Editorial Style Guide

This guide answers questions about standardizing punctuation and usage according to adopted Colorado College style. For questions not covered in this section, consult the "Associated Press Stylebook" or "Webster's Collegiate Dictionary." If you need assistance in preparing your copy or have any questions, please contact the Office of Communications at 389-6603.

Protocol for referring to alumni

The word “alumni” refers collectively to graduates, and is plural, therefore, do not refer to an individual as “an alumni.” Colorado College has changed its editorial style preference to discontinue use of the gender-specific terms “alumnus” and “alumna” in favor of the more inclusive “alum.” The terms “alum” (singular, not gender-specific) and “alums” (plural, not gender-specific) are more informal and are acceptable. It is also fine to refer to an individual as a graduate (if they did indeed graduate). 

Anyone who completes at least two semesters at Colorado College is considered an alum. Someone who attended less than two semesters at CC is referred to as a former student. Use an apostrophe before the class year to indicate the omitted "19" or "20." 

Michael Hannigan ’75 is an alum of Colorado College.

Diane Brown Benninghoff ’68 is an alum.

Michael Hannigan ’75 and Diane Brown Benninghoff ’68 are CC alumni.

“Maiden”/given/surname/family names and other name changes

When possible, ask the alum, “How would you like your name to appear?” If that is not possible, and an alum has married and taken their spouse's last name, use their previous last name at the time they were a student first in a list, on nametags, in directories, etc.

Diane Brown Benninghoff ’68

Class year

Class years are used anytime a name is printed. In articles, use the class year the first time the name appears, not every time.

Class years are initially assigned based on the fiscal year of actual graduation August 1996 graduates will be considered 1997 graduates unless they tell us otherwise. While we cannot change a transcript, we will change a person's year on their record for the purpose of identity.

Former student

This is the phrase is used to refer to an individual who attended CC for less than two semesters but did not graduate. Former students are considered members of the class with which they would have graduated if they had stayed.

Guide to Style


1. Periods

1.1 With abbreviations

Use periods when abbreviating academic degrees.

Ex. Spock received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

And with lowercase abbreviations:

Ex. You must maintain a 3.0 g.p.a.
The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Periods are not used with most acronyms, which are uppercase.


(See also 10 Abbreviations)

1.2 With lists

Listed information conveyed in sentence form should be punctuated with periods. If the items in a vertical list are complete sentences, capitalize the first word and place the appropriate punctuation at the end of each item. With sentence fragments in a vertical series, it is best not to use punctuation at the end of each line. If you choose to punctuate, be consistent.

Ex. To participate in Commencement:

  1. You will need to apply for graduation by the March 1 deadline.
  2. You will need to arrange to rent or purchase a graduation gown.

The agenda contains the following items:
Construction plans
Personnel decisions

Pat was interested in finding:
More space;
More money;
More staff.

(do not place "and" before the last item)

1.3 In address

Use periods in Washington, D.C.

Ex. The cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., bloom in March. (note commas before and after "D.C." when it falls in the middle of a sentence)

No periods in PO Box

2. Commas

2.1 In a series

Use a comma to separate elements in a series and use a comma before the "and" in a series: The flag is red, white, and blue.

2.2 With numbers

Use a comma after digits signifying thousands: 1,150 students. The major exceptions are: street addresses (1234 Main St.), broadcast frequencies (1460 kilohertz), years (1995), temperature (3200 degrees) and test scores (SAT score of 1200).

2.3 With quotations

Follow a statement that introduces a direct quotation of one or more sentences with a comma. But use a colon after "as follows."

Ex. Dorothy Parker's epitaph reads, "Pardon my dust."

Dorothy Parker's epitaph reads as follows: "Pardon my dust."

2.4 With introductory words

Introductory words such as "to wit," "namely," "i.e.," "e.g.," and "via" should be followed by a comma. An alternative would be to use parentheses.

Ex. International students are required to submit proof of identification; e.g., a passport, immunization record, a visa, or some other form of identification.

2.5 With dates

When writing a date, place a comma between the day, if given, and the year, but do not place a comma between the month and year when the day is not mentioned.

