Alma Mater

DARREN: So, Lorelai, what’s your alma mater?

Alma mater, a Latin phrase used to identify a school, college, or university that one has attended or graduated from. It literally means “nourishing mother”, as if the student has gained intellectual nourishment from their school. It is related to the word alumnus, previously discussed alumnus literally means “one who is nourished”.

The Latin phrase was originally a title for mother goddesses such as Ceres and Cybele, later given as a title to the Virgin Mary. It was first used academically in the English-speaking world in 1600, referring to Cambridge University, as part of the emblem for Cambridge University Press. You can see in the picture it was portrayed quite literally, with milk pouring out from the breasts of Cambridge – the milk of knowledge, I suppose.

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