Alma Mater Lyrics Contest

As part of UW-Whitewater’s Sesquicentennial, our campus will introduce a new alma mater. The Chancellor’s Cabinet has identified the new tune. Now, we need you to write the lyrics as part of a contest. First-place will receive $500. Second-place will receive $200.

Listen to new alma mater tune »  Sheet music »  Sheet music with example lyrics »

Examples of other alma maters »

More information about the contest:

  1. What is an alma mater?

    "Alma mater" is a Latin term that means, literally, fostering or nourishing mother. The term is used to refer to the university or college from which one graduated as well as to a song of praise for that institution. Not to be confused with a school's fight song, the lyrics of traditional alma maters often focus on the history of the school or area and the aspirational values associated with the university. The alma mater also suggests reverence as well as loyalty to the school.

  2. Who can participate in the lyrics contest?

    All UW-Whitewater students, faculty and staff members, alumni, administrators, and community members are welcome to enter the contest. Members of the UW-Whitewater Alma Mater Lyrics Committee are ineligible.

  3. When is the deadline for submission?

    April 30, 2018. Submit your lyrics to lyricscontest@uww.edu.

  4. When is the official launch of the new Alma Mater?

    Homecoming — Oct. 20, 2018 — but the campus community will begin learning it in September.

  5. How was the tune selected?

    A sub-group of the Alma Mater Committee comprised of Music Department faculty deliberated in Fall 2017 and met to review their top 25 choices. The committee’s top four selections were forwarded to the UW-Whitewater Sesquicentennial Committee, which recommended three tunes to the Chancellor’s Cabinet. Members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet chose the traditional Scottish tune, “Candler.”

  6. Will I hold the copyright for my lyrics?

    No, but you will be credited on the score. Contest entrants agree that the winning lyrics will become the property of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System doing business as University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

  7. Can I work with my friends on this?

    Yes, but if awarded the prize, the check will be issued to the group’s designated representative only. It’s up to you to share the proceeds.

  8. Can we use the lyrics of another school’s alma mater?

    No. All lyrics must be original.

  9. What if I don’t read music? Can I still participate?

    Yes! View this document for some tips on crafting lyrics. If you really need help, call the UW-Whitewater Alma Mater Hotline at 262-472-1221 or address questions to lyricscontest@uww.edu.

  10. What if my lyrics are almost a perfect fit, but not quite?

    In consultation with the contestant, the Alma Mater Committee reserves the right to suggest small edits designed to improve the singability of the song.

  11. How will the winner be selected?

    The Alma Mater Committee will identify four submissions for review by the Sesquicentennial Committee. The Sesquicentennial Committee will recommend two sets of lyrics to the Chancellor’s Cabinet, who will choose a winner by June 15, 2018.

  12. How many verses are required?

    One verse is required; although the Star-Spangled Banner, for example, has four, most people are familiar with only the first verse.

  13. Why are we replacing the current Alma Mater (based on the Beethoven sextet)?

    The tune of the current Alma Mater is difficult to sing and remember, and a song with a more uplifting tune and inspirational lyrics is desired. The 150th anniversary allows for an opportunity to engage the Warhawk Family in the creation of a new Alma Mater that will instill pride in everyone.