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Alma mater statue in front of Low library of Columbia University in New York City

Alma mater (Latin: "nourishing mother"), pronounced /ˈælmə ˈmeɪtər/ (UK), /ˈɑːlmə ˈmɑːtər/ (US), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele[1], and in Medieval Christianity for the Virgin Mary.

In modern times, it is often a school, college, or university attended during one's formative years,[1] which is usually interpreted to mean from where one earned one's first degree or doctorate, or both.[2] The term may also refer to a song or hymn associated with a university or college[3].

The expression is almost always used in the singular, but the Latin plural is almae matres.

On the campus of Columbia University on the steps of Low Library there is a well known bronze statue of Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also has an Alma Mater statue.

Alma Mater Studiorum ("Nourishing Mother of Studies") is also the motto of the University of Bologna, the oldest university of Europe, founded in 1088[4].

At Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, their main student government is known as the Alma Mater Society.

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Simple English

Alma mater is Latin for "nourishing mother". It was used in ancient Rome as a title for the mother goddess, and in Medieval Christianity for the Virgin Mary. In current days, it is used for the university or college a person went to.

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