.
  • On Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, X the Owl occasionally sang the Owl Correspondence School song:
    Owl Correspondence School
    Dear OCS
    We do our lessons
    And we get a U or an S
    We hope for an S
    Owl Correspondence School
    Dear OCS
    Owl Correspondence School
    We love you best
    We love you best
  • In one episode of Person of Interest, Harold (Who had attended MIT under one of his ridiculously numerous aliases) sings the school song with a former classmate. Shaw immediately snarks that Reese will be sorry that he missed that.
  • Charles Darwin Grammar School, the fictional school in Series 3 of That'll Teach 'Em has one. As the name of the school suggests, the song emphasizes competition in which only the best students survive. During one night, the boys decide to sing a parody of it, when they were supposed to be sleeping. Naturally, this gets them into trouble with the house master.

  • Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series has its own song. Interestingly, in the books there is no set melody for it, as headmaster Dumbledore tells the students to pick their own tune when singing it. Naturally, it this devolves into a cacophony when sung this way. In the films, the song has a set melody, but is only prominently featured in a deleted scene of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • Although the lyrics have never been revealed in the books, Unseen University in Discworld apparently has an official anthem, traditionally sung from the top of the Tower of Art by the UU choir at dawn on May Day. Since the tower is 800 feet tall, no-one can hear them, but the faculty and students gather beneath the tower, count off the five minutes it takes to sing the song, and then applaud.

  • Before singing My Ding-a-Ling, Chuck Berry states, "We must do our alma mater, we must do our alma mater!" However, the song is not an example of the trope.
  • Does Alice Cooper's "Alma Mater" count? Maybe it's more of a subversion, but still...
  • Steely Dan's "My Old School" is a Subversion, about a grudge Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have against their alma mater, Bard College, for its complicity in the wrongful arrest of 50 students—including them—in 1969.
  • Tom Lehrer parodies the genre with "Bright College Days", on the album An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. Actually, it's less a parody of this than of "The Whiffenpoof Song" and other college drinking songs.
  • The never-officially-released Monty Python song "School Song" (available on the "Hastily Cobbled Together for a Fast Buck" bootleg album), features a high-pitched schoolboy singing one of these in an assembly, whilst Michael Palin's headmaster loudly berates other misbehaving pupils:
    "Will the boy, on top of the other boy, on top of the three boys, on top of the matron, kindly desist!"
    "Hamwell, Spotter, Cornflake, Swivel, Burter, Oddballs, and anyone else with a silly name, come and see me afterward."
    "I don't care what it is, Darcy, TAKE IT OUT OF DANKWORTH'S TROUSERS!"
  • Canadian comedy legends Bowser And Blue parody this in Life Will Be Great When We're Dead, about a suicide bomber training school in Pakistan.
    "Oh, our Alma-Martyr!
    Will you hear our call?
    As our heads fly through the air, like a big football!"

  • Our Miss Brooks: The radio episodes "Clay City English Teacher" and "Mr. Laythrop returns to School" feature the Madison anthem, "O Madison". Miss Brooks adds her own lyrics in parody:
    O Madison!
    Thou Madison!
    (As old as Thomas Addison!)
    O hallowed halls!
    (O Basketballs!)
    How short the day!
    (how short the pay!)
    When we gray hair at Madison!
    We'll still be there at Madison!
    (Hello Clay City!)

  • Grease has the Rydell Alma Mater, followed by an unaffectionate parody.
  • Lady in the Dark has the Mapleton High Chorale in the Class Reunion that opens the second Dream Sequence.
    • In The American Way, the elementary school children of the same town sang "Mapleton, the Gem of Ohio."
  • The opera Street Scene uses the Real Life anthem of Julia Richman High School, New York (by Eva L. Bennett, not Kurt Weill).
  • "Students Are We Of Dear Old Tait College" from Good News.
  • "Dear Old Shiz" in Wicked.
  • In the musical of the same name based off School of Rock, "Horace Green Alma Mater" is this.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty,
    By the shores of Big Snake Lake.
    Though your swings are rusty,
    We know they'll never break.
    From your gleaming mess hall,
    To your hallowed baseball field,
    Your spic-and-span infirmary,
    Where all our wounds are healed.
    Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty,
    Below Mount Avalanche.
    We will always love Kamp Krusty,
    A registered trademark of the Krusty Corporation,
    All rights reserved!
  • Super Chicken sings with a fellow alumnus of the Harvard School of Watch Repair (or: Tick Tock Tech):
    Time to chime our alma mater
    For the mainspring of all schools,
    Tick Tock Tech, great educator,
    Shock proof, knock proof, seventeen jewels! Rah!
  • The Dover Boys have one as well.
    Pimento U, oh sweet PU,
    Thy fragrant odor scents the air,
    A pox on Yale, poo-pooh Purdue,
    Pimento U, my college fair.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle have two memorable school songs, representing Bullwinkle's and Capt. Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz's respective schools. Bullwinkle attended Wossamatta U, while Capt. Peachfuzz is a graduate of Waxahatchie Normal (leading to a lame pun where a school reunion is described as "going back to Normal.")
    Wossamatta, hats off to you!
    To thy college, ocher and Alice blue
    We will e'er be faithful and true
    Hail, Wossamatta, hail, better we should be in jail
    Oh Waxahatchie, fair and proud
    Thy sons and daughters sing out loud
    Our praise for you will never cease
    All hail magenta and cerise.

    Real Life 
  • Frequently set to the tune of an old song called "Annie Lisle" (no, really, see that Wikipedia entry for a listing of the schools that use it, and it's not even a complete one).
  • "Gaudeamus Igitur" is an old college-y song with Bilingual Bonus for those who can translate the (raunchy, for medieval standards) Latin lyrics.
    • Frequently performed as a borderline dirge by those who can't understand the lyrics, have never heard it performed properly and don't realize that it's supposed to be a cheerful drinking song.
      • Smith College students stop on the last verse, maybe that's why.
  • Mount Holyoke's official song starts out, "Mount Holyoke, we pay thee devotion..." Quite naturally, the parody starts out, "Mount Holyoke, we pay thee tuition..." and eventually ends up describing pulling an all-nighter and running swearing across campus to hand your still-unfinished essay in on time. Spot on.
  • There's also "Wildcat Victory," the fight song and Alma Mater Song of Kansas State University.