Alma Mater: In the 21st Century

Today, the Alma Mater statue remains a popular New York tourist site and a prominent campus symbol. One can pass through campus at any part of the day and see visitors taking photos next to the century-old landmark. This “nourishing mother of studies” also continues to hold political significance for members of the Columbia community. In 2008, for example, Columbia student activists placed a black shroud over the statue's head to protest against the University's involvement the Iraq War. 

Alma Mater’s appearance, too, continues to change; her most recent refurbishment, in the fall of 2002, was geared towards preserving the statue, and produced none of the backlash that the 1962 changes did. Cognizant of Alma Mater’s central role in the University’s traditions and history, the University hopes to ensure that the beloved statue will remain part of the community for years to come.[1]

Man sitting in front of Alma Mater statue. Man sitting in front of Alma Mater statue.

[1] “Nearing Her 100th Birthday, Alma Mater Receives A Much Needed Makeover,” Columbia News, January 2003.