We are the national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel. That brand, “unusual combinations,” captures well what it is that we do best at Allegheny College: help our students to challenge themselves in multiple directions to make the most of all of their interests, skills and talents.
Although not all of our communications will emphasize that message, it is important to recognize that we often have opportunities to illustrate Allegheny’s distinctive brand and campus culture in the stories we tell.
The Office of College Relations 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 September 2014
Allegheny magazine follows the Associated Press Stylebook (using numerals for all numbers over nine, for example).
News releases use the AP Stylebook as well.
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 Allegheny Executive Council
Allegheny Christian Outreach
Allegheny College Board of Trustees (but the board of trustees, the trustees, the board, etc.)
Allegheny College Catalogue
Allegheny Gay Pride
Allegheny Literary Journal
Allegheny Repertory Dance
Allegheny Service Network (ASN)
Allegheny Student Government (ASG)
Alpha Phi Omega: co-ed service fraternity
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.)
American Music Ensemble (student jazz group)
AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders
Arts & Environment Initiative
ASAP: Allegheny Students for Advancement and Philanthropy
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.
board of trustees: no need to capitalize unless using full name: Allegheny College Board of Trustees
Bousson Environmental Research Reserve
bulleted list: Use no punctuation after the items in a bulleted list
the Campus (student newspaper)
Center for Political Participation (CPP)
chair or chairperson (instead of chairman or chairwoman)
Chemii: chemistry society
class: the Class of ’75. Do not capitalize class years: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior.
Classnotes: 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
CODIS: Committee on Diversity Issues (usually referred to as CODIS)
the College (capitalized only when referring to Allegheny College)
College Court (residence hall)
colon: use one space after a colon
commas: Depending on whether you are engaged in formal or informal writing: We use the serial comma (“red, white, and blue”) in formal writing. AP style 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 justice studies: Formerly called values, ethics and social action (VESA).
course names: capitalize but do not use quotation marks or italics: Introduction to Chemistry, Philosophy from Hegel to Homer Simpson
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
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: email@example.com
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
Finance and Facilities Committee (FFC)
Ford Memorial Chapel: or just “the Chapel”
Frank B. Fuhrer Field
French Creek Project
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.
Gateway: (Formally known as the Allegheny Gateway to Communities, Cultures and Careers. It includes all the services offered at the former ACCEL.)
Gator Activities Programming (GAP)
Gators: always capitalize (unless you’re talking about real alligators)
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
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
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
Liturgical Dance Choir
Make A Difference Day
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)
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 Community Service
OK (not Okay)
Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership society)
Orchesis (modern dance group)
Parent Library: the library in the Tippie Alumni Center; named after donors named Parent
Parents Weekend: now called Family Weekend
the Patricia Bush Tippie Alumni Center at Cochran Hall: can also be called the Tippie Center
Peer Project Leaders
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)
The Presence of Seven in the Light of Movement: the Danny Lane sculpture in the Senior Circle
Psi Chi (psychology honor society)
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)
Reunion Weekend (but “the reunion”)
Robertson Athletic Complex
seasons: Lowercase spring, summer, fall and winter.
semester: spring semester, fall semester
Shafer Auditorium: Not necessary to use full name—Raymond P. Shafer Auditorium—in most usages.
Sigma Xi (scientific society)
Silberman Recital Series
Single Voice Reading Series
Society for the Advancement of Gender Equality (SAGE)
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)
Students for Environmental Action (SEA)
that: “that” is preferable to “which” in restrictive clauses: “The report that he gave me was pure drivel.”
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.
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)
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.)
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 Rick Stanley if you have specific questions about editorial standards and usage.