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The Toolkit is managed by the Office of University Communications & Marketing. Unless otherwise listed in the toolkit, please contact the general office for any questions or additional information.

Office of University Communications & Marketing
1229 25th St.
Des Moines, IA 50311-4505

P: 515-271-2169
F: 515-271-3789

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Editorial Guidelines

Drake University editorial guidelines ensure consistent and uniform application of language style and use in University communications. Information in Drake publications should be accurate, clear, and concise. It should also be presented consistently to reinforce brand, maintain trust and credibility among readers, and keep individuals focused on the content of the information or message. While created for the use of textual copy, the guide should also be used as a point of reference for other applications, including layout and design for publications (both print and Web), public relations efforts, and social media.

The guidelines were developed by comparing multiple sources and looking for areas of agreement, including The Associated Press Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition), along with several other college and university editorial standards guides. In cases without an existing standard, past practice was examined. The Office of University Communications and Marketing also conferred with and sought the advice of several members of the campus community.

The editorial guidelines are based primarily on The Associated Press Stylebook; however, there are instances in which the needs of the University dictate exceptions to these rules, and Drake's Editorial Standards supersedes AP. When referencing the dictionary (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, is recommended), the first spelling listed should be used.

The Office of University Communications and Marketing recognizes that language style and use are subjective and personal and may vary greatly depending on audience and the medium for which text is being written.

The Office of University Communications and Marketing reserves the right to make changes not reflected in Drake University editorial guidelines if the changes will enhance readability.

First reference: Drake University.
Subsequent references: Drake or the University.

The official mailing address is:
2507 University Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50311-4505

Note: Traditional practice is to spell out Avenue and Iowa when used on printed stationery.


Days of the Week
Never abbreviate in prose.

Junior and senior (Jr. and Sr.)
Abbreviate junior and senior as Jr. and Sr. when using full names of individuals. Do not break up the name by preceding it with a comma. The same is true for such references as III or IV in a person’s name.

John A. Doe Jr.
John A. Doe III

Abbreviate according to AP style

Spell out the names of the 50 states and the District of Columbia when they stand alone. When states are used in conjunction with a city, a town, a country, a military base, etc., the state name should be abbreviated. However, eight states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.

Alabama Ala.
Arizona Ariz.
Arkansas Ark.
California Calif.
Colorado Colo.
Connecticut Conn.
Delaware Del.
Washington, D.C. D.C.
Florida Fla.
Georgia Ga.
Illinois Ill.
Indiana Ind.
Kansas Kan.
Kentucky Ky.
Louisiana La.
Maryland Md.
Massachusetts Mass.
Michigan Mich.
Minnesota Minn.
Mississippi Miss.
Missouri Mo.
Montana Mont.
Nebraska Neb.
Nevada Nev.
New Hampshire N.H.
New Jersey N.J.
New Mexico N.M.
New York N.Y.
North Carolina N.C.
North Dakota N.D.
Oklahoma Okla.
Oregon Ore.
Pennsylvania Pa.
Rhode Island R.I.
South Carolina S.C.
South Dakota S.D.
Tennessee Tenn.
Vermont Vt.
Virginia Va.
Washington Wash.
West Virginia W.Va.
Wisconsin Wis.
Wyoming Wyo.

Note: In prose, state names should always be spelled out.

Academic References

Academic degrees
Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. Also: associate degree, rather than associates or associate’s degree, and doctorate, not doctoral degree. Capitalize the names of academic degrees but not the discipline or a major, minor, concentration or field of study. Examples: Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Master of Fine Arts degree with a major in studio, Doctor of Philosophy with a major in business administration and a concentration in financial planning. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in geography. Do not capitalize incomplete names of academic degrees. Examples: She has a master’s degree in business administration. He has a bachelor’s degree in geography. Use lowercase and spell out degrees mentioned in text: associate degree, bachelor's degree, baccalaureate, master's degree, doctorate, doctoral degree. 

Academic year
When referring to the academic year, fall semester, spring semester, and summer session are uppercase.

When referring to first-, second-, and third-year PharmD students, use P1, P2, P3 (Plural: P1s, P2s, P3s), respectively.

When referring to first-, second-, and third-year, Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) students, use O1, O2, O3 (Plural: O1s, O2s, O3s), respectively.

