The Addams Family and weird codes

Dear Benny,
Is it true that Charles Addams modeled the house the “Addams Family” lived in after College Hall?

— Spooked

Dear Spooked,
In a word, no. At least not directly, as far as I know. Addams did appreciate the Gothic architecture of College Hall, though, and depicted his cartoon family in front of it for a 1973 Pennsylvania Gazette cover, reproduced at right.

Addams saw College Hall during the year he studied architecture at Penn in the 1930s. The cartoonist, who died in 1988, received an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 1980. His widow, Lady Barbara Colyton, dedicated Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall in March of last year. (Source: The Pennsylvania Gazette)

Dear Benny,
What do those letters mean after people’s names in your stories?

—Alum from Harvard

Dear Harvard,
When you see letters and numbers in parentheses following a person’s name, that means he or she is an alumnus or alumna of the University or a current student. There are more than 70 abbreviations reflecting Penn schools and programs both past and present. The Pennsylvania Gazette’s Web site includes a page that explains them all (; the most common ones are:

C College (undergraduate, Arts and Sciences
EAS undergraduate, Engineering
Nu undergraduate, Nursing
W undergraduate, Wharton
CGS College of General Studies
WEv Wharton Evening Division
G master's, Arts and Sciences
WG master's, Wharton
Gr doctorate
CW College for Women (pre-1975)

Got a question for Benny? You can ask Benny about benefits, worklife issues, University history or trivia, or other matters pertaining to life at Penn. Send your questions for Benny via e-mail to or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106.

Originally published on January 24, 2002