Alumni & Parents

odb pathAm I "an alumni?"

No, you are not an alumni. We think that this business about the proper way to refer to college graduates is confusing, so we are providing this primer to help you navigate the corridors of archaic terminology.

A list of "alum" words and their meanings . . .

Alumnus: (singular) Male or unisex college graduate or former student.

"See the alumnus standing there, with his long, shaggy hair."

Alumna: (singular) Female college graduate or former student.

"See the alumna standing there, with her short, cropped hair."

Alumni: (plural) Group of male or mixed-sex graduates/former students.

"See the alumni standing there, with their long, shaggy hair."

Alumnae: (plural) Group of female graduates/former students.

"See the alumnae standing there, with their short, cropped hair."

Alum: (unknown) An astringent, crystalline double sulfate of aluminum and potassium widely used in medicine, manufacturing, and the arts. (Special thanks to the Whitman College alumni office for pointing this out to us.)

"See the alum sitting there, with its opaque, metallic glare."