Print Style Guide

The Luther College Communications and Marketing Office implements the following style and usage guidelines in its publications, including the Luther Alumni Magazine, to maintain a uniform and consistent approach to language in Luther publications.

Feel free to contact publications office personnel for clarification or further information. 


Use complete names for all but the most common acronyms on first reference, followed by the acronym in parentheses; use acronym alone on second and further references (e.g., She worked for the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF); as a UNICEF representative, she served in Asia, Africa, and Europe).


Use Associated Press style for adviser in publications that will be read off campus. For on-campus only publications, advisor is acceptable

African American


  • “Alumni” refers to a group of graduates and/or attendees.
  • “Alumnus” refers to a male graduate.
  • “Alumna” refers to a female graduate.
  • “Alumnae” refers to a group of female graduates.
  • “Alum” is a chemical compound; don't use the term to refer to an alumnus or alumna.

alumna/alumnus name

A student's graduation year is listed after the name using just the the last two digits of the year most frequently  (e.g., Jane Smith ’70). Make sure the direction of the single quote mark points to what is missing—toward the 19 in 1970 in this case. To avoid confusion, graduates from 100 years ago or more are listed like this: John Doe, class of 1912. Note: if a student attended Luther but did not graduate, typically the year listed would be that in which the student would have graduated. Maiden names of married alumnae are listed in parentheses between the first name and married surname (e.g., Jane (Smith) Doe ’70).

alumni names (couple)

Alumni couples are typically listed with the woman's name first (with maiden name in parentheses) followed by the man's name (e.g, Jane (Smith) ’70 and John Doe ’71). There are many instances because of hyphenated names, same-sex marriages, etc. where this rule needs to be handled with flexibility. Note: The development office has its own rules for displaying lists of donors; these rules should be respected in their lists. In the example above, the development office might end up listing the couple as John ’71 and Jane (Smith) Doe ’70.


Avoid unless part of a proper name (e.g., track and field, but Decorah Bank & Trust)

athletics versus athletic

Use athletics when referring to the department, athletic when using to describe (e.g., she is an athletic person) 

awards and grants

Capitalize formal titles of awards, grants, and scholarships (e.g., Young Alumni Award, Iowa Tuition Grant, and Founders Scholarships). Lowercase cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.


Capitalize specific names, such as Student Conduct Board, Board of Regents. Lowercase board” when used without full name (e.g., “The board meets once a month”).

book names

Italicize, except the Bible

Note: short stories should appear with quotation marks and no italics.

Bible quotations

Use the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) or the NIV (New International Version) of the Bible when quoting verses in Luther publications; check with College Ministries.

