UMD’s Most Recognizable Songs: Part I: “Hail! Alma Mater”

With the start of fall semester classes and the Terrapins’ return to athletic competition, it’s time to roll out our primer on the three most recognizable UMD songs of today.

This week’s feature is “Hail! Alma Mater,” played on the hour by the Memorial Chapel carillon and by the band at the conclusion of all football and men’s and women’s basketball games. The Mighty Sound of Maryland also ends each public performance by singing the alma mater, just prior to their dismissal.

Robert Kinney, Class of 1940, composed this tune, and it became quite popular after World War II, displacing the previous alma mater, written in 1921. Kinney was active in several musical groups during his undergraduate days, serving as president of the Glee Club and treasurer of Clef and Key, formerly the Opera Club. He was also a member of Sigma Phi Sigma fraternity, the campus chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Engineering Student Council, and the Presbyterian Club.

Robert Kinney, Class of 1940
Robert Kinney, Class of 1940

Kinney’s “Hail! Alma Mater” consists of four brief lines:

Hail! Alma Mater! Hail to the, Maryland!
Steadfast in loyalty, for thee, we stand.
Love for the Black and Gold deep in our hearts we hold,
Singing they praise forever, throughout the land.

You can listen to the song here:

Next time you are walking across campus on the hour or are in Byrd or Xfinity to cheer on the Terps, join the chorus and show your “Love for the Black and Gold” when you hear this familiar tune.

This song and 17 other tunes popular on campus since the late 19th century can be found in Songs of Maryland: A Centennial Edition, the UMD Bands’ most recent songbook, published in honor of the bands’ 100th anniversary in 2008.

song book

Check back on September 17th and September 24th to learn more about the remaining two songs in the university’s most recognizable musical trio.


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