On Wednesday, April 21, 1999, the Memorial Chapel carillon, for the first time ever, chimed the University of Maryland alma mater "Hail! Alma Mater" before tolling the noon hour. "Hail! Alma Mater" became an hourly campus standard.
For more than 40 years, the carillon has chimed the state song to the durable tune of "Oh! Tannenbaum."
The carillon was refurbished as a result of a gift of the Senior Class of 1992. The new system included both electronic and manual methods of operating the carillon chimes.
Every Maryland Day, beginning in 1999, the carillon plays a series of popular and classical selections on the hour, providing a melodic background for the day's festivities.
Although the rumors of a two-year wait-list is an exaggeration, Memorial Chapel is still the favorite place for Terps to tie the knot.
For many years couples had to wait in line, sometimes overnight, to get a preferred date the following year.The line of prospective couples formed before the reservations office even opened on the first of each month and many made it a romantic occasion with picnic baskets and lawn chairs.
In 1994 that all changed when the university agreed on a new wedding reservation policy. Couples now book according to availability, whether it's next week or two years out, with the understanding that all dates more than a year away may be bumped for a university event. Only three weddings have been rescheduled in 10 years.
Of the 220-plus chapel weddings each year, 84% involve at least one connection, and alumni couples account for more than half of the ceremonies each year.