When referring to first-, second-, and third-year Law students, use 1L, 2L, 3L (Plural: 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls), respectively.

Course numbers
Leave a space between the course subject and its number.

JMC 104

Course titles
Use lowercase for academic subjects, majors, minors, concentrations and courses of study—except in cases that include a proper noun (e.g., English language).

Terms and usage: The preferred form avoids abbreviation and instead uses a phrase. When abbreviation of academic degrees is necessary, uppercase (with expections noted below) do not use periods.

Bachelor of Arts BA
Bachelor of Science BS
Bachelor of Science in Education BSE
Doctor of Education EdD
Doctor of Pharmacy PharmD
Doctor of Philosophy PhD
Juris Doctor JD
Master of Arts MA
Master of Business Administration MBA
Master of Education MEd
Master of Jurisprudence MJ
Master of Laws LLM
Master of Public Administration MPA

Master of Science

Occupational Therapy Doctorate



Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. Also: an associate degree (no possessive), a doctorate (preferred over doctoral degree).

Honorary degrees, Abbreviate and capitalize Honorary, followed by the degree as abbreviated above. Plus the examples below:

humanities Hon.DH
law Hon. LLD


fine arts






Lowercase majors, unless a proper noun, ie. English

List of common academic terms and how they should be used:

Advanced Placement
associate degree (no possessive)
bachelor’s degree
Campus Master Plan
certificate programs: Proper names are capitalized, including Certificate
    e.g., The Criminal Law Certificate program is designed to prepare students
            Drake University  now offers a certificate in Online Teaching Pedagogy
coeducational (not co-ed)
cooperative, co-op (not coop)
credit hour
cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude
curriculum (singular), curricula (plural)
curriculum vita (singular), curricula vitae (plural), vita (informal)
Deans Council (no possessive)
Dean’s List
doctorate (preferred over doctoral degree)
Drake Curriculum
The Drake University Endowment, The Endowment
Endorsement programs: Proper names are capitalized, including Endorsement
     e.g., The Early Childhood Endorsement program prepares individuals to teach.
            Some students choose to pursue an endorsement early in childhood
first-year student (not freshman)
fundraising, fundraiser
grade point average (GPA, acronym acceptable on first reference)
Honors Track
master’s degree
Mission Statement
President’s Council
President’s List
Strategic Plan


Aliber Hall
Alumni House
American Republic Health Center
Bell Center, Hill M. (see listing under H)
Black Cultural Center
Branson Plaza
Buel Softball Field
Carnegie Hall
Carpenter Residence Hall
Cartwright Hall
CAYA House
Cline Hall of Pharmacy and Science
Cole Hall
Coleman Theatre (formely Studio 55)
Collier-Scripps Hall
Cowles Library
Crawford Residence Hall
Dial Center for Computer Sciences
Drake Hillel
Drake Plaza
Drake Stadium
Drake University Archives
Drake West Village
Engaged Citizens House
Field House
Fitch Hall
Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall
Harmon Fine Arts Center
Harvey Ingham Hall
Helmick Commons
Helmick Courtyard
Herriott Residence Hall
Hispanic Cultural Center (La Casa)
Hill M. Bell Center
Howard Hall
Hubbell Dining Hall
Jewett Residence Hall
Kinne Alumni and Development Center
Kinne Center West
The Knapp Center
Kragie Newell Agora
Lane Plaza
Levitt Hall
McCoy Apartments
Medbury Hall
Meredith Hall
Morehouse Residence Hall
Neal and Bea Smith Law Center (which is home to the Drake Legal Clinic)
Newman Center/St. Catherine of Siena
Norman Apartments
Old Main
Olin Hall
Olmsted Center
Opperman Hall
Opperman Law Library
Oreon Scott Chapel
Parents Hall
Patty and Fred Turner Jazz Center
Pioneer Greenhouse
The Point (Human Resources, Drake International)
President’s Home
Principal Plaza
Quad Creek
Quad Creek Café
The Richard and Lila Sussman Theater or Sussman Theater (formally Bulldog Theater)
Roger Knapp Tennis Center
Ross Residence Hall
School of Education
Sheslow Auditorium
The Shivers Basketball Practice Facility
Stalnaker Residence Hall
STEM@DRAKE complex (always all uppercase; lowercase “t” in “the” unless it begins a sentence); the complex refers to a collection of physical buildings/space.
   >Includes two new buildings: 1) Collier-Scripps Hall (formerly the SOE/Mathematics & Computer Science building, 2) the Science Connector building
   >See also STEM@DRAKE.
Studio Arts Hall
University Book Store
University Counseling Center
Wells Fargo Financial Reflecting Pool
Wesley House
Wifvat Plaza


Academic majors and minors
Lowercase all references to majors, minors, emphases, concentrations, and programs, unless the name of the major is one that is capitalized in all uses, such as a language or country.

