In 1909, Brodie Payne, an alumnus of the University of Arkansas, submitted his song to an ongoing competition to find a University song and won first prize. Henry D. Tovey, who was the director of the Glee Club at that time, set the song to music. In 1931, the University College Song Association in New York reviewed a collection of 500 college tunes, and the UA Alma Mater was judged to be one of the 25 best college songs of the United States.
The first verse of the Alma Mater is still sung to this day. It is tradition to point to the Towers of Old Main during the last line of the first verse.