buildings, spaces, and rooms

  • Ashmore-Jewell Barn
  • Baker Village
  • Baker Commons—use Shirley Baker Commons
  • Bell Green
  • Bentdahl Commons
  • Book Shop (two words, and not Book Store)
  • Borlaug Room (in Dahl Centennial Union)
  • Brandt Hall
  • Brunsdale Lounge (connects Miller and Dieseth halls)
  • Cafeteria (or “Dining Hall”)
  • Carlson Stadium
  • Center for the Arts (CFA)
  • Center for Faith and Life (CFL)
  • Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall (CRH)
  • College Farm
  • Dahl Centennial Union
  • Dieseth Hall
  • Dining Hall (or “Cafeteria")
  • Document Center (no longer “Print Shop")
  • Farwell Clearing (formerly “Library Lawn")
  • Farwell Hall
  • Farwell Lounge
  • Gjerset House
  • Hammarskjold Lounge (now part of Peace Dining Room)
  • Jenson-Noble Hall of Music (not “Jenson-Noble Music Hall,” the sign on one entry is incorrect)
  • Jewel Theatre (not “Jewell Theater,” in Center for Arts)
  • Koren (just “Koren”—no longer “Koren Library”)
  • Korsrud Annex
  • Korsrud Heating Plant
  • Larsen Hall
  • Legends Fitness Center (in Regents Center)
  • Lindeman Pond
  • Loyalty Hall
  • Mail Center/Student Post Office (SPO)
  • Main Building (use “Building" and capitalize it)
  • Main Clearing
  • Marty’s Cyber Café (or just “Marty’s”)
  • Miller Hall
  • Mostrom-Bahe Lobby (of Jenson-Noble Hall of Music)
  • Mott-Borlaug (the combined Mott and Borlaug rooms in Dahl Centennial Union)
  • Mott Room (in Dahl Centennial Union)
  • Nansen (in Dahl Centennial Union)
  • Nobel Room (in Dahl Centennial Union; not the “Noble Room”)
  • Noble Recital Hall (in Jenson-Noble Hall of Music)
  • Ockham House
  • Olin Building (Franklin W. Olin Building, not “F.W. Olin Building”)
  • Olson Hall
  • Peace Dining Room (in Dahl Centennial Union)
  • Preus Library
  • Regents Center (no apostrophe)
  • Roslien Woodlands
  • Sampson Hoffland Laboratories (no hyphen)
  • SRC (Sports and Recreation Center, in Regents Center)
  • Storre (no longer Storre Theatre)
  • Sunnyside Café (in the Center for the Arts)
  • Towers Residence Halls (refers to Miller and Dieseth halls)
  • Valders Hall of Science
  • Wigley-Fleming Gallery
  • Ylvisaker Hall

Center Stage Series (the college’s performing arts series in the CFL)

C.E. (Certificate in Education)

Luther granted these two-year teaching certificates in the 1950s.


Center for Ethics and Public Engagement; spell out on first reference

chair (not chairman)

Christmas at Luther concert (the college's holiday performance)

Italicize the title as such, Christmas at Luther.

city name abbreviations

St. instead of Saint, as in St. Paul; but Mount and Fort are spelled out


Use with a lower case “c” except after “Luther” (e.g., Luther College, the college); use “Luther College” to clarify if use of “college” is confusing in context.

comma in series

Use a comma in series (e.g. “candy, peanuts, and popcorn”; not “candy, peanuts and popcorn”).


Capitalize when referring to Luther's Commencement.


Capitalize specific names, such as Performing Arts Committee. Lowercase committee” when used without full name (e.g., “The committee selects an award winner”).

communication (not communications)

communication department, communication studies major


Capitalize this semiannual event but not the season modifier.


Capitalize specific names, such as Parents Council. Lowercase council when used without full name. (e.g., “The council includes seven members”).

course names

Capitalize (e.g., Ancient Philosophy)

dagger (†)

The dagger is frequently used to note that a person is deceased (e.g., John Doe†).


Dashes have different sizes and uses.

Use an en dash between numbers and dates (e.g., “January 24–February 2” or “1999–2004”). Also use an em dash to separate a place name from the university name in university system names (e.g., UW–Madison). But use a plain dash (or hyphen) between numbers in sports scores (e.g., “the Norse won 3-1”).

Use an em dash to separate major elements or phrase in a sentence (e.g., “the three women—Margaret, Elaine, and Jane—were great friends”).

Do not use spaces before or after dashes.


Use numerals only to refer to dates; don't add “-th” or “-st” or “-rd” (e.g., May 1, not May 1st; April 13, not April 13th; July 3, not July 3rd). When using a year with a date in text, use a comma between the date and year and a comma after the year also (e.g, “he was born May 12, 1987, in Oslo”). When only a month and year are given, do not use a comma (e.g., “he was born in May 1987”).


When referring to decades, capitalize the first letter, e.g, “Fifties,” “Sixties.” When using numerals, use an apostrophe in front (to indicate the missing centuries digits) and add “s” at the end—’50s, ’60s—or use the century digits—1950s, 1960s. Not “fifties,” “50's,” or “1960's.”