She is a history major with minors in English and Latin American studies.

Art exhibits
Title case should be used for names of art exhibits

Board of trustees

Capitalize when full name of the board is used and when referring to official board.

She was elected to the Drake University Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees recently elected a new chair and two new members.

Class years
General reference: Class of 2011

Course titles
Capitalize initial letters of major words in course titles.

She plans to take Communications Law and Ethics.

Drake University and affiliated organizations
Capitalize University when using it in reference to Drake. Capitalize references to specific Drake University boards, committees, centers, and associations.

Drake University Board of Trustees
Drake University National Alumni Association
The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship

Use the full, official name the first time it appears in copy. In subsequent references, the shorted form of the name is lowercased, with th Board being the exception:

the Board
the center

 NOTE: The Board and Drake University are the exception to this rule. When using the shortened name—the University—always use an uppercase "U."

Dates and Periods of Time

Day, date, and year
When a phrase lists only a month and year, do not separate the year with commas.

August 2011

When a phrase refers to a month, day, and a year, set off the year with commas.

His graduation announcement said that May 13, 2012, is when the ceremony will take place.

When referencing the year alone, always use figures. In text, use cardinal numbers only.

Drake University was founded in 1881.

Do not use ordinal numbers.

May 31, not May 31st

No apostrophe necessary to form the plural.


If the reference to the century is omitted, the apostrophe should curve to the left. (The bottom part of the apostrophe’s curl should point toward what is missing.)


Lowercase the word century and spell out numbers less than ten.

the first century
the 20th century

For proper names, follow the organization’s practice.

20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fund

Ordinal indicators do not use superscripts.
20th century, not 20th century

Season and year
Do not separate a season and a year by a comma. The name of the season should be capitalized when referencing academic semesters or issues of Blue or eBlue

She took the class during the Fall 2011 semester.
She traveled to China in fall 2012.

Span of years
Include all four digits of each year listed with an en dash in between when an adjective.
2016–2017 season

Other uses indicating time frame can use "from" and "to" OR "between" and "and" but never a combination of these

From 2012 to 2017
Between 2012 and 2017

Fiscal Year

Spell out using initial caps on first reference in copy (e.g., Fiscal Year 2010); subsequent references may be abbreviated (e.g., FY 2010, with a space separating letters and numbers).


Agricultural Law Center
Buchanan Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership
Center for the Humanities
Constitutional Law Center
Department of Public Safety
Information Technology Services (formerly OIT and DTS)
Drake International
Center for Professional Studies
Executive Education Center
Facilities Planning & Management
The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement (also appears as The Harkin Institute, the Institute)
Honors Program
Intellectual Property Law Center
Kelley Continuing Education Programs
Joan & Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights (also appears as Middleton Center for Children’s Rights, Middleton Center)
National Rehabilitation Institute
Neal & Bea Smith Law Center
David J. Noble—American Equity Center
Legislative Practice Center
Office for Sexual Violence Response and Healthy Relationship Promotion
Office of Admission
Office of Community Engaged Learning & Service
Office of Finance & Administration
Office of Student Financial Planning
Office of Student Inclusion, Involvement, & Leadership
Office of Student Records and Academic Information
Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship Outreach
Professional Career and Development Services
The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center
The Roland and Mary Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (also appears as Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs)
Student Disability Services
Student Services Center
The Wells Fargo Career and Professional Development Center


Formatting vertical lists

Use bullets when the order of the items doesn’t matter. Consider listing items alphabetically or in some other way that seems to make sense.

Use numbers when items in the list follow a specific sequence.

Consider using letters when you’re implying that a reader needs to choose individual items or when items don’t need to follow a specific sequence, but they will be referred to later.

