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Editorial Style Guide

To make all College communications coherent and effective, the College editorial staff has produced this brief style guide.

On matters not addressed here, we defer to the Chicago Manual of Style for general writing, editing, and publishing guidelines, and to the Associated Press Stylebook for common practices in journalistic writing. Our preferred dictionary is the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition.

1832 Society

Members of The 1832 Society are people who have included Gettysburg College in their wills, estate plans, or any other gift of future provision.

a before h

Use a before a pronounced h: a historian, a horse, a hysterical joke. Use an before an aspirated h: an hour, an honest man.

Academic degrees

When speaking generally, use doctorate, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree (note use of apostrophes). Specific academic degrees should be capitalized (ex: Bachelor of Arts degree); when abbreviated, they should include periods: BA degree, BS degree, MA degree, MS degree, MD degree, or PhD degree.

For lesser-known degrees, such as Master of Fine Arts, Master of Public Administration, Juris Doctor, etc., spell out the entire title, using capitalization on all words except degree. Subsequent references to these degrees should use periods (ex.: MBA degree, MFA degree).

Addresses, telephone numbers, website, campus

Gettysburg College

(Department or office)

300 North Washington Street

Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400


717-337-6300 (campus information)



Capitalize the formal name (Office of Admissions) and the casual (Admissions Office). The senior staff member for student admission is the vice president for enrollment and educational services. The recruitment officers are admissions (note plural) counselors.


is preferred at Gettysburg College.

ALLies Club

A club that aims to promote the rights, safety, and comfort of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, and Questioning persons on the Gettysburg College campus.

alma mater

No caps and no italics.

Alumna, alumnae, alumni, alumnus

Alumnus (alumni as plural) refers to a man who has attended a school. Alumna (alumnae as plural) is a woman who has attended a school. Alumni refers to a group of men and women. It is also permissible to speak of an alum and alums.

Alumni Association

Refers to the Gettysburg College Alumni Association. Capitalize the formal name.

Alumni Association Board of Directors

Refers to the Gettysburg College Alumni Association Board of Directors. Capitalize the formal name.

Alumni Office

Capitalize the formal name (Office of Alumni Relations) and the more casual reference (Alumni Office).

Alumni class years

regular use: John Smith ’65; Jane Doe Smith ’65. (Maiden names are not placed in parentheses.)

Classes in another century, or to avoid confusion: John Smith, Class of 1865


a. both alumni: John ’65 and Jane Doe ’66 Smith

b. not both alumni: John and Jane Doe ’66 Smith; or John ’65 and Jane Smith. (Do not list the maiden name of non-alumni.)


A pre-orientation program that provides incoming students an opportunity to meet classmates prior to the start of the school year. Capitalize the formal name.


Service that occurs on the eve of Commencement; capitalize when referring to Gettysburg College’s service.


Generally no hyphen: bimonthly,

bilateral, bilingual.

Biannual, biennial

Biannual or semiannual is twice a year.

Biennial is every two years.

Board of trustees

In prose, use lower case. For more formal and promotional text, capitalization may be considered (The Gettysburg College Board of Trustees, for example). Individual trustees may be referred to using the rules under “titles”: Trustee John Smith or John Smith, a trustee of the College.


Name of the College’s sports teams. Always plural. You may say, however, “The fastest Bullet in history.”

Bullets Marching Band

Name of the College’s marching band. Capitalize when using formal name (Bullets Marching Band).

Burgians Of the Last Decade (BOLD)

Gettysburg College Alumni who graduated within the last 10 years. Use formal name (capitalized) on first reference and abbreviation thereafter.


Capitalize when referring to the full and proper title of a major fundraising drive, such as the Gettysburg Great Campaign; use “the campaign” (lowercase) in subsequent references.See for the full style guide.

Campus Activities Board (CAB)

Student-run organization that plans social events. Use formal name (capitalized) on first reference and abbreviation thereafter.


The College’s courses are listed in the Course Catalog.

Celebration: Colloquium on Undergraduate Research, Creative Activity, and Community Engagement

An event in the spring that showcases student work. Capitalize for formal reference as in Celebration was held this year.

Center for Career Development (CCD)

Provide services to students to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to start a successful career. Capitalize formal name on all references.

Center for Public Service (CPS)

A campus group that engages students, community members, faculty, and staff to facilitate partnerships, education, critical thinking, and informed action. Capitalize formal name on all references.

Central Pennsylvania Consortium (CPC)

Founded in 1968, it comprises Dickinson, Gettysburg, and Franklin & Marshall colleges. The consortium promotes institutional collaboration among the three schools and offers a wide range of academic and cultural programs for students, faculty, administrators, and surrounding communities.


Gettysburg College’s board of trustees and academic departments have a chair, not a chairman. Use chair to avoid gen­der bias.

Chairs, endowed

Professors may hold endowed chairs or professorship. A professor who holds the chair in a discipline should be referred to as the professor of the discipline, keeping the name of the chair capitalized, even in shortened, casual references: John Smith,Hales Family Distinguished Professor of Ethics.


Use Hanukkah instead.


Capitalize only when using its proper name: Gettysburg College Christ Chapel.

Civil War

Capitalize on all references.

Civil War Institute (CWI)

A distinctive program of the College that engages students, scholars, and others in examination of public history and Civil War topics. Capitalize formal name on first reference; use CWI in subsequent references.


Use instead of extracurricular when talking about campus living and learning activities (no hyphen).


Capitalize in isolation only when referring specifically to Gettysburg College. (Example: The College has excellent science programs.) For news releases, however, use college in lowercase.

College colors

Orange (PMS 158) and blue (PMS 294).


Materials for Gettysburg College audiences should follow the academic and other style guidelines below. Commas (and periods) always go inside quotation marks.

ITEMS IN A SERIES: Use a comma before the last item in a series. For press releases, however, the rule is to avoid commas before “and” in a series.

DATES: When using more than one identifier for a date, use commas to separate days, dates, and years. Note that a month alone (no date) does not need a comma between it and the year. (Examples: His presentation on Saturday, January 14, was most informative. The event was held in January 1997. We set the next meeting for July 14, 1997, in Tampa.)

CITY/STATE: Use pairs of commas to separate cities from states. (Examples: John Smith of St. Paul, Minnesota, won the award. The award winners include Bea Baylor, Beloit, Wisconsin; Jenny Jones, Fort Smith, Arkansas; Sam Smith, Rockford, Ill. The Minnesota band is here. The St. Paul, Minnesota, band is here.)

NUMBERS: Use a comma for most four-digit figures that reflect an actual count of things such as money and people (1,345 applicants). Exceptions include street addresses, broadcast frequencies, room numbers, serial numbers, and calendar years.


Capitalize when referring specifically to Gettysburg College’s graduation ceremony; otherwise it is lowercase.

Communications & Marketing Advisory Counsel (CMAC)

A group of alumni professionals from the field of communications and marketing who serve as advisors to the College.

Community Leader (CL)

Provides leadership in residence halls with a focus on community development and facilities management. Capitalize formal name upon first reference and abbreviation thereafter.

The Cupola Society

Prestigious circle of alumni, parents, and friends of the College who have made a gift of $1,500 or more to the College. Capitalize formal name on all references.


Example: the 1970s; the ’70s

(no apostrophe before “s”).

Departments, academic

Department of Psychology, but psychology department. Department of English, but English department.

Departments, non-academic (aka offices)

Office of College Life, but College Life office. Office of Annual Giving, but Annual Giving office. Please note that the media prefers lowercase in almost every instance.

Distinctive Programs

Four key programs offered at Gettysburg College that enhance the quality of the liberal arts experience for students. The four programs are: Civil War Institute, The Eisenhower Institute, Garthwait Leadership Center, Sunderman Conservatory of Music. Capitalize on all references.

Do great work

The College’s signature line. Use only as prescribed in the Graphic Standards Guide. No punctuation is used.

Eisenhower Institute (EI)

A Gettysburg College Distinctive Program. Center for leadership and public policy based in Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg, honoring the legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Capitalize formal name at first reference and use abbreviation thereafter.


No hyphen, small “e”; capital “e” used to start a sentence.


An honor earned (not automatic), usually upon retirement. Conforming to the rules of Latin, use this descriptor after the title. (Examples: Single person, by gender and placement: Professor Emeritus John Doe; President Emerita Martha Peterson; Jane Doe, professor emerita). Multiples by gender: professors emeriti (for all men or mixed group); professors emeritae (for all women. Reference to all the faculty and staff who hold emeritus status is, simply, “the emeriti.”


(See cocurricular.)

Family Weekend

Capitalize. No longer uses the word Parents to describe this weekend.


Use lowercase letters (or capitalize the first letter if starting a sentence or line of formatted text with it). Do not use all caps.

First-Year Experience

Note hyphen. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary courses during the fall semester that acclimate new students to college life.

First-year seminars

Note hyphen. Special seminar classes for first-year students.

First-year student

Use instead of freshman. Note hyphen.

First-Year Walk

A walk from campus to the National Cemetery to recreate the historic walk to the site of the Gettysburg Address. Capitalize formal name and use a hyphen between “first” and “year.”


Use first-year student(s) instead.


One word, no hyphen.

Garthwait Leadership Center (GLC)

A distinctive program that creates intellectual and experiential opportunities for students and alumni to develop leadership skills. Capitalize formal name upon first reference and use abbreviation thereafter.

Gettysburg Fund

Donor supported. Helps pay for initiatives to move College forward. Capitalize on all references.

Gettysburg Address

Always capitalize “Gettysburg Address” and “Address” when referring to the Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg (magazine)

Gettysburg College’s magazine. Italicize on reference.

G-burg, G-burgians 

Can be used in informal text and social media when referring to the College.


The acronym stands for geographic information systems. The GIS Lab is in the Science Center.

GPA/grade point average

Use abbreviation.


Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board. Office of Experiential Education provides the foundation for innovative leadership, professional development, and ethical responsibility. Use abbreviation.


This spelling is preferred over Chanukah.


A person whose ancestors come from Spain. See Latino.

Home page

Two words.


Do not use periods when referring to identification (plural: IDs).


Use a descriptor, such as North American, unless referring to someone from India. Native American is also suggested.

Jr., III, etc.

Abbreviate and capitalize when part of someone’s name. Do not separate by a comma. John Doe Jr. or John Doe III.


Midwinter African-American celebration.


Refers to a person (based on gender) whose ancestors come from Latin America. Latino-American is the common reference (regardless of gender) to U.S. citizens from Latin America.

LGBTQA Advisor

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Ally Advising. Exists to serve LGBTQA students. Use LGBTQA Advisor on all references.


Use lowercase in generic use and when speaking of Musselman Library.

Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater

Primary performance space for instrumental ensembles in Gettysburg. Capitalize on all references.


No hyphen when used as a prefix, unless it precedes a capital letter or numerical figure.


Use numerals. When forming a compound adjective, use a hyphen. (Examples: He gave $50. His gift was $1 million (simple nouns). He presented a $1-million gift (compound adjective). The year-end total was nearly $1.5 million.) The decimal system (taken out 1, 2, or, 3 places) is usually preferred for numbers above $1 million. (Examples: $1.123 million, or better yet: more than $1.1 million, nearly $1.2 million) (Symbols: ¢ = option-4; £ = option-3;

¥ = option-y)


Capitalize names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.


The cap worn at Commencement.


No hyphen; refers to three or more disciplines.


No hyphen.


List nicknames, surrounded by quotation marks, only when the formal and preferred names are unexpectedly different (OK: John “Buzz” Jones; AVOID: William “Bill” Smith).


Use this capitalized abbreviation for number when referring to a position or rank (examples: No. 1 city in America; No. 3 choice).

“Non” words

Generally, no hyphen: nonfiction, nonprofit, etc.


Use this rather than 12 p.m.


(See also No.) In general, spell out zero through nine (and first through ninth) and give numerals for 10 and above (10th, etc.). Fractions, such as two-thirds, should be spelled out. If paired with a whole number, use the decimal system: 2.25. Percentages, measurements, GPAs, and ages should always be represented by numerals. Headlines: Use numerals, even for 1–9.

When rounding large numbers, spell out (nearly one thousand people). Use cardinal numbers in dates (August 7, not August 7th). Do not start a sentence with a numeral. Spell out number of any magnitude if it is the first word of the sentence, or recast the sentence.


One word; no hyphen.

Orange & Blue Club

With ampersand. Fundraising group that fosters and supports excellence in intercollegiate athletics at Gettysburg College.

Owl & Nightingale Club

With ampersand. Student organization for the theatre arts program. It is the oldest non-Greek organization on campus.

Parents Leadership Council (PLC)

The Parents Leadership Council serves as a bridge of communication between Gettysburg College parents and the administration, faculty, student body, alumni, and friends. Members of the Parents Leadership Council serve as representatives of the entire parent constituency and as such are parent leaders in advising and financially supporting the College.


Spell out the word in text. The % sign may be used in numerical charts and headlines. Percentages should always be represented by a numeral (examples: an increase of 4 percent, but a 4-percent increase; HEADLINE: Board grants 4% raise).


Always place a period inside quotation marks.

Phi Beta Kappa

National honorary scholastic society for top students in the senior class.

Phone numbers

Use a hyphen (not parentheses or a slash) between the area code and the number; do not include “1” with toll-free numbers. For campus extensions, use “ext.” followed by a space and a four-digit number.


Use periods and lowercase letters (examples: 8 a.m.; 7:30 p.m.).


Title generally reserved for tenure-track faculty positions. Do not abbreviate “prof.” when used without a name. When introducing a faculty member, use the full academic title, including assistant, associate, adjunct, visiting, etc., as needed, along with the person’s name.

Long titles are more easily read after the name and surrounded by commas (Associate Professor of Psychology John Smith OR John Smith, associate professor of psychology)

Subsequent references to faculty are by last name, except in captions, where the title Prof. and the name may be used. Capitalization follows titles rules.

“re“ words

No hyphen, except those needing clarity, such as re-creation.

Residence halls

Use instead of dorms.

Resident Assistant (RA)

Acronym for resident assistant, no periods. Plural is RAs, or resident assistants.

Residential Life Coordinator (RLC)

An RLC is responsible for a set of residence hall buildings and the residents within. Use acronym, no periods; plural is RLCs.


Spring, summer, fall, and winter are never capitalized in prose, except when starting a sentence.


Used in conjunction with quotation marks, it is usually placed outside quotation marks.


Sculpture by Martin Puryear located to the west of Penn Hall. It was erected in 1982 to commemorate the College’s sesquicentennial anniversary.


Capitalize and abbreviate when part of someone’s name; do not separate by a comma (John Doe Sr.).

Study abroad

No hyphen

Sunderman Conservatory of Music

A Gettysburg College Distinctive Program. Sunderman is the hub for musical performances on campus, emphasizing active engagement with a broad range of musical experiences and sponsoring a full calendar of events—student and faculty recitals, ensemble performances, prominent visiting musicians, and special activities.


Titles before names are generally capitalized. (President Will, Gov. Rendell, Rabbi Levin, Queen Elizabeth, Trustee Bruce Gordon, etc.) Other less formal titles that are strictly occupational descriptions (class agent, reporter, etc.) are not capitalized even when they precede a name.

Before a name: Capitalize a title when it precedes a person’s name and is not set off by commas. (College Dean Julie Ramsey, Assistant Professor Nathalie Lebon, Associate Professor of History Timothy Shannon, President Janet Morgan Riggs). An exception: It was a speech by history professor John Jones. Here, “history professor” is simply an occupational descriptor, not a formal title; it is also vague as to academic status. When separated by a comma, do not capitalize the job title: The group presented it to the provost, Christopher Zappe.

After a name: Do not capitalize titles that are used as descriptive phrases and set off by commas (Robert Kallin, vice president for development, alumni and parent relations spoke; Janet Morgan Riggs, president of Gettysburg College, spoke). Exception: named professorships. (Laurence Marschall, W. K. T. Sahm Professor in Physics, spoke.)

Used in isolation: Without names attached, these words become generic nouns and should not be capitalized. (The president gave a speech.)

Invitations/special publications: short, formal blocks of copy may call for total disregard of the above-stated rules.

Composition titles: Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters, and capitalize articles and words of fewer than four letters if they are the first or last word in the title. Italicize titles of newspapers, magazines, and books (excluding reference works and the Bible), movies, TV programs, plays, epic poems, operas, albums, exhibit titles, and individual works of art. Use quotation marks around the titles of articles, chapters, lectures, movements, and dance pieces.

Official course titles: When talking about a specific class, capitalize it, but do not italicize it or place quotation marks around it. (Greek 203: Plato; Chemistry 216: Introduction to Forensic Science).


(See board of trustees.)

Twilight Walk

A tradition held in January that welcomes first-year students into alumni status. Capitalize onall references.

United States

Spell out except when using as a descriptor (U.S. companies; U.S. Department of Education).

Upperclass students

No hyphen with “upperclass.” The word “upper-class” implies wealth, not college standing.

Visiting professors and visiting instructors

Temporary hires for sabbatical replacements or occasional courses. This non-tenure-track designation can be combined with any rank (instructor, assistant professor, etc.).

Visiting scholars

International scholars who may be at the College to teach or to conduct research, often as part of an exchange program.


Do not capitalize.


One word; no capitalization.


Because this is a trademark name, use photocopy instead.

Years, plural

1970s or the ’70s (no possessive apostrophe).


Spell out.

ZIP code

Its acronym stands for Zoning Improvement Plan.