Gaudeamus has always signified to me the resilience of an institution against perverted attempts to modernise it - the University has survived in almost identical form since the Middle Ages, despite the onslaughts of war, nationalism, ideology and bureaucracy, and may yet even outlast the current onslaught of neo-liberalism / managerialism / corporatisation. Gaudeamus is the rallying cry of those who still regard Knowledge over numbers, Disciplines over brands, Learning over consuming. Gaudeamus is what distinguishes a University from a slot machine.
Aside from The Church and the Court, what other institutions allow grown-ups the opportunity to dress up as extras from the latest installment of Batman, pervaded with gravitas rather than comedy (despite the presence of significant numbers of Jokers), in the line of duty? Without the accompanying strains of Gaudeamus, the semesterly transformation of Jammie Hall into the Bat Cave would seem as silly as men in aprons twisting themselves into pretzels to enact funny handshakes, or as sinister as pointy hats and white sheets at full moon.
Vivat Gaudeamus, vivat!