Use lowercase letters for academic degrees in text, e.g., bachelor of arts, juris doctor, master's degree, etc. Use uppercase without periods in abbreviations (e.g., BA, MA, MBA, MFA, PhD), per Chicago Manual of Style


Capitalize (e.g., Music Department, Athletic Department)


Use the title “Doctor” only for medical doctors; use “Ph.D.” after names of holders of other doctorates.

dollar figures

Use the dollar sign and numerals when referencing dollar figures; for figures of a million dollars or more, spell out dollars

Dunning’s Spring (with apostrophe, singular ”spring")

email (not e-mail)

emerita, emeriti, emeritus

These titles are often given to retired faculty, as in “professor emerita of history.” Emerita is the feminine form for women; emeritus is the masculine form for men; emeriti is the plural form. Use directly after the title, not before the title or after the discipline (“professor emeritus of biology,” not “emeritus professor of biology” nor “professor of biology emeritus”).

film names


first-year student (not freshman)

Geographical designations

Lowercase geographical designations unless capitalized in common usage (e.g., northeast Iowa, city of Decorah, but the East Coast, Southeast Asia).

graduation year (also see “alumna/alumnus name”)

A student's graduation year is listed after the name with just the the last two digits of the year most frequently; e.g., Jane Doe ’70. (Make sure the direction of the single quote mark points to what is missing—toward the 19 in 1970 in this case.) To avoid confusion, graduates from 100 years ago or more are listed like this—John Doe, class of 1912. Note: if a student attended Luther but did not graduate, typically the year listed would be that in which the student would have graduated.

Greek organizations

Capitalize the name of the organization, but not the words sorority, fraternity, or society (e.g., Phi Beta Kappa honor society, Alpha Beta Psi sorority).


Capitalize when standing alone in reference to Luther’s Homecoming.


Foreign words: italicize only if not listed in the main section of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Works of art, titles: Follow Chicago Manual of Style

January Term (or J-term, especially as an adjective)

job titles

Job titles should be lowercased and preferably should follow, not precede, a name (e.g., Jane Doe, assistant dean and professor of music; not assistant dean and professor of music Jane Doe).


Lectures and Fine Arts; spell out on first reference.

lecture names

Capitalize and put in double quotation marks, e.g., “Research in Animal Cognition as an Example of Studying in the ‘Other’: What It Can Teach Us about Animals and about Ourselves.” Do not capitalize articles and do not capitalize prepositions unless they are used as an adjective or adverb (“How to Turn On the Machine” but “Leave the Keys on the Table”).

list punctuation

Make structure of list items parallelif one bullet item is a complete sentence, all should be full sentences with periods. If bullet items are not sentences, then there should be no punctuation at the end of each item and no punctuation at the end of the list.

magazines and newspapers


majors, minors

Lowercase the names of majors and minors unless they are proper nouns (e.g., a biology major, a minor in physics; an English major, a minor in Spanish).

mission statement

Luther College Mission Statement; Luther's mission statement, the mission statement

music ensembles (use names as listed)


  • Aurora
  • Cantorei
  • Cathedral Choir
  • Collegiate Chorale
  • Collegium Musicum
  • Nordic Choir
  • Norskkor


  • Brass Ensembles
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Jazz Orchestra
  • Philharmonia
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Varsity Band
  • Wind and Percussion Ensemble


Use “noon” or “12:00 noon” to avoid confusion regarding “12:00 a.m./p.m.”


Spell out numbers from one to nine; use numerals for numbers 10 and above. (But you may say “a hundred” or “a thousand” when referring to a quantity rather than a number.) Similarly, spell out “first” through “ninth,” but use the construction as in “10th” for ordinal numbers beyond “ninth.”

online (one word, not hyphenated)

Oneota Valley

The Upper Iowa River flows through the Oneota Valley.

