The word “alumni” refers collectively to male and female graduates, or to a group of all-male graduates, and is plural. “Alumnae” refers to a group of women graduates and is plural. “Alumna” refers to a single female alum, and “alumnus” is a single male alum. The terms “alum” (singular, not gender specific) and “alums” (plural, not gender specific) are more informal and are acceptable, particularly when the gender is unknown.


Indicate a BU graduate’s school or college and class year in parentheses after the name, with the acronym and year abbreviation run together without a space:

  • Sandra Caplan (CFA’60)
  • Robert Lehan (CFA’60,’63)
  • George Olson (CAS’58, Questrom’59)
  • Mark Perkins (CAS’99, COM’07)

Note the direction in which the apostrophe faces. (A complete list of school/college abbreviations is here.)


If the alum received two degrees from a school or college, don’t repeat the abbreviated name and there is no space between the comma and the second apostrophe:

  • Charles Smith (ENG’11,’13)

Note that we include the years for the College of General Studies (CGS), which is a two-year, non-degree–granting program:

  • Joan Jett (CGS’82, CFA’84)

In the context of a specific school, you may also write:

  • COM Class of 2007

Note the capitalization of “Class.”


Alumni who graduated from BU School of Education or from Wheelock College prior to the June 1, 2018 merger will all be designated with the abbreviation Wheelock and their year (e.g., Wheelock’09). After June 1, 2018, all alumni (including legacy Wheelock College, legacy BU School of Education, and newly minted Wheelock College of Education & Human Development in future years) will be referred to as alumni of Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, abbreviated as Wheelock’XX.


Questrom School of Business: when identifying individual alumni of the Questrom School of Business (formerly the School of Management), the name Questrom replaces SMG or GSM or CBA.

  • Kenneth J. Feld (Questrom’70)
  • Robert A. Knox (CAS’74, Questrom’75, Hon.’17)

Notable alums and their correct schools/years:

  • Uzo Aduba (CFA’05)
  • Jason Alexander (CFA’81, Hon.’95)
  • Michael Chiklis (CFA’85)
  • Geena Davis (CFA’79, Hon.’99)
  • Ha Jin (GRS’94)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59)
  • Lu Lingzi (GRS’13)
  • Hugo Shong (COM’87, GRS’90)
  • Marisa Tomei (CFA’86, Hon.’02)

Alumni Events

Capitalize “Reunion” when referring to a specific event:

  • Reunion Weekend—now called Alumni Weekend
  • 50th Reunion

But do not capitalize “reunion” when referring to reunion in a general context:

  • College reunions give alumni the chance to get together with old friends.

Capitalize “Class” when used in a specific context:

  • the Class of 1949 Reunion
  • a reception to honor the Classes of 1975–1979

But lowercase “class” when used generally:

  • All classes from the 1960s will be invited.

Don’t substitute the word “graduate” for “alumnus” in general usage; not all alumni are graduates.


Alumni may not know who married whom, so add maiden names. Place them in parentheses:

  • Mary (Jones) Smith

If an alum wishes a nickname along with a name, put it in quotation marks:

  • Megan “Madge” Smith; But not the obvious: Robert “Bob” Jones

Don’t capitalize “alma mater” in reference to BU.

Alumni Donor Rosters

BU style calls for presenting degrees chronologically after the name, from earliest degree to most recent; for example:

  • CAS’89, GRS’91, LAW’94, Questrom’99

We make an exception to the chronological order when an alum has two degrees from one school, and another degree from another BU school. To save space, group the two years after one school, and write CAS’03,’09, SPH’05. (Note that we do not repeat CAS for the second degree, and we close up the space between years in a double, but keep open space for the next school.) A list of BU schools and colleges and their abbreviations is here.


We use the complete word “Pardee,” “Questrom,” “Kilachand,” “Sargent,” and “Wheelock,” in referring to those named schools and colleges.


For programs that no longer exist at BU, we write DGE, PAL, SON, SRE, UNI.


For schools that have changed names, we use the current acronym; for example, CAS for all past alums, even though they may have attended when it was CLA. (CFA for all previous names; Questrom for all SMG and GSM; Wheelock for all alumni before and after the merger, etc.)