Ex. November 1945
Nov. 13, 1945
She was married on Nov. 13, 1995, in Denver.

2.6 With seasons

The comma is omitted when citing seasons.

Ex. Spring 1991
Fall 1990

3 Hyphens

Hyphenation should not interrupt the flow of reading.

3.1 Hyphenating compound words

Use a hyphen in compound adjectives that come before the words they modify:

Ex full-time student
grade-point average
upper-division course
part-time faculty
out-of-state tuition

3.2 Hyphenation with prefixes

Words beginning with "non," "anti," "sub," "co," and "pre" usually can be combined without a hyphen.

Ex. Nontraditional, nondenominational, coeducational, antinuclear, substandard, premedicine, prephysical therapy, precollege, nonprofit. Use the nonhyphenated spelling if either spelling is acceptable.

Exceptions: Hyphenate words when a prefix causes confusion in reading the word that follows.

Ex. pre-enroll, not preenroll
pre-engineering. not preengineering
co-op, not coop

3.3 Hyphens with regional campus names

Hyphenate the names of the regional campuses as follows:

Colorado College-Baca campus

3.4 Hyphens with telephone numbers

Area codes and other codes for telephone numbers are to be set off in parentheses from the phone number with a hyphen.

Ex. (719) 555-0123
(800) 555-0123

3.5 Hyphen or a dash?

Hyphens are joiners. Use them to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea from two or more words: He recovered the money. He re-covered the leaky roof. Many combinations that are hyphenated before a noun are not hyphenated when they occur after a noun: She works full time. She has a full-time job.

Use dashes to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause: We will fly to Paris in June - if I get a raise. (Put a space on both sides of a dash in all uses.)

4. Quotation marks

4.1 Used with other punctuation

Quotation marks should be placed outside a period and comma, but inside a colon or semicolon. They should also be set inside exclamation points and interrogation marks that are not part of the quotation.

Ex. See Richter's comments on "journalist expertise," in the second section of this book.
The board had only two reservations about "the proposal": the cost and the time needed to implement changes.

4.2 Quotes within quotes

Use single quotation marks for quotations printed within other quotations.

Ex. The nonconformist student replied. "I follow Emerson's dictum, 'A foolish consistency is the petty hobgoblin of small minds,' to its logical extreme."

4.3 Block quotations

If several paragraphs are to be quoted, use quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph, but at the end of the last paragraph only.


5.1 With dates

In making the plural of dates, do not use an apostrophe.

Ex. in the early 1800s

5.2 With class year

Use the apostrophe to punctuate years of college classes.

Ex. Class of '78

5.3 With degrees

Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees, when used generically, should be written with an " 's."

Ex. master's degrees, not masters' degrees

5.4 With possessives

The possessive case of singular nouns is formed by adding " 's," the possessive of plural nouns by adding an apostrophe only.

Ex. the horse's mouth, the puppies' tails,

5.5 With possessives in titles

The apostrophe is dropped from possessives when they become part of official designations or titles.

Ex. Visitors Center
dean of students office


6. Capitalization

6.1 Academic positions or professional titles

Capitalize a position or title only when used before a person's name. Lowercase titles in all other instances.

Ex. Titles preceding names:
President Jill Tiefenthaler
Dean Sandra Wong

Titles following names:
Jim Swanson, director of financial aid
Mike Edmonds, vice president of student life

Titles without names:
For further information, contact the director, Office of Communications.
The president of the college spoke at the presentation.

6.2 Titles of campus-related areas

Capitalize all formal titles of campus-related areas.

Ex. Institutions:
Colorado College

(subsequent reference, the college or CC. CC is acceptable on subsequent reference in all but formal occasions.). Do not use the College (uppercase).

Academic calendar:
Block Plan

(but use lowercase for block break.)

Colorado College Alumni Directory
Colorado College Bulletin
The Catalyst

(note: newspaper and magazine names in italic)

Committees or councils:
Faculty Executive Committee

The Global Health Program

Departments and Offices:
Capitalize the names of all college departments and offices.

