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Alma Mater Competition

Thanks to all creators who entered a composition and those who have already voted. Due to a shift in our internal timeline, the committee has made the decision to invite additional original compositions. New submissions will be accepted from November 15 to February 15, 2024. All applicants already in the pool will remain in the pool, and all creators are offered the opportunity to submit additional or new compositions. Email questions to 60@umsl.edu.

As part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of its founding, the University of Missouri–St. Louis will introduce a new alma mater. UMSL is holding a competition for original music to accompany newly penned lyrics for a song that will be sung at many public and ceremonial university events. The winning composer will receive a $1,000 honorarium.

Basic Contest Information

What kind of music are we looking for? Uplifting, celebratory music to accompany these lyrics

Who is eligible to enter? Anyone who loves UMSL

When is the submission deadline? February 15, 2024

What do I get if I win? $1,000 honorarium

Is there an entry fee? NO

Full Contest Rules

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Who can participate in the competition?

Anyone who loves the University of Missouri–St. Louis is eligible to participate. Members of the Alma Mater Committee are ineligible.

When is the deadline for submission?

Entries must be received by August 1, 2023. There is no fee for submitting.

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.

Can we use previously written music?

No. All music must be original. It cannot have previously been written, performed, published or recorded. 

What if my music is an almost a perfect fit, but not quite?

In consultation with the contestant, the Alma Mater Committee reserves the right to modify submissions to fit application and performance standards.

How will the winner be selected?

The Alma Mater Committee will identify three of the contest submissions as finalists. The UMSL community and the public will be invited to vote for their selection from these finalists. This vote will constitute one member of a juried panel that will convene to select the winner. The Alma Mater Committee reserves the right to not select a winner.

Will I hold the copyright for my music?

No, but you will be credited on the score. In return for the $1,000 prize payment the winning contestant will need to sign an agreement assigning the contestant's rights to the composition to the University in order to ensure that the University can use the composition. Submissions not chosen as winning entry remain the property of the original composer.

Why create a new Alma Mater?

What better way to celebrate than through song? It is the goal of the Alma Mater Committee to refresh this important institutional song so it best captures and expresses the spirit and aspirations of the UMSL community for the future. The first Alma Mater, Heart of Missouri was composed by John Francis Dill and Diane Ceccarini in 1995. Lovely as it is, these lyrics reflect the mood of the times in which they were written and are accompanied by music of great solemnity. A song with a more uplifting tune is desired and the competition serves as a great way to engage the UMSL community in the creation of a new Alma Mater that will instill pride in everyone.