“Emperor’s Club” and Student Hymn in Latin

Before the Talent Show last Friday night, there was the Commencement ceremony that heralded in the new freshmen students to our university.  All 500 students were together in unison speaking their pledge against corruption, plagiarism and cheating.  What a proud moment of great beginnings for our new university when some students sang the following hymn in Latin.  (I took Latin for two years in high school a long time ago and we never got to learn this hymn.)  It has been sung and memorized for several thousand years.

Coincidentally this weekend we showed the movie “Emperor’s Club.” The storyline features long-held traditions in a boys school and the classical professor played by Kevin Kline, who is a western civilization’s history teacher. He upheld the western ideals about democracy and our U.S. constitution but there was one recalcitrant student who was an antagonist in the plot.  Interestingly enough, the boy’s father was a senator from West Virginia and didn’t care about a teacher’s job to mold character.  The rude senator cared only that his boy was taught the basics from the textbook, enough to pass and get a diploma.

This week, I’m having my teachers in our professional development class watch the “Emperor’s Club” as well. We are sure to have a good discussion about what happens in the end of the movie and how this topic of honor code and principles relates to Kazakhstan.  I believe that all teachers around the world are meant to be builders of character. So that means that teachers should be principled and uphold the oaths and pledges that are made for good and not evil.

I would hope our new university students will have their characters molded into good, Kazakh citizens in the next four years they are at our campus. Also 25 years from now these same Kazakh students in their respective professions will hopefully have a conscience about the actions and behaviors they display in their positions of power.  Yes, I mean lessons learned beyond just the textbook knowledge, enough to pass the test.  Read on what these Latin students of old knew to be true:

Latin English
Gaudeamus igitur 

Juvenes dum sumus.

Post jucundam juventutem

Post molestam senectutem

Nos habebit humus.

Let us rejoice therefore 

While we are young.

After a pleasant youth

After a troubling old age

The soil will have us.

Ubi sunt qui ante nos 

In mundo fuere?

Vadite ad superos

Transite in inferos

Hos si vis videre.

Where are they who before us 

Were in the world?

Go to the heavens

Cross over into hell

If you wish to see them.

Vita nostra brevis est 

Brevi finietur.

Venit mors velociter

Rapit nos atrociter

Nemini parcetur.

Our life is brief 

Soon it will end.

Death comes quickly

Snatches us cruelly

No one shall be spared.

(lit. “It shall be spared to nobody.”)

Vivat academia! 

Vivant professores!

Vivat membrum quodlibet;

Vivant membra quaelibet;

Semper sint in flore.

Long live the academy! 

Long live the professors!

Long live each student;

Long live the whole fraternity;

May they always be in their prime!

Vivant omnes virgines 

Faciles, formosae.

Vivant et mulieres

Tenerae, amabiles,

Bonae, laboriosae.

Long live all girls, 

Easy [and] beautiful!

Long live [mature] women also,

Tender, lovable,

Good, [and] hard-working.

Vivat et respublica 

et qui illam regit.

Vivat nostra civitas,

Maecenatum caritas

Quae nos hic protegit.

Long live the state as well 

And he who rules it!

Long live our city

[And] the charity of benefactors

Which protects us here!

Pereat tristitia, 

Pereant osores.

Pereat diabolus,

Quivis antiburschius

Atque irrisores.

Let sadness perish! 

Let haters perish!

Let the devil perish!

And also the opponents of the fraternities

And their mockers!

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