Ex: Office of Communications, Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Department of Anthropology, Campus Safety

Board of Trustees

("trustees" or "board" on second reference)

Lowercase fragmentary or informal references: the school, the program, etc.

The board meets on the first Saturday of April.

6.3 Titles of campus activities

Capitalize formal titles of campus activities.

Ex. Homecoming, Commencement

6.4 Titles of grants and awards

Capitalize formal titles of grants and scholarships. Lowercase cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, but put them in italic.

E x. The Kresge Endowment Challenge for Science, the Gaylord Endowment for Pacific Areas Studies
He graduated summa cum laude.

6.5 Titles of courses

Capitalize all formal course titles.

Ex. Introduction to Psychology: Basis of Behavior,
Global Industrial Relations (with Emphasis on Writing)

Do not capitalize informal course titles.

Ex. sociology class

6.6 Majors, thematic minors

When used in text, lowercase all of the following, with the exception of proper nouns like French and English.

Majors: art major, biology major, French major Thematic minors: journalism

Tracks: major in English with an emphasis in creative writing

Areas of study are also lowercase when used as part of degree titles, unless those areas are an official part of the degree title itself; then they are uppercase.

Ex. Students earn a Master's of Art in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree.

6.7 Student classification

Lowercase "sophomore," "junior," and "senior" when referring to student classification (Note: Colorado College does not classify new students as "freshmen." Instead, we use "first-year students.")

Ex. All sophomores must fulfill the sophomore-level composition requirement.

6.8 Greek organizations

Capitalize the names of fraternities and sororities, but not the words fraternity, sorority, honorary, honor society, or chapter.

Ex. The Colorado College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honor society

6.9 Academic block

Academic blocks are uppercase. Capitalize "Block Plan" on all references. Use numbers, not Roman numerals, to indicate the block.

Ex. Block B, Summer 2018
Block 4

6.10 Headlines

Lowercase articles, prepositions, and conjunctions in headlines, except when prepositions contain more than four letters.

Ex. Enrollment at 2,000
Enrollment Under 2,000
Enrollment Increases Since June

6.11 Geographical designations

Lowercase geographical designations, unless designation is part of an official title, e.g., State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Ex. city of Colorado Springs, southern Colorado, Pikes Peak Region

6.12 With abbreviations

Lowercase the following abbreviations: a.m., p.m., g.p.a.

Ex. Native American Student Union (NASU)

6.13 Half Block


Ex. Half Block is the academic session in January between Winter Break and the start of Block 5 in which students can take credit and non-credit-bearing classes focused on career and skill development.

Hyphenate Half-Block when it is used as a modifier: A Half-Block course.

7. Names and Titles

7.1 Official titles

Use complete, accurate titles of campus buildings, persons, positions, and official units. The Catalog of Courses and the Directory are good sources for correct titles.

7.2. Faculty rank

The levels of faculty rank are as follows:

associate professor
assistant professor
professor emeritus
adjunct professor

Uppercase formal titles Tomi-Ann Roberts, Winkler-Herman Professor of Psychology

7.3 Use of a person's name in publications

In first reference, refer to the individuals by first and last name and title, if applicable. Subsequent references are by last name.

Ex. Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler addressed the incoming class of 2015. Tiefenthaler's speech was well received.

Whenever possible, use a position or title instead of a name in recruiting or promotional publications.

Ex. For further information contact the director, Office of Communications.
Send your application to the director of financial aid before March 1.

7.4 Academic Titles and Degrees

Avoid using Dr. when referring to professors or staff. The preferred way to refer to faculty is to use their first and last name, followed by their level of faculty rank. Ex: Brian Linkhart, professor of biology, conducts research on flammulated owls. The same rule applies to others - such as administrators, staff, and faculty from other colleges - who have the Ph.D. degree or Dr. designation.

Ex: Jill Tiefenthaler, president of Colorado College, spoke to alumni in Boston.

7.5 Program Names and the "@" Symbol

Avoid using the "@" (at) symbol in program names; instead, spell out the word "at." The @ symbol is potentially confusing when used in program names because of its common usage in social media and email addresses. The "@" sign is meaningful in social media, so if a program name contains the symbol and is used in social media, it will tag whatever follows the symbol.

