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alumnus; alumni; alumna; alumnae

Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school. Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use alumni when referring to a mixed-gender group. Avoid using the shortened alum.

campus, campuses (plural), campus’s (possessive)


class years

When referring to an alumnus/alumna in text, include the last two digits of their class year after the name, with a true apostrophe before the year. Do not use commas to separate names and class years. Example:

Norm Abram ’72 may well be America’s most famous carpenter.

When referring to an alumnus/alumna with multiple degrees, list the degrees in the order in which they were received. Note there is no space between the year and the degree abbreviation.

  • In the years since she graduated, Raveena Walsh ’79, ’85MS, ’90PhD has traveled throughout the world.

Use Hon for honorary degrees (only when they are granted by UMass).

doctoral; doctorate

Doctoral is an adjective; doctorate is a noun.

double major / double-major

When used as a noun, no hyphen:
"Lauren is a double major in history and theater."

When used as a verb, hyphenate:
"Lauren double-majored in history and theater."

emeritus, emeriti, emerita, emeritae

Emeritus and emerita are honorary designations and do not simply mean retired.

Use emeritus (or emeriti in the plural) when referring to a man who has received this honor. Use emerita (or emeritae in the plural) for similar references to a woman. Use emeriti when referring to a mixed-gender group.

first-year student (instead of "freshman")

UMass Amherst no longer uses the term "freshman" when referring to undergraduates in their first year of studies. Use first-year and with a hyphen as a descriptor.

Examples: "Rebecca is a first-year chemistry major."

"It is Rebecca's first year studying in the Department of Chemistry, but it's Tom's sophomore year in the department."

Five Colleges, Incorporated

The full and formal name of the academic consortium that includes the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hampshire, Amherst, Mount (not Mt.) Holyoke, and Smith colleges.

Subsequent reference may be made to the Five Colleges.

The singular form “Five College” is adjectival and not hyphenated:

  • The Five College consortium was established in 1965.

Founders Day

grade point average (GPA)

Do not hyphenate grade point average or use periods in its abbreviation, GPA. GPAs refer to numbers, not grades—a GPA of 3.0, not a GPA of B.

Minuteman Marching Band

on campus; off campus

on-campus (adjective); on campus (adverb); off-campus (adjective), off campus (adverb). Examples:

  • off-campus housing
  • housing is off campus


always hyphenated