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Alumni

"Old girl" redirects here. For the Australian Rules Football ground, see Victoria Park, Melbourne.
"Alumni" redirects here. For the Argentine football team, see Alumni Athletic Club. For the Argentine rugby union team, see AsociaciĆ³n Alumni. For the upcoming South Korean film, see Alumni (film).

An alumnus (masculine, plural 'alumni') or alumna (feminine, plural 'alumnae') is a graduate of a school, college, or university.[1][2] An alumnus can also be a former member, employee, contributor, or inmate, as well as a former student.[3][4] If a group includes both sexes, even if there is only one male, the male plural form alumni is used.

Etymology

The Latin noun alumnus means "foster son, pupil" and is derived from the verb alere "to nourish".[5]

Usage

An alumnus or alumna is a former student and most often a graduate of an educational institution (school, college, university).[1][2] According to the United States Department of Education, the term alumnae is used in conjunction with either women's colleges[6] or a female group of students. The term alumni is used in conjunction with either men's colleges, a male group of students, or a mixed group of students:

In accordance with the rules of grammar governing the inflexion of nouns in the Romance languages, the masculine plural alumni is correctly used for groups composed of both sexes: the alumni of Princeton University.[7]

The term is sometimes shortened to "alum", which stands for "an alumna or alumnus".[8]

"Alumni" (a plural form) is often incorrectly used as a singular form for both genders; for example, "I am an alumni of the university", as opposed to "I am an alumnus/alumna of the university." This usage is erroneous in formal or historical usage. The prevalence of this usage is probably due to an unfamiliarity with Latin grammar and the fact that printed documents and university merchandise almost always use the plural form of the word.

Alumni reunions are popular events at many institutions. They are usually organized by alumni associations and are often social occasions for fundraising.

Related terms

At most old UK schools (especially independent schools and grammar schools), New Zealand schools, South African schools, Sri Lankan schools, a few universities in the UK, and to a lesser extent in Australia and Canada, the phrases old boy and old girl are traditionally used for former school pupils, and old member or member (or "alumnus" in Australia and New Zealand) for former university students. Some Australian co-educational schools use the gender-neutral old scholar. At the Royal Military College of Canada, the phrases ex-cadet or former cadet and member of the old brigade are traditionally used, as are college numbers. Another example is the term old corps, in reference to alumni from the Virginia Military Institute. Owing to this general restriction of the phrase to schools for the social elite, the phrase is normally associated with the aristocracy of the UK.

The term "Old Boys" is also used as part of many sporting associations and clubs worldwide. Famous examples include Argentine football club Newell's Old Boys and New Zealand rugby union club High School Old Boys RFC.

Some schools use a specific term clearly linked to the school name, such as "Old Pauline", "Old Etonian", "Old Harrovian", "Old Carthusian", "Old Oswestrian", "Old Churcherian", "Old Knox Grammarian", "Old Colcestrian" or "Old Reptonian" (old boys of, respectively, St Paul's School, Eton College, Harrow School, Charterhouse School, Oswestry School, Churcher's College, Knox Grammar School, Colchester Royal Grammar School and Repton School); the school's location, such as "Old Albanian" (St Albans School), "Old Chelmsfordian" (King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford) or "Old Mancunian" (Manchester Grammar School); or a more obscure one, such as "Old Citizen" and "Old Gregorian" for those of the City of London School and Downside School. Other UK examples include "Old Alleynian" (Dulwich College), "Old Blue" (Christ's Hospital), "Old Dunumian" (Down High School), "Old Novocastrian" (Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne), "Old Clavian" (Bury Grammar School), "Old Midwhitgiftian" (Trinity School of John Whitgift), and "Old Elizabethan" (Queen Elizabeth's Hospital).

In Scotland, the term former pupil (FP) is also used, especially when referring to sports teams of a school as well as "Academical" or "Accie" in the case of schools with Academy in their name, such as Hamilton Academical.

Some US schools, such as Texas A&M University, prefer former student.

The World Student Christian Federation uses the term "senior friends" for its alumni. The Muslim world uses the term "ulama" also spelled "uluma" close to the word alumni.

References

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