8. Contact Information

8.1 Addresses

Campus addresses should have the room number following the building name.

Ex. Spencer Center 301

8.2 Telephone numbers

Use figures and parentheses around the area code.

Ex. (719) 555-0123
(800) 555-0123

8.3 Electronic communications

Lowercase email unless it begins a sentence (and do not use a hyphen).

Ex. Her email address is leslie.weddell@coloradocollege.edu

9. Degrees

The area in which the degree is granted is capitalized only when it is included as an official part of the degree title.

Ex. Tom was working toward a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.

Lowercase informal titles of degrees.

Ex. Bob received his master's degree after seven years of part-time study. Glen hopes to earn his doctoral degree this month.

10. Abbreviations

10.1 Titles

Abbreviate the following when they precede a name:

Ex. Dr., Mr., Mrs., the Rev., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., and Sen.

Avoid using "Dr." when referring to professors, staff, or administrators; reserve "Dr." for use in first reference as a formal title before the name of a medical doctor. Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual's name. Spell out and lowercase a title when it is substituted for a name.

Ex. Gen. John Doe arrived today. An aide said the general would review the troops.

10.2 Ampersand (&)

Use the ampersand when it is part of a company's formal name. Otherwise, avoid using ampersands and use the word "and" instead.

Ex. Simon & Schuster

10.3 Geographical references

Abbreviate Ave., Blvd., and St. with a numbered address.

Ex. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Spell out and capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number.

Ex. Pennsylvania Avenue.

All similar words (alley, drive, circle, road, terrace, etc.) always are spelled out.

Ex. 9 Morningside Circle.

Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as street names; use figures with two letters for 10th and above.

Ex. 7 Fifth Avenue
100 21st St.

10.4 City names

Abbreviate the word saint when used as part of a city's name.

Ex. St. Louis, St. Paul, St. Petersburg

10.5 Degrees

Use the following for these degrees:

Bachelor of Arts B.A.
Bachelor of Science B.S.
Master of Science M.S.
Master of Arts M.A.
Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.
Doctor of Divinity D.D.
Doctor of Education Ed.D.

l0.6 Numbers

Spell out numbers under 10 and use figures for the numbers 10 and above. However, when a number 10 or higher starts a sentence, spell it out.

Ex. The event featured seven students and 12 faculty members. The orientation lasted five hours. Fifteen students were honored.

Numbers in Addresses

The stationery or return address should be checked. Some corporate headquarters may prefer the spelling of their street number.

Ex. One Embarcadero Center

11. Word Usage

Colorado College supports the policy of avoiding language that contains discriminatory connotations. Replace the following terms with suggested alternatives:

chairman: chair, chairperson, department chair
manmade: handmade (or synthetic, manufactured)
foreman: supervisor
housewife: homemaker
craftsman: artisan
fireman: firefighter
freshman: first-year students
councilman: councilor or council member

11.1 Fund raising, fund-raising, fund-raiser

Fund raising is difficult. They planned a fundraising campaign. A fund-raiser was hired.

11.2 Books, movies, TV shows, plays, poems, speeches, and works of art

Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material: "The Star-Spangled Banner," "Gone With the Wind," "Of Mice and Men," the NBC-TV "Today" program, Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," and Encyclopedia Britannica.

11.3 Newspapers and magazines

Newspaper and magazine names are always italic: Time and Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Gazette.

11.4 Full time, full-time

Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: He works full time. She has a full-time job.

11.5 Adviser or advisor

Use adviser.

11.7 Electronic and computer speak

For electronic mail, use email and to refer to an internet site, use website.

11.8 Residence hall

Avoid using "dorm" or "dormitory" when referring to campus student housing. Use "residence hall" instead (or "theme house" or "language house" when appropriate).

11.9 Reference to Palestine

When referring to the areas of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, use "the Palestinian territories" rather than "Palestine."

Report an issue - Last updated: 06/16/2022

The Office of Communications and Marketing is located on the 4th floor of Spencer Center, at 830 N. Tejon St.

We can be reached via telephone at 719-389-6603 or via email at communications@​coloradocollege.edu