UNC Charlotte’s alma mater has gone silent

| January 17, 2013 | 9 Comments
Students show support during game earlier this season. Photo by Chris Crews

Students show support during game earlier this season. Photo by Chris Crews

Charlotte struggles to find identity with lack of tradition 

“Hail University! To you we sing our praise. May Charlotte’s light dispel the night, illumine all our days. In Charlotte’s crown the brightness gem we see. Without your power our finest hour would hold no victory. So let us love your life and cherish your great name. To aid your cause and uphold your laws and your enduring fame.”

Believe it or not, these are the words of our alma mater. A song in which alums and current students should cherish. A bond in which the past meets the present. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at UNC Charlotte.
The lack of tradition at this university can be frustrating at times. And that’s not because I don’t love this university – I do. My love for this institution is what has caused me to voice my concern.
While being a student journalist I have to separate myself from being a student first. This is extremely difficult at times, but it doesn’t stop me from planning my future as a UNC Charlotte graduate. My goal is to continue giving to this university even after my days of cramming in Atkins Library have come and gone. I’ll do this because, quite frankly, this is my school.
But when I come back in 20 years to watch my beloved 49ers hit the hardwood, I want to join with the person beside me, locking arms, singing this cherished song. I want to feel the goosebumps when we reach the end. I want to hear the cheers of Niner Nation, past and present, because we are one.
Enough with the excuse that we’re not old enough to have tradition. I’m sick of hearing it. This school has been in existence long enough to not have any of these problems.
In order to have tradition, you must first establish tradition.
When I attend games at Appalachian State or Virginia Tech, I’m overwhelmed by the response when their respected alma maters are played at the conclusion of an athletic event. Could you imagine if this school had that much pride? If we did, then maybe you wouldn’t see students walking around in East Carolina, Davidson, or better yet, Appalachian State gear.
This school has gotten better over the years, but it’s not there yet. In fact, it’s nowhere near where it should be. For a school of 26,000 students and over 100,000 alums this shouldn’t be an issue.
Embrace this school. Learn the history of this school. While not all the tradition is centered on athletics, there is plenty of it that can still be taught and handed down to future generations.

Category:Columns, Served by the Butler

Comments (9)

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  1. Bill Dye says:

    While I agree with the idea that UNC Charlotte students and alumni need more school pride, the use of Davidson and ASU as examples of better are laughable. We average more fans for all athletic events than Davidson and Ap State (except for ootball—-we obviously can’t since we haven’t played a game yet. Besides that, those 2 schools have as big or bigger problems of students wearing other schools colors than Charlotte.

  2. C.B. says:

    When I first moved into the University City area in September 2002, I was appalled at how invisible this university was in the area. Businesses weren’t praising the return of the students in August with “welcome Back, Student” signs, there were no painted Niner logos in store windows, etc. Aside from a few of the sorority girls and frat guys with their Greek t-shirts that had the obligatory UNCC on them, a sighting of a UNCC shirt was rare. I am a very proud University of Alabama alumna and if you woke up at a gas station on McFarland Blvd.- Hwy 82- off of I-20/59, you would know you were in Tuscaloosa because of all of the university stuff around you and the catering to the students. UNCC reminds me a lot of UAB as you were at one time more likely to see apparel of another university on their students than UAB. I have seen more shirts on the students proclaiming Niner Nation since the announcement of the football team, but I am still wondering where the tradition/pride is? The businesses are starting to put up a mild fuss about the return of students each August, but come on, can’t you give as much excitement about their return as you do the race fans? They stay in the area longer, after all.

    While most of the new buildings look very much the same- gosh the brick is old and lacks creativity- the campus does feel a bit more and look like a college campus. However, I still get the commuter student vibe about it just like with UAB. A recent day led me to find more kids walking around in UNC paraphernalia than UNC Charlotte, but the football program does offer the possibility of finally giving the alumni a rallying point down the road. From experience, though, it is hard to have the diehard loyalty of your alumni when many may still have more interest in what happens at Duke, NC State or UNC than what happens in Charlotte. In my opinion, UNC Charlotte should have never left Conference USA. I wish you well, though, because every college student deserves the experience that I had and the enjoyment and fervor I feel every time I mention my alma mater. Roll, Tide Roll!