If the list item is a complete sentence, initial capitalize the first word of the statement. If it is not a complete sentence, it is preferred to capitalize the first letter of the first word in the phrase.

Comma/Semicolon use
Don’t put commas or semicolons after items. And don’t put a conjunction such as and before the last item. Exception: proclamation text.

Be sure list items are parallel. Each item should be structured the same way. All should be complete sentences or all should be fragments. If one starts with a verb, start each item with a verb.

If list items are single words or sentence fragments, it is preferred not to use periods after single words or sentence fragments.

Non-discriminatory Language

Use language that treats the sexes equally and that is free of assumptions and stereotypes.

the best candidate (or person) for the position
Each student is expected to choose a major.
you and your spouse or guest

Proper terminology:
businessperson or business executive
humanity or humankind

Disabled, handicapped, impaired
In general, do not refer an individual as disabled or handicapped, unless clearly pertinent to the text. If a description must be used, be as specific as possible. Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with or suffers from.

Sexual orientation
The word gay is used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual.


Use brackets within quoted text for corrections, explanations, translations, or comments. Use parentheses like commas or dashes for text within a sentence that amplifies, explains, directs, or digresses.

Use the serial comma: the comma that comes before the final conjunction in a list.

Capitalize the first word following a colon if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence. Can also be used to give emphasis to a portion of text.

Colons in lists
Use a colon at the end of a sentence to introduce lists.

Do not use a hyphen in place of a dash: A hyphen has it’s own separate use. Use a dash to denote an abrupt change in thought or as a point of emphasis. May also be used when a phrase that otherwise would be set off by commas contains a series of words that must be separated by commas.

Em dash (—)
Em dash is longer than an en dash. Do not put a space before or after the em dash.

En dash (–)
Used much less frequently than the em dash. Should only be used to indicate a range of inclusive numbers and spans of time and years. Do not put a space before or after the en dash.

Ellipsis (…)
Treat as a three-letter word, constructed with three periods and two spaces–one before and one after the periods.

Use to indicate the deletion of one or more words in condensing quotes, texts and documents. Avoid deletions that would distort the meaning of the quote. The ellipsis may sometimes be used to indicate an incomplete thought.

exclamation point
Adds emphasis and indicates strong emotion. Use sparingly.

hyphen (-)
Hyphenate adverbs or compound adjectives. In general do not hyphenate phrases including an –ly term.

President Marty Martin

In all materials created post-inauguration, use President Marty Martin as the president's name. Do not use "Earl" or "Earl F." unless directed by the president.  


Lowercase an individual’s title except when it precedes his or her name. In text it is preferable for the title to follow the name, and, therefore, the title would not be capitalized. Exception: Capitalize the titles of endowed positions in academic and other professional areas when they appear after a name. In addition, precede the named professorships and endowed positions with “the.”

Melissa Sturm-Smith, associate dean of students
Maria Valdovinos, associate professor of psychology
Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays
Catherine M. Staub, the Peggy Fisher and Larry Stelter Chair of Magazine Journalism

Exception: Capitalize titles if the follow the name in a tabular format

For those individuals who have multiple roles and titles, list their position as professor first. Use full and complete titles, unless space restrictions make it impossible to do so. And then choose the title that best fits the text and audience.

Renae Chesnut, professor of pharmacy practice and associate dean for student affairs

Note: Never drop the word assistant or associate when it precedes professor. There is a hierarchy in the positions.

Courtesy titles
In general, do not use Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. before a name; however, on first reference, use Dr. for individuals who have obtained a medical degree. University Professors and administrators who have earned a doctorate are not referred to as Dr. For more information, see The Associated Press Stylebook entry for “doctor.”


Always use figures, except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. this morning or 5 p.m. Tuesday evening. Time listings with a.m. and p.m. (lowercase with periods) is preferred. Do not use the construction 2 o’clock. When applicable, times should be written out without the colon and the ciphers (double zeros).

The lecture begins at 7 p.m.
My class is Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

When listing a beginning and ending time separated only by the word “to” or when listing a series of times when all times listed are a.m. or p.m., use “a.m.” or “p.m.” only once.

