Alma is a somewhat solemn, soulful name that had a burst of popularity a century ago, then faded into the flowered wallpaper -- though we can see it beginning to find its way back.
In addition to being familiar via the term alma mater, Alma has many cultural ties, one of the most recent being as the character Alma Del Mar played by Michelle Williams in the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain. Other characters named Alma have appeared in Deadwood, The Hunger Games and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. In the Tennessee Williams play 'Summer and Smoke', a character named Alma explains that her name is "Spanish for soul."
The name became fashionable in England following the Battle of Alma--named for the Russian river--during the Crimean War.