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Alma Mater

Coeducation at Rutgers College

Rutgers was founded in 1766 on the banks of the Raritan River in New Jersey. A little over a century later her alma mater was written and sung proudly at school functions. The tradition is alive today at graduation ceremonies and every football game when it is sung with pride.


Listen to the famous Rutgers Glee Club as they entertain you with their rendition of "On the Banks of the Old Raritan." If you would like, the written lyrics are available below to help you respond to the questions below.

Rutgers Song - On the Banks of the Old Raritan Sheet Music

To hear audio of "On the Banks of the Old Raritan" click on player below:

The Rutgers Songbook. Collected and Edited by F. Austin Walter '32. Copyright 1991 by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives.


Recording compliments of the album, "Songs Our Alma Mater Taught Us" by the Rutgers University Glee Club. General Electric Co. Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Certain lines in the alma mater were controversial in the late 1960's. Which lines were controversial? What makes them controversial?
  2. Do you think the alma mater should be changed? If so, what would you change them to? If not, explain why the song should remain as it was written in 1874.
  3. Ask a current Rutgers student or alumni or research Rutgers' web site to see if the words have been changed.
  4. Thoughts on alma maters:
    1. What purposes do alma maters serve? How does Rutgers' Alma Mater make you feel as you listen to it?
    2. What is your school's alma mater? Find the lyrics and share what you think are the important or relevant verses.
    3. When was your alma mater written? In what ways does it reflect the period of time in which it was written?