An alumnus (; masculine) or an alumna (; feminine) of a college, university, or other school is a former student who has either attended or graduated in some fashion from the institution. The word is Latin and simply means ''student''. The plural is alumni for men and mixed groups and alumnae for women. The term is not synonymous with "graduate"; one can be an alumnus without graduating (Burt Reynolds, alumnus but not graduate of Florida State University, Florida State, is an example). The term is sometimes used to refer to a former employee or member of an organization, contributor, or inmate.


The Latin noun ''alumnus'' means "foster son" or "pupil". It is derived from PIE ''*h₂el-'' (grow, nourish), and is closely related to the Latin verb ''alo'' "to nourish".Merriam-Webster: alumnus
Separate, but from the same root, is the adjective ''almus'' "nourishing", found in the phrase ''Alma Mater'', a title for a person's home university. In Latin, ''alumnus'' is a legal term (Roman law) to describe a child placed in fosterage. According to John Boswell, the word "is nowhere defined in relation to status, privilege, or obligation." Citing the research of Henri Leclercq, Teresa Nani, and Beryl Rawson, who studied the many inscriptions about ''alumni,'' Boswell concluded that it referred to infant exposure, exposed children who were taken into a household where they were "regarded as somewhere between an heir and a slave, partaking in different ways of both categories." Despite the warmth of feelings between the parent and child, "an ''alumnus'' might be treated both as a beloved child and as a household servant."


An alumnus or alumna is a former student and most often a graduate of an educational institution (school, college, university).''The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language''
/ref> According to the United States Department of Education, the term ''alumnae'' is used in conjunction with either women's colleges 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''.
The term is sometimes informally shortened to "alum" (optional plural "alums")."alum." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Based on the ''Random House Unabridged Dictionary'', © Random House, Inc. 2006. 1 December 2006. Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/alum Alumni Class Reunion, reunions are popular events at many institutions. They are usually organized by alumni associations and are often social occasions for fundraising.

See also

* :Alumni by educational institution




External links

* {{Authority control Academic terminology