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Archive for April 19th, 2011

I am researching the usage of post nominal letters for our university president’s correspondence.  Specifically I am looking for a comprehensive list of post nominal letters, as they apply to professions and academia.   The only list I have been able to locate was published in 1911; I am sure an updated list has been compiled since then, but I cannot find one.  Any assistance you can provide in locating an updated list is much appreciated.
 — EG in Atlanta

Dear EG:
I can see how such a list would be useful!
A comprehensive list is something I thought about, and when I was writing my book at first I assumed I would include a comprehensive list of post-nominals.
But after working on the list for a while I realized that the list would be endless and always out of date.
So many institutions giving so many degrees … and each coming up with their own idiosyncratic variations for the abbreviations!
I could suggest you do it …. but  … I now know that putting any post nominal in Google quickly leads to the answer.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I’m working on name badges for speakers at our college’s conference and I’ve never been sure how to include degrees on name badges. What is the correct order?
Mark Johnson, BS, MA, PhD ?
or
Mark Johnson PhD, MA, BS?
Do you list them all or just the highest?
Heidi Miller PhD, MA, BA
or
Heidi Miller, PhD
 — LR

Dear LR:
Degrees are listed highest to lowest when more than one is included.
Regarding the decision to include degrees on name badges … most often name badges are written to provide information to facilitate networking and conversation. They aren’t biographies. Usually name badges provide the person’s call-by name.
In an academic environment where you might decide it’s necessary to use “Dr.” … so you might also give everyone honorifics .. Mr./Ms./etc. … to keep them consistent.:
Mr. Robert Hickey

Dr. Heidi Miller 

or provide some extra information:
Mr. Robert Hickey
The Protocol School of Washington


Dr. Heidi Miller
Department of Biology


or even more:
Mr. Robert Hickey
Deputy Director
The Protocol School of Washington


Dr. Heidi Miller
Professor
Department of Biology


– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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If a politician does a favor for a citizen, how does the citizen properly thank the politician? I sent a business letter to my local elected official asking for help. He not only responded immediately but acted in less than 24 hours. I am so thankful for his help! A card seems too personal and an email seems too unexceptional. Should I send thanks as a business letter?
   — Cindy

Dear Cindy:
A hand-written card expressing thanks is never incorrect. But if you want something more official, write him a letter. In today’s world of email and voice mail … a note or letter gets maximum attention.
Use a standard business-letter format, address to his office, re-state your request for the record, praise his actions/helpfulness, and end with sincere thanks.
If you really want to make him happy …. tell him you are going to tell a dozen neighbors about his action.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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