The meeting will be held from 8 to 11 a.m.

a.m., p.m.
Lowercase and use with periods.
Exception: When capital letters are used for design purposes (AM, PM). Most often this usage is seen in invitations, schedules, and event programs.

Do not capitalize. Never use “12 midnight.”

Do not capitalize. Never use “12 noon.”

office hours
Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

tabular format
Use en dash in place of “to.”

Word List (including tricky names and titles)

3+3 program
50-Year Club
ACT (acceptable on first reference)
Advanced Placement
afterward (not afterwards)
African American
alma mater
a.m. (not am or A.M.)
America’s Athletic Classic (in reference to the Drake Relays)
associate degree (no possessive)
bachelor’s degree
backward (not backwards)
Baranczyk, Jennie
Campus Master Plan
coeducational (not co-ed)
cooperative, co-op (not coop)
cross country (hyphenate only when used as an adjective: cross-country meet)
cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude
curriculum vita (singular), curricula vitae (plural), vita (informal)
DeLaet, Debra (no space in last name)
Deans Council (no possessive)
Dean’s List
Des Moines (not followed by Iowa; all other Iowa cities are followed by Iowa)
Drake Blue
Drake Card
Drake Curriculum
The Drake Fund (capital “T”)
the Drake Law School Annual Fund (l/c t in "the")
Drake Relays
Drake Relays week
Drake Stadium
Drake University (First reference. Drake is acceptable in following references. Do not use DU, except in specific event titles, like Let’s DU Lunch.)
Drake University Board of Trustees (board of trustees, when not preceded by Drake University, should be lowercase)
eBlue, eLaw, ePharm
faculty (refers to teaching staff as a whole, takes a singular verb)
faculty members (preferred way to refer to individuals who are part of the faculty)
farmers market (unless it includes an apostrophe as part of a trademark, e.g., Des Moines Farmers’ Market)
First-Year Seminar (abbreviated as FYS)
first-year student (not freshman. Exception: acceptable to use freshman in international communications)
First-Year Trial Practicum
forward (not forwards)
Fulbright Scholar Award1
fundraiser, fundraising
Giacoletti, Raymond (or Ray)
Golder, David - FA'76, vice president and treasurer of the Golder Family Foundation, chair of Drake University Board of Trustees
GPA (acceptable on first reference)
Greater Des Moines metropolitan area (lowercase metropolitan area)
Hamilton, Neil - emeritus director of the Agricultural Law Center, Emeritus Professor of Law,
home page
Homecoming weekend
hors d’oeuvre
ID (no periods)
internet (lower case)
January Term or J-Term
kickoff/kick off (one word if a noun, such as football kickoff, campaign kickoff. Two words when a verb or intransitive verb - It is time to kick off the event)
LLC (no periods)
Let’s DU Lunch
login, logon, logoff; but use as two words in verb form
master’s degree
Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year award
Madelyn M. Levitt Teacher of the Year award
Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series
Meredith Corporation (no “the”)
Midwest, midwestern
Mission Statement
Missouri Valley Conference (MVC on subsequent references)
National Alumni Scholarship (NAS on subsequent references)
PC (no periods)
Philanthropy @ Drake
Pioneer Football League
p.m. (not pm or P.M.)
President’s Council
President’s Home
President’s List
The Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship
Program Review
RSVP (all caps, no spaces or periods)
SAT (acceptable on first reference and is the official name)
service-learning (both as noun and adjective)
Smith, John–Vice President for Alumni and Development
Strategic Plan
Sussman (Lecture Series, Fall Leadership Workshop, Spring Leadership Conference
The Times-Delphic (all three words capitalized and in italics)
tipoff one word if a noun, such as "basketball tipoff". Two words when a verb or intransitive verb - don't - "The police received a tip off from their source")
track and field (hyphenate only when used as an adjective: track-and-field event)
U.S. News & World Report (Always use &)
Toward (not towards)
University (capitalize when referring to Drake)
Vaughan, Therese (not Theresa)
voice mail
Walgreens (no apostrophe)
website, the web (lowercase)
Zimpleman, Larry—chairman of The Principal Financial Group; former chair of Drake's Board of Trustees
ZIP code (for Zoning Improvement Plan, but always lowercase the word code)

General Guidelines

Accept is to take in, receive or agree to. Except is to exclude or omit.

Use an acronym in subsequent references after the initial reference has been formally written out. Omit periods.

