Emeritus | Emerita

How to Use Emeritus?

How do I write my former Pastor’s name on an envelope? Is he:
—-The Reverend (Full Name), Emeritus Pastor
—-—-or
—-Pastor Emeritus (Name)
—-—-—-– C.F.

Dear C.F. & R.K.,

When someone is emeritus/emerita, the forms to use are:
—-(Full Name), (Office) Emeritus
—-(Full Name), (Office) Emerita

This would look like:
—-Robert Barbie Ph.D., Professor of Art Emeritus, University of ABC
—-Sara Jane Knight, D.D., Pastor Emerita, Church XYZ

This form of a name is used when there is a continuing relationship with the organization.

Emeritus, Emerita, (Office) Emeritus or (Office) Emerita are used after the name for identification. They are neither used before a name as an honorific, nor as part of a name in a salutation, or in oral conversation.

—-#1) Emeritus implies a continuing relationship with an organization. At universities while a Professor Emeritus might not have same teaching schedule, he or she would keep an ID card, faculty discount at the bookstore, continue to be seated and be recognized at graduations, be listed as a member of the faculty in the catalog, still use the faculty dining room, have access to the university clinic, library & athletic facilities, even have an office and serve on committees. In a religious community, if someone is the pastor emeritus of a congregation, it is the congregation which grants the title.

—-#2) Retired & emeritus are not the same. The organization specifically grants the title. It is not automatically granted to everyone who retires.

—-#3) See also How to use honorary degrees / honorary doctorate for more on honorary titles.

– Robert Hickey   How to Use Emeritus or Emerita

How to Use Emeritus or Emerita

Can I List Deceased Officials as Emeritus?

I am the president of a board. One of our Advisory Board members passed away, but I would like to keep his name on our organizational roster. How shall I title him? Board Member Emeritus?
—-—-—-– SD

I want to want to create a an ’emeritus list’ of our retired executives. Who gets included on such a list? Are they still emeritus when they pass away?
—-—-—-– R.K.

Dear SD and RK,
Emeritus means they no longer work with you (e.g. they are retired) but continue to have a relationship with the organization.

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

Deceased persons are no longer emeritus/emerita.

When organizations want to remember deceased individuals, they list the years of service, not the years they lived:
—-—-(Full Name), (Office) Started-Ended
—-Which looks like:
—-—-William K. Bell, Professor of French 1988-2012

Often they create a new group, e.g., Founders or Honor Roll.

This method does not mention they are dead, just that they were an official/important person to the organization at one time.  If you include their span of life after their name it confirms they are deceased – (Full Name), 1950-2019 – if that is important for you to communicate. Typically for organizational officials it is not.

Setting up this sort of new category is a good thing for organizations to do. It first comes up when they have someone special to remember … but it’s good to think of these things with a broad view:
—-—-How will it work now?
—-—  How will it work when the next name is added?

– Robert Hickey   How to Use Emeritus or Emerita

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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