Paideia (just upper case “P,” not whole word)

Paideia program (don't capitalize the “p” in “program”

Phelps Park (no apostrophe)


Per the Chicago Manual of Style, compounds formed with prefixes are normally closed, such as antebellum, nonviolent, midcareer, prewar. But use a hyphen before a capitalized word (pre-Columbian), before a compound term (non-self-sustaining), and to separate two i’s, two a’s, and other combinations of letters that could cause the word to be misread. When in doubt, refer to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.


Use the “å” character if available; if not, double the “a”—“Presidentsraad.”

Program names

Capitalize (e.g., Earth and Environment in Italy). But note that the word program is often not a part of the formal name, so Earth and Environment in Italy program.

Registered nurse

Lower case in running text (Jayme is a registered nurse) and no periods in abbreviation, RN, per Chicago Manual of Style

Residence halls

Use residence halls, not dorms or dormitories.

spaces (in sentences)

Use only one space after periods and colons when entering text in sentences; most (if not all) software uses proportional spacing.

state names and abbreviations

In text, use the complete names of states. When used with the name of a city, town, village, or military base, use the state abbreviations listed below from the AP Style Guide; DO NOT USE THE POSTAL CODES. Note that eight states, including Iowa, are not abbreviated. In addresses with zip codes, use the two-letter postal service codes (e.g, IA, MN, WI).

Alabama Ala. AL
Alaska do not abbreviate AK
Arizona Ariz. AZ
Arkansas Ark. AR
California Calif. CA
Colorado Colo. CO
Connecticut Conn. CT
Delaware Del. DE
District of Columbia D.C. DC
Florida Fla. FL
Georgia Ga. GA
Hawaii do not abbreviate HI
Idaho do not abbreviate ID
Illinois Ill. IL
Indiana Ind. IN
Iowa do not abbreviate IA
Kansas Kan. KS
Kentucky Ky. KY
Louisiana La. LA
Maine do not abbreviate ME
Maryland Md. MD
Massachusetts Mass. MA
Michigan Mich. MI
Minnesota Minn. MN
Mississippi Miss. MS
Missouri Mo. MO
Montana Mont. MT
Nebraska Neb. NE
Nevada Nev. NV
New Hampshire N.H. NH
New Jersey N.J. NJ
New Mexico N.M. NM
New York N.Y. NY
North Carolina N.C. NC
North Dakota N.D. ND
Ohio do not abbreviate OH
Oklahoma Okla. OK
Oregon Ore. OR
Pennsylvania Pa. PA
Rhode Island R.I. RI
South Carolina S.C. SC
South Dakota S.D. SD
Tennessee Tenn. TN
Texas do not abbreviate TX
Utah do not abbreviate UT
Vermont Vt. VT
Virginia Va. VA
Washington Wash. WA
West Virginia W.V. WV
Wisconsin Wis. WI
Wyoming Wyo. WY

telephone numbers

Set off area codes and 800 numbers with parentheses. Do not start telephone numbers with a 1.


Don’t capitalize “the” when used in text as part of a name, e.g., “the team defeated the University of Northern Iowa squad,” not “defeated The University of Northern Iowa squad.”


The “-re” spelling is used for Luther's theatre department, theatre major, and Jewel Theatre.


Use this style of format: 7 a.m., unless listing times in a column or table and they need to line up. Then, 7:00 a.m. more easily lines up with times such as 10:30 a.m. (See entry for noon also.)

Ultimate Frisbee

Capitalize both words in the name because Frisbee is a trademark.

U.S./United States

Use “United States” as a noun; “US” may be used as an adjective.

URLs (web addresses)

Use “http://” or “https://” only if a web address does not begin with “www.”

web (for World Wide Web, lowercase)

website (one word, not web site)

work study / work-study

When used as an adjective preceding the noun it modifies, "work-study" is hyphenated. Thus, “a work-study student,” “a work-study program,” “a work-study experience.” In all other cases, the phrase is left open, not hyphenated.

years, range of

In the second element of a range of years, don't repeat the first two digits if they are the same as the first two digits in the first element (e.g., “1900–24,” not “1900–1924”; but “1999–2008”).