UMSL launching competition for new alma mater, taking nominations for 60 alumni spotlights ahead of 60th anniversary celebration

by | May 10, 2023

Students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university are encouraged to enter the alma mater competition or nominate successful alumni through the 60th anniversary website.
Eye on UMSL: Celebration song

UMSL is holding a competition to create the music to accompany a new alma mater ahead of its yearlong 60th anniversary celebration. Entries may be submitted between now and Aug. 1, and the new alma mater will debut at fall commencement on Dec. 16. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As the University of Missouri–St. Louis prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary throughout the 2023-24 academic year, members of the community are encouraged to be part of the festivities that mark this important milestone.

The celebration includes an opportunity for UMSL supporters to craft music for a new alma mater, while another activity invites people to nominate alumni to be featured in the “60 for 60: Honoring our Alumni” special feature spotlighting UMSL alumni from the past 60 years. The noted alumni will be unveiled throughout the 60th anniversary on the university’s web and social media channels.

60th anniversary logo

Faculty members Jim Henry from the Department of Music and Lynn Staley from the Department of English have collaborated on the lyrics to the new alma mater. It is hoped it will better capture the spirit and aspirations of UMSL as a metropolitan college campus serving the community today, and for years into the future. The new composition is a follow-up to the university’s first alma mater, “Heart of Missouri,” written and composed by John Francis Dill and Diane Ceccarini in 1995.

The university is holding a competition to create original music to accompany the new lyrics. UMSL is opening up participation to the community and is hoping to receive many uplifting tunes that share the university’s spirit of community engagement, while instilling pride in its students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“The alma mater will bookend a student’s time at UMSL as freshmen learn to sing it during Triton Take-Off Weekend and will hear it again as they walk across the stage at commencement,” said Joanna Mendoza, chair of the Department of Music, whose faculty will help lead the competition and judge the submissions. “We want everyone associated with UMSL to feel invested in the song and find it is reflective of their experiences and the things they treasure about their time at the university.

“We are grateful to Jim and Lynn for their work to write new lyrics and are excited to enlist the talent and creativity of our community to bring their words to life.”

UMSL will be accepting submissions for music to accompany the new alma mater beginning today through Aug. 1. Entries can be submitted on the newly launched 60th anniversary website.

A committee formed from the music department’s faculty and staff will determine the finalists for the competition. These finalists will be posted on the anniversary website where members of the UMSL community will be invited to vote for their favorite composition, which will then be incorporated into an UMSL community panel to select the university’s new alma mater.

The composer of the winning music will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Participants can work in tandem and split the prize.

The new alma mater will make its debut at fall commencement on Dec. 16.

As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, the Office of Alumni Engagement will launch the “60 for 60: Honoring our Alumni” spotlight features this summer. Following the launch, the profiles of five or six alumni, which exemplify the university’s core values of integrity, inclusion, innovation, access, success or engagement, will be unveiled each month continuing through next spring. Nominations can be easily submitted through the newly launched Celebrating 60 Years page on the website.

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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

Eye on UMSL: Building blocks
Eye on UMSL: Building blocks

Members of the Spring 2024 graduating class of the University of Missouri–St. Louis play Jenga during the annual New Grad Bash on Thursday.

Eye on UMSL: Building blocks

Members of the Spring 2024 graduating class of the University of Missouri–St. Louis play Jenga during the annual New Grad Bash on Thursday.

Eye on UMSL: Building blocks

Members of the Spring 2024 graduating class of the University of Missouri–St. Louis play Jenga during the annual New Grad Bash on Thursday.