As I believe words are the most important tools of man, I believe the clarification of a definition is in order given a recent occurrence.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "alumnus" has the following definition: "A person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, "A male former pupil or student of a particular school, college, or university."
According to Cambridge Dictionary, "Someone who has left a school, college, or university after finishing their studies there."
A degree being conferred upon a student who has satisfied institutional requirements is an aspect of the word, but that does not preclude acknowledging the other aspect, which is that someone did study at the given educational institution and may not have received a degree for any number of reasons.
Do I have an MFA? No.
Did I work towards one? Yes.
Did you bother asking why I discontinued my studies? No.
Has my lack of an MFA deterred me in any way from finishing two plays, getting them accepted into two festivals, getting two different creative teams together and handling the majority of the PR, Advertising, Budgeting and other Producer duties (while on the other side of the planet) while also working a full-time job, tutoring on the side, getting the play translated into Chinese and produced here, keeping my wife and baby happy and writing grant proposals with my wife for a new project that will take us to the Arctic Circle?
Just thought I'd put that out there to the universe, and to those who can't simply say "Good for you" without nitpicking a technicality, which, as I just pointed out, was done so in error.
Thank you for your time.
Playwright, Actor, Producer, not an MFA holder