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Alma Mater

刊登日期: 2019.05.10
作者: Grace Tse  

This year, Mother’s Day falls on the 12th of May in Hong Kong. Have you prepared the best gift which your mum will like? In many cultures, the word “mother” carries a variety of meanings. It implies caring love, kindness and nourishment. The image of mother can be extended to describe our former school, college or university. 

The old man has fond memories of his Alma Mater(母校) , Hong Kong Primary School. 

The Latin phrase “Alma Mater” (or “alma mater”) literally means “bounteous mother” or “nourishing mother”. It was originally a title given to the Roman goddesses Ceres and Cybele. 

Its current usage in the setting of education can be traced back to the University of Bologna in Italy, the oldest university in the world. Its crest carries the motto “Alma mater studiorum A.D. 1088”, meaning nourishing mother of studies founded in 1088. 

Similar to our biological mother who gave birth to us, our Alma Mater is a nurturing place which enables our intellectual, social, and spiritual growth. 

Nowadays, there are some Alma Mater statues on American university campuses. The most famous one, designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French, is located at Columbia University. The statue features a woman sitting on a throne. She holds a sceptre on her right hand. Her outstretched left arm welcomes visitors and students to the university. On her lap rests a book of learning. The designer hid a small owl, which represents knowledge, in the folds of her dress. The hidden owl means that it takes time to find knowledge.  

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