Keystone / AVID I What is an “Alma Mater”? The phrase “Alma Mater” is Latin. It literally means “nourishing mother,” and is often used to describe the school that you graduated from. For example, there are many people in Anderson who call Clemson their Alma Mater. An Alma Mater can also be a song about a school. Just like TV shows have a theme song, high schools and colleges have them, too!