Style Guide

The Office of Marketing and Communications offers our colleagues across campus numerous editorial resources to help them communicate better with their constituents, including writing, editing, and proofreading services and an Allegheny College style guide. Don’t know if it’s Lord Gate, Lord Gates, Lords Gate, or the Lord’s Gate? The style guide can tell you that—and much more.

Allegheny College Style Guide

— Updated June 2022

The style guide that follows can be used for many Allegheny publications. Note that with grammar and spelling there is a right and a wrong. But style often denotes a set of preferences. It’s not necessarily right or wrong, but it does help us maintain consistency in our publications.

academic degrees: a Bachelor of Arts, a bachelor’s degree, a Master of Fine Arts, an MFA, an MBA, a master’s in political science, a Ph.D., a doctorate. (Please note that “bachelors degree” and “masters degree,” without the apostrophe, are incorrect.) Never say a “B.A. degree.”

academic grades: capitalize and use roman typeface (e.g., A, B+); for plurals: A’s, B’s, C’s, etc.

academic majors: Lowercase (e.g., biology major). Exceptions: English, French, German, etc.

acronyms: Spell out for first citation and follow with acronym in parentheses. E.g., “The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) reflects well on the students of Allegheny College.” After the first reference use the acronym.

advisor (not adviser, but depends on the audience since AP style is adviser)

AEC: stands for Administrative Executive Committee

Alden Scholar

Allegheny Christian Outreach

Allegheny College Board of Trustees (but the board of trustees, the trustees, the board, etc.)

Allegheny College Bulletin

Allegheny magazine

Allegheny Review

Allegheny Student Government (ASG)

Alpha Phi Omega: co-ed service fraternity

Alumni Council

Annual Fund

Alumni Medal

alumnus (male, singular), alumna (female, singular), alumnae (female, plural), alumni (male or male and female, plural). One individual is never an alumni. (Never just alum, except in some social media where characters count!)

a.m., p.m. (Note: saying “midnight” or “noon” is much less confusing than saying “12 a.m.” or “12 p.m.” Also note that “12 midnight” or “12 noon” is redundant.)

Association for Asian and Asian American Awareness (A5)

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): computer science society

Association of Black Collegians/Association for the Advancement of Black Culture (ABC)

Band Camp for Adult Musicians

Beta Beta Beta (biology honor society)

Bicentennial: Capitalize when it refers to the College’s 200-year celebration.

Blue and Gold Weekend: includes both Homecoming Weekend and Family Weekend

Blue Citation

board of trustees: no need to capitalize unless using full name: Allegheny College Board of Trustees

Bousson Environmental Research Reserve

Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics (CBE): Use the full name on first reference; “center” or “CBE” may be used on subsequent references.

bulleted list: Use no punctuation after the items in a bulleted list

the Campus (student newspaper)

Carrden: the produce and flower garden near Carr Hall

Center for Business and Economics (CBE): See “Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics.”

Center for Political Participation (CPP)

chair or chairperson (instead of chairman or chairwoman)

Chamber Choir

Chamber Orchestra

Chemii: chemistry society

Civic Symphony

class: the Class of ’75. Do not capitalize class years: first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior.

Class Notes: Refers to section in Allegheny magazine

class year: immediately follows the name of the alumna or alumnus: Christine Crackersmith ’47 . Note that if you space after the numerals Microsoft Word will automatically turn a backward apostrophe into a correct apostrophe.

CoDE: Council on Diversity and Equity

Collaboratory: a meeting and collaboration space on the upper level of Pelletier Library

the College (capitalized only when referring to Allegheny College)

College Choir

College Court (residence hall)

colon: use one space after a colon

commas: We use the serial (or Oxford) comma (“red, white, and blue”). However, news releases follow AP style, which does not use the serial comma.


committees: capitalize only the full, official name of a committee or task force: the Committee on Institutional Diversity (otherwise, the institutional diversity committee)

community and justice studies: Formerly called values, ethics and social action (VESA).

Community Wellness Initiative (CWI): a collaborative effort among several organizations and institutions (including Allegheny) to improve wellness in Meadville

course names: capitalize but do not use quotation marks or italics: Introduction to Chemistry, Philosophy from Hegel to Homer Simpson

Creek Connections

cross country and track & field: use ampersand with track & field to show it’s one term within the larger category

date: Do not add st, nd, rd, or th to a date. It’s Jan. 1, not Jan. 1st.

David V. Wise Sport and Fitness Center: full name for the Wise Center

departments, academic and administrative: Capitalize names of departments only when the official, full name of the department is given: Department of Biology (but biology department); Office of Student Affairs (but student affairs office).

Dimensions (math society)

Doane Hall of Art

Doane Hall of Chemistry

Doane Scholar

dollar amounts: Use $ with numerals: $5, $10,000, $8.3 million

Double space after period or colon in text: No. Absolutely not. Never. Don’t even think of doing this.

EL seminars: refers to experiential learning


email addresses: print lowercase and do not underline:

em-dash: This is the standard dash used as a punctuation mark: “I don’t know what he was thinking — maybe no one knows what he was thinking — but I know what he did.” If you type two hyphens in Microsoft Word, Word will convert the two hyphens into an em-dash. There should be spaces on either side of the em-dash..

emeritus (male, singular), emerita (female, singular), emeriti (male or male and female, plural), emeritae (female, plural): trustees emeriti, professor emeritus

Faculty Council

Finance and Facilities Committee (FFC)

Ford Memorial Chapel: or just “the Chapel”

Frank B. Fuhrer Field

from/to: Once you use the word “from” in a construction like “from Tuesday to Saturday” or “from March 2 to 22” you cannot substitute a hyphen or a dash for the “to” (“from Tuesday-Saturday” is wrong)

Fundraising: one word in all cases.

