On first use, spell out the full name of an organization or entity unless it is most widely known by its abbreviated name: e.g., IBM, SAT, NASA. If you refer to the organization or entity more than once, follow the initial spelled-out form with the acronym in parentheses and use the acronym for subsequent references. Do not use periods between letters. Do not use “the” before acronyms:
- She is a member of the Penn Chess Club (PCC) and the Society of Women Engineers. PCC is famous for ...
Alumni (Proper Usage)
Everyone who matriculates at Penn, whether a graduate or not, becomes an alumna or alumnus of the University. Correct usage is as follows:
- alumna (feminine, singular)
- alumnus (masculine, singular)
- alumnae (feminine, plural)
- alumni (masculine, plural, or mixed group)
Do not use the informal “alum”—just as you shouldn't use “prof” or “doc” or “veep”—in print or on the Web. Feel free to take a familiar, personal tone in writing, but keep in mind Penn’s stature in your communication.
Class of …
“Class” is capitalized as part of the proper name of a class:
- Jane is a member of the Class of 2005.
- A plaque commemorates the contributions of John Doe, Class of 1905.
Class Affiliations + Years
When abbreviating class years to two digits, an apostrophe (’)—not an opening quotation mark (‘)—replaces the omitted digits. (Shortcut on a PC is ctrl + quote, quote; on a Mac it is shift + option + right bracket). Undergraduate and graduate class affiliations and years, whether singles or multiples, should be set off from a personal name with commas, front and back:
- John Smith, W’05, was featured in an October New York Times article.
- John Smith, W’05, WG’09, is a director at Ernst & Young, PLC.
If confusion could result from abbreviation of class year, spell out the year and do not use an apostrophe:
- John Smith, W1905, was memorialized in an October New York Times obituary.
When referring to a sequence of alumni, follow the style above for the primary person and use parentheses for secondary persons:
- John Smith, W’85, WG’89, director at Ernst & Young, PLC, was recognized with his wife Mary (C’55) and son Michael (V’11) for their contribution to the Mary and John Smith Endowed Professorship.