This guide is provided as a reference to be used when writing for the various publications of St. Mary’s University, including website content, advertising, posters, emails and more. If you have a question about something not addressed in this document, contact University Communications for assistance at 210-436-3327. Note that the University generally follows Associated Press (AP) style in its official communications, with exceptions noted here.
3 O’clock Prayer: When referring to the Marianist afternoon prayers, use the numeral 3 and capitalize the O and the P (not the c).
Adviser: Not advisor.
Alma Mater: Only capitalize when referring to the school song. When used as a reference to the college or university attended, it is not capitalized.
Alumni, alumnus, alumnae. EXAMPLES:
Ampersand: The ampersand should be used only when it is part of a company’s formal name. It should not be used in place of and. EXCEPTIONS: Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center and Barnes & Noble Bookstore at St. Mary’s University.
Annual: Events are not described as annual until they have been held at least two successive years. Do not use the term “first annual.” Instead, note that sponsors plan to hold an event annually, or use first or inaugural before the event name. Note: the word annual is not capitalized in the name of an event unless it is used in a headline. EXAMPLES:
Bandana: Bandana with one n, rather than bandanna.
Buildings and Campus Locations: On first reference, capitalize and spell out the names of buildings or locations on campus that are named after a person as a result of a gift. Others do not need to have the complete formal name on first reference unless needed for clarity. EXAMPLES:
Other tricky buildings or locations:
Class of: A designation for a person who attended St. Mary’s but did not receive a degree. John Smith (CL ’01) did not graduate. It can also refer to a current student’s cohort. Sue is a part of the Class of 2019.
Comma: No Oxford commas, unless needed for clarity.
Commencement: Do not use annual in the name of the event, or exercises. The 85th annual Commencement will be held on Saturday.
Company and law firm names: Use Co., Corp., Cos., Ltd. or Inc. when a business uses these words at the end of its proper name. Do not use a comma before these abbreviations. Spell out corporation or any of these other names when they occur elsewhere in the name. Always use the official name of a company, including its preferred punctuation, even in the case of law firms using PC, P.C., LLC or similar.
Course work. Two words.
Credit hour: Always use credit hour rather than hour. When a mention of credit hours is part of a sentence, follow the numeral rules (spell out 1-9, 10 and up are numerals). When used as part of a course listing or list, use numerals for all. Do not hyphenate unless it is a compound modifier, such as the 9-credit-hour program. EXAMPLES: I need nine credit hours to graduate. 9 credit hours.
Cutlines: Use parentheses for directions within cutlines, such as Jane Doe (from left), John Doe and Sally Doe. EXCEPTION: A list of names would start with From left: Jane Doe, John Doe and Sally Doe.
Dash: Use a long dash — an em dash — with spaces on each side of the em dash.
Days of the week: Spell out.
Degrees: Terminal or doctorate-level degrees are included on first reference. The degree is used after a name and set off with periods and commas. This applies to degrees such as Ph.D., J.D., D.B.A., D.Min., Ed.D., S.T.D. and similar. All other degrees (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) are only noted if the degrees were earned at St. Mary’s University.
Departments at St. Mary’s: Use “Department of _____” on first reference, then “_____ Department” on second reference. When referring to a program, lowercase “program” e.g. Biology program. Biology or Music or whatever can be used alone for informal purposes, such as under a logo on a T-shirt.
Doggy: Use doggy with a y rather than using an ie.
Emeritus, Emeriti, Emerita. An emeritus is a retired professor, administrator, such as dean or president, or member of the Board of Trustees who has been formally given the designation for outstanding service to the University. EXAMPLES:
Exclamation point: Should be avoided.
GPA: The abbreviation GPA for grade point average is acceptable in all references. Note that there are no periods between the letters.
Health care: Two words.
Hyphenated words: The word after the hyphen is capitalized only when it is in a header written in up-case or if it is part of a proper noun. EXAMPLES: The Pre-Law Program allows students to prepare for law school. It’s a good idea to enter a pre-law program to better prepare for law school. Also, hyphenate straight and consecutive as compound modifiers. For example, fifth-straight victory, third-consecutive year.
Invitation and Event Listings: The correct sequence is day, date, year, time, place. Note that within text, such as news releases, the year is not generally necessary.
Very Important Meeting
Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2017
3 to 4:30 p.m.
University Center, Conference Room A
Mass: Always capitalize when referring to a church service.
Months: When the month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out the rest. If both a month and date are being used in an invitation or program that would be considered formal, spell out the month. When the month is used alone, or with a year only, spell it out.
Schools of St. Mary’s University: The formal names of schools should be used and capitalized on first reference. If the school is used after first reference, it should be capitalized.
Semesters: Capitalize the seasons when referring to a specific semester with a year. For example, Fall 2017, Spring 2017 or Summer 2017. Otherwise, they are generally not capitalized.
St. Mary’s University: For St. Mary’s University, use the complete name on first reference. On second reference, it’s acceptable to use either St. Mary’s or the University. StMU is also acceptable, primarily for non-academic uses and athletics. Note that University is always capitalized when it refers to St. Mary’s University. When using St. Mary’s, avoid using it in a way that makes it seem possessive. Instead of: The event will be held on St. Mary’s campus. CORRECT: The event will be held on the St. Mary’s campus.
StMU: Note the t is lowercase and there is no period. Generally, not used on first reference or when referring to academic programs.
States: Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when used in the body of a story or when the state is standing alone. Do not use a state name for cities in Texas unless the state is required for clarification, such as Paris, Texas.
Suffix use: The use of junior or senior after a name should be abbreviated as Jr. and Sr. only with the full names of persons. Do not precede by a comma. The notations II or III follow the same rule.
Telephone numbers: Use 210-436-3327. Do not use parentheses around the area code, and do not use periods instead of hyphens.
The Pub at St. Mary’s: The “T” in The Pub should always be capitalized.
The Village at St. Mary’s. The “T” in The Village should always be capitalized. The Village refers to all residence halls to the south of Rattler Drive.
Theater: Use this spelling except in some proper names (Schubert Theatre). Note that the St. Mary’s theater program is StMU Theatre.
Time of day: Use figures except for noon and midnight. For whole hours, do not add the :00. If including an end time, use to between the times, rather than a hyphen or dash.
Titles of compositions: The following rules and examples apply to book titles, movie titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television programs and the titles of lectures, articles, speeches and works of art. Capitalize the principal words including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters. Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title. Generally, use italics instead of quotation marks. When listing a complete reference to a journal article, follow the professor’s preferred style. Newspapers should not be italicized, with the exception of The Rattler. It is italicized.
Titles: Religious, Military, Academic and Job Titles
Years: Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1800s. The use of ’90s (Note: the apostrophe is needed to indicate omitted numbers) is acceptable if the century is understood. Academic years are noted as 2017-2018. Generally, when listing a date with the day and month, the year is not needed if it is the current year.
All-American or All-America: Use All-American when referring specifically to an individual and use All-America when referring to the team.
Lady Rattlers: Avoid using “Lady” as a general rule. Only acceptable when differentiating between a sport that features a men’s and women’s team (example: the Lady Rattlers of women’s tennis).
Rattler Madness: Official name of St. Mary’s midnight madness equivalent to launching the start of basketball season. Always capitalize.
Student-athlete: Hyphenated when referring to a student who plays on a St. Mary’s University athletics team.
Team Names: When referring to St. Mary’s University athletics teams, capitalize the team name, even in cases where St. Mary’s, StMU or Rattler is implied. In the following example, “Women’s Tennis” is capitalized because Rong is a sensation on this team and at this level, but not among “women’s tennis” in general. EXAMPLES: