Editorial Style Guide

General Rules

Use Chicago Manual of Style, with noted exceptions; AP Style for press releases.

Do not abbreviate “Saint” when referring to Saint Mary’s College.

  • Exception: Address is 1928 St. Mary’s Road

In publications to an outside audience, use Saint Mary’s College of California on first reference; in Saint Mary’s magazine, using “of California” is unnecessary.

  • SMC is acceptable on second reference.

President’s title: Use full formal name without middle initial in outward-facing publications like the magazine and press releases. E.g.: President James Donahue. We do not use PhD after his name except for specific faculty affairs. For example, for materials related to the Academic Convocation. For internal publications like the Campus Bulletin, it is OK to use President Jim Donahue.

Do not abbreviate “Brother” when referring to a specific Christian Brother.

  • Correct: Brother Michael Murphy; also, Father David.

FSC is not necessary in every reference. For example, it does not need to be used in the body of stories. It may be used in names that stand alone in photo captions or pull quotes

  • Example: Brother Camillus Chavez worked with Fargo on meditation techniques.
  • Photo caption: Brother Ronald Gallagher, FSC
  • Do not use periods with FSC

Do not capitalize “s” in Lasallian.

Use following capitalization/lower-case scheme:

  • Saint John Baptist de La Salle was the founder of Christian Brothers
  • De La Salle when it stands alone.
  • De La Salle Institute

Capitalize names of campus buildings. Following are some notable names:

  • LeFevre Theatre
  • McKeon Pavilion
  • St. Albert Library
  • St. Catherine of Siena Hall
  • St. Joseph Hall
  • Becket Hall
  • Saint Mary's College Museum of Art (the museum on subsequent references)
  • Filippi Academic Hall (houses Kalmanovitz School of Education)
  • Brousseau Hall
  • Soda Center is acceptable on all references

Capitalize College when referring to SMC, even when it stands alone.
Capitalize Chapel even when it stands alone.

Editorial Writing Style Rules

These are style rules for frequently used or misused terms common in this academic institution that should be followed in campus publications. For issues not addressed here, refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for publications, including the web.

Academic Degrees

  • Periods should not be used when abbreviating degree, i.e. BA, PhD – no spaces; when spelled out, proper form is Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, use apostrophes in constructions such as bachelor’s degree, master’s degree (always lower case in that usage). When plural, do not use apostrophes, i.e. PhDs or MEds
  • Honors: lowercase cum laude, magna cum laude, summa
  • For multiple degrees, use comma between degrees, i.e. John Smith ’97, MA ’99

Alma mater

  • Lower case alma mater

Alumna; alumnae; alumnus; alumni

  • Female and male, respectively

Board of Trustees; Alumni Association and Regents

  • Capitalize Board of Trustees or Board of Regents in all references, capitalize Trustee and Regent when they appear as a title before a name, lowercase when they stand alone or follow names.
  • Capitalize Alumni Association, Alumni Board of Directors, and Alumni Relations Office.

Book and Other Titles

  • Refer to Chicago Manual of Style. (We usually italicize most titles like books, movies, and plays. Quotation marks for speeches.)


  • Use official name of campus facilities, capitalizing the name, in formal communications. On second reference, “hall” may be dropped, e.g., Dante or Galileo.


  • Collegiate Seminar, Seminar, the Program (for Integral Program second reference. Do not capitalize the)

Classes and Courses

  • Use lower case referring to class, unless you use the specific name.
    Examples: He is taking Art 1 and Greek Thought. They met during a psychology class.

Compound Adjectives

  • When a compound modifier—two or more words expressing a single concept—precedes a noun, use hyphens to link the words in the compound except any adverbs ending in –ly.
    Examples: A first-quarter touchdown; a know-it-all attitude. A very good year; easily remembered rule.
  • In most cases, compound adjectives are not hyphenated when they appear after a noun. However, if they follow a to be verb, they do retain a hyphen.
    Examples: She works full time; the team scored in the first quarter.
    He was soft-spoken; she is well-known. 

Defining the Future: The Campaign for Saint Mary's (ital after colon) 

Defining the Future: The Campaign for Saint Mary's will define the lives of current and future Gaels by ensuring that Lasallian intellectual, spiritual, and social values are always part of this exceptional university education. Current fundraising campaign. Also, the Campaign. https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/defining-the-future


  • Except for languages (English, Latin), names of academic disciplines are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized.
    Examples: He is a music major. She has a BA in biology.
  • Alumni with SMC bachelor’s degrees are listed with the year of their graduation, with a backward apostrophe.
    Example: Mary Martin ’06
  • If alum also has a master’s from SMC, add it after undergrad degree.
    Example: Mary Martin ’98, MBA ’06.
  • Brothers' degrees follow the same rules.
    Example: Brother Ronald Gallagher '69 or, more formally, Brother Ronald Gallagher, FSC, '69.

        Key for graduate degrees in Gael Glimpses

  • EdD — Doctor of Education
  • ECR — Education Credential
  • EE — Extended Education
  • EMBA — Executive MBA
  • HON — Honorary
  • MBA — Graduate Business
  • ME — Graduate Education
  • MBA — Graduate Business
  • MC — Counseling
  • ME — Graduate Education
  • MFA — Fine Arts
  • ML — Leadership
  • MLS — Graduate Liberal Studies
  • MS — Science
  • N — Nursing
  • P — Paralegal Certificate
  • For graduate degrees put space between M and year
    Example: John Jones M ’98


  • African American, Latino, Hispanic, Caucasian are capitalized; white and black are not.
  • African American and other compounds relating to nationality or geography are not hyphenated, as either proper nouns or adjectives, unless between is implied, as in African-American relations.