  3. Randy says:

    Well said. As a graduate of UNC-Charlotte I often lack enthusiasm for the school – I never heard the alma mater. I lived the commuter experience and missed much of campus life, which lays a foundation for alumni pride and support. I have waited for a football team for 25 years. Our soccer, baseball and basketball teams all do very well and often have stellar seasons, but football seems to attract well attended alumni events.
    I believe being part of our city robs the university and its students of an identity. To establish tradition we need unity and identity. CPCC receives more publicity and support from the community that UNCC or Queens. All our institutions of higher learning in this city are exceptional; but we have many.
    UNCC has grown in many ways and is achieving many firsts. I hope one day to return for an event and sing the alma mater with pride. (I need to learn it first!)

  4. Nanny says:

    As another University of Alabama alum and having been involved with UNCC’ Greek life for a number of years, I couldn’t agree more. I also have two sons who attended UNCC. The school has never had the feeling of a “real” university and all the new dorms & buildings couldn’t make it into one. I’ve long felt that a football team might help the school to come together. The marquee and chief advertisement for a university can be a football team as Bama discovered almost a hundred years ago. A school doesn’t have to win as many national championships as we have for football to attract top students and generate excitement (not to mention alumni donations) – it just has to offer a rallying point. I hope UNCC realizes that excitement. Like C.B., just hearing Roll Tide gives me chill bumps. Go Niners and Roll Tide!!

  5. Phillip says:

    It’s football. When football comes, the rest will. My entire time spent at Charlotte saw basketball and baseball in sharp decline, and didn’t exactly put any school pride in to anyone. While the soccer run was fun, I had already graduated… it’s just soccer. Nobody’s watching and when it ended, nobody cared.

    Football will change that. I’ve been gone for a few years now and only returned to 1 sporting event. This year’s basketball team seems a little different, so we’ll see, but football will definitely bring me back.

  6. Jeyone75 says:

    I attended UNCC from 93′ to 98′, I lived on campus every year that I was in school and I loved every minute of it, those were some of the best years of my life. For that reason, and because I began a great career after graduation, I made the easy decision to stay in Charlotte. I travel all over this country and I can say with certainty that there aren’t too many places in this country better that this city we call home. The myth that Charlotte is a commuter school has been around for years and that will never end unless we build a successful football program. Simply having a football team won’t be enough, the program must be supported by the surrounding community, past alumni and current students and it must be successful. Back in the mid to late 90’s our basketball program was much better than it is now, we had a run of NCAA tournament appearances, I was a student when we played Carolina w/ Jamison and Carter for a chance to go to the sweet 16, a game in which we were cheated and lost because of the referees. So there was a time when we had tradition with our basketball program, but we lost it by becoming losers on the court. I look forward to returning to campus this fall to attend the first ever football game, as a proud alumnus, I will bring my 5 year old son and it will become part of my family tradition…that is how we will build our school’s tradition.

  7. jjm says:

    As one who teaches in Charlotte and has gone to two universities and one college and who is close to completing PhD coursework at UNCC this story hits a pertinent chord. We must also look at the relationship to public opinion regarding education and how education is visible within the public’s persona. Let’s face it- before BOA relocated to Charlotte from CA, Charlotte was really an agricultural- textile driven city with little or no use for collegiate education. Even post BOA relocation to Charlotte, much of the talent for “new” Charlotte is recruited from outside the area hence the recent two decades of urban sprawl. Moreover, Charlotte, and UNCC, are still considered by some as “transitory career stops” to corporate headquarters and prestigious universities elsewhere. What Charlotte has not developed is a locus of intelligentsia such as found in RTP and other big name research universities. This is so clearly evident at the public school level where investment in the classroom is pitiful as opposed to other states and countries where I taught. Sports and academics go hand in hand in building and perpetuating school spirit whether we find it comfortable to admit or not.

  8. Aimee Wilson says:

    Great article for alum to take a look at why we’re not linking back to UNCC. For me, I know it’s hard to find other alumni in the Greater Philadelphia. However, UNCC isn’t the only institution of higher learning that has a disconnect with their college/university and alumni. Savor life’s best, Aimee Wilson

  9. John says:

    Hey C.B.,

    Maybe we in Charlotte just have more to crow over than a college football team! It sometimes seems like “Roll Tide” is ALL that Alabama has to offer… you might want to look deeper there!

    It’s a beautiful campus (except for a couple of dorms that look like they belong in East Germany) and it’s growing annually.

    I hate to break it to the youngsters of this age, but heritage does take time. The author talks of “100,000 alums” but many schools have MILLIONS!

    “Patience grasshopper…”

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