Alma Mater (n.) Look up Alma Mater at Dictionary.com
late 14c., Latin, literally "nurturing mother," a title given by Romans to certain goddesses, especially Ceres and Cybele, from alma, fem. of almus "nourishing," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain" (from PIE root *al- (3) "to grow, nourish") + mater "mother" (see mother (n.1)). In sense of "one's university or school," attested from 1710.