Gator Activities Programming (GAP)

Gator Day: academic, career, and professional development programming day

Gators: always capitalize (unless you’re talking about real alligators)

Gold Citation


Grounds for Change (coffeehouse)

Habitat for Humanity

Henderson Campus Center: usually OK simply to say Campus Center


the Honor Code

hyphen: do not hyphenate adverbs ending in “ly” and adjectives: the newly elected president

Inc.: Abbreviate and do not precede with comma

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Social Justice (IDEAS) Center

initials: Do not separate with a space: H.J. Heinz


italics: Italicize titles of books, plays, newspapers, magazines, operas, ships, movies, television program titles, paintings, exhibits, record titles, works of art, famous statues, and long musical compositions. Italicize foreign words if they don’t appear in the regular part of the dictionary. Exception: news releases follow AP style, which uses quotation marks rather than italics for these items.

James H. Mullen, Jr. Arena: performance arena in the David V. Wise Sport and Fitness Center (informally known as “Jim’s Gym”)

Jewish Community Center (or JCC)

junior, senior: Abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. and do not precede with a comma: Regis Bumpkin Sr.

the Kaldron: the yearbook

Lambda Sigma (sophomore honor society)

Latino/Latina: Latino is male, Latina is female

Lord Gate

Make A Difference Day


Maytum Center for Student Success

McKinley’s Food Court

Middle East and North African (MENA) studies

Montgomery Performance Space: in Montgomery Gym

months: don’t abbreviate months of the year when they stand alone or appear with the year: September 2006, December. Do abbreviate the following when used with a specific date: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Nancy Sheridan ACA Scholarship (for women)

nicknames: Add within quotation marks (Margaret “Pookie” Mullins)

North Village

North Village II

numbers: Spell out whole numbers below 10, and use figures for 10 and above. Exceptions: Use numerals for times, measurements, decimals, fractions, percentages, sports scores, and ages: 3 ounces, 3.5, 3 percent, final score was 5-2, the child was 5 years old.

Odd Fellows Building

Office of Economic, Civic & Community Engagement

Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (URSCA)

OK (not Okay)

Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership society)

Orchesis (modern dance group)

Outing Club

Parent Library: the library in the Tippie Alumni Center; named after donors named Parent

percent: Use a numeral with the word percent (1 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent)

Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society)

Phi Beta Kappa (national scholastic society)

Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics honor society)

Pi Sigma Alpha (political science honor society)

Playshop Theatre

The Presence of Seven in the Light of Movement: the Danny Lane sculpture in the Senior Circle

Psi Chi (psychology honor society)

Quade Walk

quotation marks: Use quotations marks for titles of poems, short stories, lectures, short musical compositions, song titles, titles of articles within magazines and newspapers, book chapter titles (see also italics).

Ravine-Narvik Hall

residence hall: preferred over “dorm” or “dormitory”


Reunion Weekend (but “the reunion”)

Richard J. Cook – Teresa M. Lahti Scholars Symposium

Richard J. Cook Center for Environmental Science in Carr Hall

Robertson Athletic Complex

Rustic Bridge

seasons: Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter.

semester: spring semester, fall semester

Senior Circle

Senior Comp

Shafer Auditorium: Not necessary to use full name—Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium—in most usages.

Sigma Xi (scientific society)

Single Voice Reading Series

Sojourners Christian Fellowship


Staff Advisory Committee (SAC)

states: Spell out state names in all references. Use postal abbreviations (IA, PA, CT, MS) only when giving a complete address including ZIP code: Regis Bupkin, 432 Willowrest Road, Meadville, PA 16335.

Steffee Hall of Life Sciences

Student Art Society

Student Experimental Theatre (SET)

student/faculty ratio

Students for Environmental Action (SEA)

that: “that” is preferable to “which” in restrictive clauses: “The report that he gave me was pure drivel.”

theatre department

the Tillotson Room: the dining room in the Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center

time: Do not use 00 with a time: write 8 p.m. rather than 8:00 p.m.

Tippie Alumni Center: The full name is the Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center at Cochran Hall, but it’s OK to use the shortened name in most instances

titles: Capitalize titles only when they appear immediately before a proper name: Professor of Ornithology Lydia Swallow brought the class to a frenzy. Lydia Swallow, professor of ornithology, brought several stuffed dodos to class.

toward: not towards

track & field

trademarked names: Watch out for these. A lot of product terms are proper nouns. It’s Kleenex, not kleenex; Frisbee, not frisbee, Ping Pong, not ping pong. Sometimes you can get around this — just say tissue instead of Kleenex, but sometimes it’s just too awkward. (Who wants to say “Wanna go out and play a game of flying disc?”) Also, you should never have to use that little ™ mark or the ® in regular copy. The people who own the trademarks might need to, but we don’t.

Union Latinx

United States (noun), U.S. (adj.)

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA): national program

Volunteers in Support of Allegheny (VISA): Allegheny College program

Vukovich Center for Communication Arts

WARC-FM (college radio station)

Watershed Conservation Research Center: Use the full name on first reference; “center” or “WCRC” maybe used on subsequent references.


which: “which” should be used in nonrestrictive clauses: “The report he gave me, which I read over the weekend, was pure drivel.” “That” is used for restrictive clauses: The car that hit me was being driven at a high rate of speed. (Restrictive serves to identify which car we’re talking about.)

Wind Ensemble

Wind Symphony


Winslow Health Center

Women’s, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSS): Replaced the women’s studies major and minor and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) studies minor.

Please contact Marketing and Communications if you have specific questions about editorial standards and usage.