Style guide for alumni pages

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This style guide for alumni pages explains how to list Columbia degrees after alumni names. NB: This style guide has been updated in 2012 to reflect the more unified style guide produced by the Office of the President and adapted for use by the Office of Alumni and Development. The University style guide is based heavily off the Chicago Manual of Style.

School abbreviations

There are sixteen schools that constitute Columbia University, and there are four affiliated schools. When abbreviating the schools for alumni degrees, please use the following abbreviations. NB: Business and Law dislike their abbreviations, but it's the rule, so get used to it (nobody outside of the Business School uses CBS or GSB, as they insist on using).



NB: * = affiliates

Listing degrees after names

Listing the degrees of an alumnus/a can be quite complicated, depending on the context in which it is being referenced. Each individual school has its own style guide for listing degrees in its own publications. For example, SEAS often lists the type of degree, to differentiate undergraduate from graduate degrees (e.g. John Smith BS'86; Jane Doe MS'99). CC is also notable for having a style of listing degrees that differs greatly from the University standard.

For WikiCU, the University Style Guide should be the go-to resource. Details of listing degrees are as follows.

General Guidelines

  • The degrees will be listed directly following the name, with no intervening commas, parentheses, or birthdate information (the latter can be placed after the degree info; this is WikiCU, and the content of one's Columbia affiliation is more important than the span of one's mortal life). Only permutations of the alumnus' name can come prior to degree affiliations. e.g. John Smith '72 (note the absence of a comma after the name)
  • Both the degree title/school and the year of graduation will be wikilinked. In cases of ambiguous wikilinking (such as the wikilink to CC), the link will be disambiguated.
  • The year of graduation will only be abbreviated with an apostrophe if occurring after 1920.
  • Degrees should be listed in chronological order.

The simple version

  • The degrees shall be identified thus, in keeping with the updated style guide:
  1. Denote degrees received with year and then school, without a space between the numbers and letters (e.g. John Smith '07CC, not John Smith CC'07 as in the olden days).
  2. Multiple degrees are listed with a comma between (e.g. John Smith '07CC, '09SIPA; Again, note the lack of a comma after John Smith).
  • A polished example (including wikilinking): Susan Parker '02CC, '05LAW

Where it gets tricky

As mentioned before, each school has a slightly different way of doing things, to serve their varying purposes. While WikiCU should stick to the above method, here are a few things to look out for (which you might need to incorporate in some instances):

  • Only GSAS has the authority to confer the PhD. However, PhD candidates in various disciplines are actually students in their respective schools, but file their dissertations with GSAS. Thus, someone with a PhD in Business has a strange duality of technically having graduated from GSAS, but obviously affiliating with Business. This makes the PhD hard to cite, but it is usually associated with the school in which the student matriculated. Therefore, a PhD in Business would be cited as such: Peter Johns '08BUS.
  • If someone has multiple degrees from the University, and more than one of them are from the same school, said school's abbreviation is only necessary once if (and only if) they are in succession. Here is a rather ridiculous example: Michael Kelly '02CC, '03, '05BUS, '08SIPA, '09LAW, '10SIPA. Note that the "BUS" is dropped after '03, since the following degree is also from the Business School, but the same is not true of the SIPA degrees, which were apparently separated by a magical year at Columbia Law.
  • Within the different schools, the abbreviation for that school is often dropped. For example, in Columbia College publications, the CC abbreviation is often dropped (e.g. Sarah Robinson '96). Since WikiCU spans the entire University, this should be avoided.
  • Degrees that must cite school or faculty should cite the faculty/school that existed AT THE TIME, and not try to "retcon" anything in. Eg. de Bary is not MA (GSAS) '48, but rather MA (Philosophy) '48. William Barclay Parsons is not SEAS 1882, but Mines 1882, with appropriate links to indicate what we mean.
  • Parents are tricky, and parents who are also alumni themselves are even trickier. The abbreviation P: is used to precede the class years of their children, with a space after the colon: Susanne Green P: '10CC. Parents who are also alumni should have their own class years listed first, then those of their children: Conrad H. Lung '72CC, P: '01SEAS, '04CC, '06SEAS. Imagine trying to squeeze that onto a nametag.