First-generation: hyphenate when used as a modifier. E.g., he is a first-generation college student.

Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, first year

  • Not capitalized. Try to use first-year student instead of freshman.

Junior, Jr.

  • No comma before Jr. Martin Luther King Jr.


  • Spell out numbers one through nine, use numerals 10 and above. (Except for ages, which are always numerals: their sons John, 6, and Joe, 2.)
  • Use commas in numbers above 999: 1,000, 100,000, etc.
  • Abbreviate longer numbers, e.g. $1.2 million
  • Percentages always are expressed as numerals, i.e. 3 percent or 56 percent

Offices, Departments and Programs

  • Capitalize only when the full, official name is used: Alumni Relations Office, Center for Women & Gender Equity

  • Do not capitalize shortened form: president’s office, alumni office
  • Capitalize names of specific programs or schools: Collegiate Seminar, Great Books program, Graduate Liberal Studies Program, etc.

Religious Terms

  • The word Mass is capitalized. But mission is lowercased unless it's the Office of Mission and Ministry. 

Saint Mary's magazine

  • Lowercase "m" in magazine except for in footer, which uses boldface for Saint Mary's.


  • Do not capitalize spring, summer, fall and winter.


  • The word sesquicentennial is not capitalized unless it is part of an event, such as the Sesquicentennial Mass. For instance, in "as we celebrate our sesquicentennial," it is not capitalized.


  • Spell out names of U.S. states when they stand alone. Eight states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. For Gael Glimpse purposes, state names are not necessary with well-known cities such as Chicago, Seattle, etc., or with names of non-obscure cities in California. Obscure cities in California should be followed by a county name.
    Example: Mary Jones is an accountant, and lives in Harris, Humboldt County.
  • Use AP style, not postal abbreviations, in abbreviating the other 42 states when they are used with a city name.
    Example: John Smith ’92 lives in Billings, Mont., with his wife, Julie, and their three children.

Telephone Numbers

  • Use parentheses around area codes. Abbreviate extensions when providing one.
    Example: (925) 631- 4800
    Ext. 4896


  • Use past tense. "It's beautiful here," said President James Donahue.


  • Use periods in a.m. and p.m. Do not use 00, but do use :30, :15, etc, in listings.
    Examples: 8 a.m., 9:30 p.m.


  • Capitalize titles when they precede a name; do not capitalize them when they follow a name or are used generally.
  • Examples: President James Donahue.
  • James Donahue has been the SMC president since 2013.
  • Capitalize Professor only when it directly precedes a name and when it is part of the full title for an endowed professorship.
    The science course was taught by Professor Carla Bossard.
    Carla Bossard is a professor at Saint Mary's.
  • The title Dr. is used only for those who hold an MD; use professor for teachers, including those who hold a PhD. For doctor, use Jane Smith, M.D. No Dr. on second reference.
  • Speeches and lectures take "/"

Web Issues

  • Website one word, web is lower-case. Chicago Manual of Style now prefers web, website, web page, and so forth—with a lowercase w. Capitalize Internet. Do capitalize World Wide Web.
  • Do not italicize web URLs
  • URLs should not contain https: or http: or www. So stmarys-ca.edu not www.stmarys-ca.edu.


  • Capitalize varietals, e.g., Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, French Colombard.

Women's Resource Center Is Now: Center for Women and Gender Equity


Punctuation Style Guide

  • Use commas to separate elements in a series (the serial comma).
    Example: The flag is red, white, and blue. He would nominate Tom, Dick, or Mary.
  • A comma should be used in a complex series, for instance when a series of phrases and not words are used
    Example: The points to consider are whether the athletes are skillful enough to compete, whether they have the stamina to endure the training, and whether they have the proper mental attitude.
  • A comma should precede a spouse’s name.
    Example: Mary Smith and her husband, John, live in Seattle.
  • Commas should be dropped from names with suffixes.
    Example: James Madison Jr.


  • Use em-dashes (a long dash) to denote abrupt change in sentence or for emphasis. Do not put a space on either side of the em-dash.
    Example: He recalls taking groups on trips—car camping during spring break, rock climbing in the Sierra, and backpacking in the Trinity Alps.
  • Use en-dash between number series, for instance 1982-1984


  • Use an ellipsis…for deleted text. Do not put a space on either side.


  • Use a backward apostrophe ’ before a shortened year or era: ’99, ’60s. In Word on a Mac use keyboard shortcut:  option shift ] and on a PC press CTRL FN apostrophe all simultaneously, then press apostrophe by itself.
    Example: He went to college in the 1990s.


Commonly Used Terms (A–Z)




Campaign: cap when referring to Defining the Future: The Campaign for Saint Marys (after the : is all ital)

Center for Women and Gender Equity

Claeys Lounge



Defining the Future: The Campaign for Saint Mary's

De La Salle Ferroggiaro





health care

the Honorable

Jan Term


Lasallian Family

LeFevre Theatre

Martin Luther King Jr.



Saint John Baptist de La Salle; De La Salle when standing alone