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Usage of University Terms


Use the word “alumni” to refer to a group of people (of either or both sexes) who have graduated from university. At TRU we choose not to use the feminine plural “alumnae” to refer to a group of female graduates, for the same reason we would choose “flight attendant” over “stewardess”. See also Inclusive Language.

Joe is a journalism alumnus.
An alumna of the physics program, Jo is pursuing a master’s degree.
Nursing alumni gathered for a chapter event.

The shortened, informal form "alum" is acceptable and supports our effort to reduce gender-based language, so feel free to use it in all but the most formal contexts.


The honorific “emeritus” or “emerita” is used to denote chancellors, presidents, faculty members, librarians and senior instructors who have retired but retain their rank or title. See Plurals vs. possessives: Plurals of compound nouns.

Dr. Christopher Walmsley was named professor emeritus.

Chancellor Emerita Nancy Green Raine was TRU’s first chancellor.
Contributors included two educators emerita.

Undergraduate/graduate students

Public recognition of TRU as a graduate education provider would be enhanced if, whenever possible and appropriate, communications specify “graduate” or “undergraduate” when referring to students.

See Word list for spelling of university terms used frequently at TRU.

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