Alma Mater Competition

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What is an Alma Mater?
An Alma Mater serves as a hymn or an anthem associated with a school or university.
Alma Maters tend to be serious and reflective. They serve a ceremonial purpose in the life of an academic institution, being used at formal events such as convocation, commencement, and the installation of new campus leadership. Southwest Minnesota State University is holding a competition to create an Alma Mater for the University. The entries will be judged by a special task force at SMSU. Winners in each round are awarded a $1,000 cash prize. We would love your participation.


• The SMSU Alma Mater competition is open to anyone, however, the Task Force is especially interested in soliciting entries from individuals with a connection to SMSU
• Alumni, current and former faculty, administrators, staff, and students are encouraged to enter.
• No one entering the competition may serve on the judging Task Force.
• Entrants must be at least 16 years of age.
• Individuals may enter either or both rounds of the competition.

Entries for both rounds of the competition should be submitted to Diana Holmes (Fine Arts 207 or who will anonymize them before distribution to Task Force members.

Round 1: LYRICS
Entries are due on or before February 1, 2019
• Entries should be in the form of a poem.
• The subject of the poem should be SMSU, as it relates to tradition, education, the importance of education, service, etc.
• The poem should be one to three stanzas in length.
• Each stanza should be approximately 4-6 lines in length.
• Stanzas should have a recognizable rhythmic pattern and may make use of end-line rhymes.
• The overall form of the poem is at the discretion of the poet.
• Entries should be typed.
• The Task Force reserves the right to edit the winning entry as necessary, but only with the knowledge and consent of the author.
• The winning entry will be announced on February 15, 2019.

Round 2: MUSIC
Entries are due on or before March 15, 2019
• Entries should be in the form of a melody that sets the winning text from Round 1.
• Chord symbols for the intended chords are allowed, but not required.
• Entries should include a suggested tempo indication.
• Entries should be submitted in standard musical notation (either handwritten, or electronic) with appropriate text underlay.
• The winning entry will be announced on April 1, 2019.

• The Task Force will select a winner from the entries submitted for each round.
• The Task Force reserves the right to reject all entries if they do not meet the Task Force’s expectations for quality.
• In the event that there is no entry selected as the winner of Round 1, Round 2 will be delayed.
• There will be a cash prize in the amount of $1000 awarded to the winning entry in each round.
• The new SMSU Alma Mater will be premiered by the SMSU Music Ensembles at their spring 2019 performances.

Questions about the competition may be addressed to
Dr. Stephen Kingsbury at 507-537-7247 or


Last Modified: 11/8/18 9:34 AM