Drake Undergraduate Science Collaborative Institute (DUSCI)

Abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.), and Street (St.) in numbered addresses. Otherwise, spell out.

2507 University Ave.

Capitalize when part of a formal street name without a number.

University Avenue

Lowercase and spell out when used alone or with more than one street name.

The company is located across the street.
The company is located at the intersection of University and Forest avenues.

Admission, Office of
Office of Admission, not Admission Office
Also: admission counselor

Affect is most often a verb, meaning “to influence” or “to take on the characteristics of.”
One bad teacher can affect a whole generation.
She affected an air of superiority.

Effect is more often a noun, meaning “result.”
The decision had a significant effect on the entire campus community.

When affect is used to talk about an outward appearance of mood.
She gritted her teeth and took on a cheerful affect.

When effect is used to mean “bring about” or “accomplish.”
The first-year students set out to effect change in the registration process.

Note: Impact is often used in place of the word affect. This is not standard accepted usage and should be avoided. Grammarians maintain that impact means “to hit” and that any other use is jargon.

Correct: The impact of the policy change will be to reduce costs and improve service. Incorrect: The entire campus community will be impacted by the change.

Alumni Class Year
When an alumnus is listed, the academic degree received is also listed. Undergraduate degrees are designated first by the college and/or school from which the alumnus graduated, followed by an apostrophe and the last two numerals of the year the degree was received. There is no space between the college/school designation and the year.

John Doe, AS’78

For graduate degrees, the code is GR, except for degrees received from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, which are designated by PH, and the Law School, which are designated by LW.

John Doe, GR’78
Jane Doe, PH’78
Jane Smith, LW’78

If an alumnus has received more than one degree from Drake, each is listed in the order in which they were received.

John Doe, AS’78, JO’80

If an alumnus has more than one degree with the same college/school affiliation, the second degree is listed only with the year.

Jane Doe, GR’01, ’03

If an alumnus earned more than one degree in the same year, degrees are listed in alphabetical order, and both include the year.

Jackie Doe, ED’82, FA‘82

Class Code

AS Arts and Sciences
BN Business and Public Administration
DV Divinity
ED Education
FA Fine Arts
GR Graduate Studies
HS Health Sciences
JO Journalism and Mass Communication
LA Liberal Arts
LW Law
PH Pharmacy

Note: The College of Arts and Sciences evolved during the reorganization of Drake’s colleges and schools in 1987 when Liberal Arts and Fine Arts were combined. Pre-1987 alumni carry the acronym LA or FA and post-1986 alumni are labeled AS.

Alumnus, Alumni and Alumna, Alumnae
Use alumnus for an individual male, alumna for an individual female.
When referring to a single non-gender-specific graduate, use alumnus.
Use alumni for a group of males, alumnae for a group of females.
When referring to a group of both men and women, alumni is commonly accepted.
Alum or alums should not be used.
The same usage applies to emeritus, emerita, emeriti, emeritae.

Ampersand (&)
The ampersand should not be used in place of and in text copy.
Exceptions: Use when it is part of a company’s formal name or composition title. Also may be used as a design element.

An annual event is one that has been held at least two consecutive years. Do not use the phrase “first annual.”

Annual Fund Designations
Only capitalize second words of designations if they are proper names. This applies in all instances, including pledge forms. E.g., Scholarship support; Cowles Library

Always use with “s” (athletics not athletic) when referring to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Also: Sandy Hatfield Clubb, director of athletics

If the term “award” is an integral part of the title, it should be capitalized. If not, it should be lowercase.

Distinguished Alumni Award
Madelyn Levitt Distinguished Community Service Award
Madelyn Levitt Teacher of the Year award

The words are not interchangeable.
A person feels emotions and thinks or believes thoughts and ideas.

Case Law
Italicize formal names of legal decisions (except the v.)

Brown v. Board of Education

Retain the hyphen when forming nouns, adjectives, and verbs that indicate occupation or status:




co-respondent (in a divorce suit)









(Several are exceptions to Webster's New World College Dictionary in the interests of consistency.)
Use no hyphen in other combinations:











Cooperate, coordinate and related words are exceptions to the rule that a hyphen is used if a prefix ends in a vowel and the word that follows begins with the same vowel.
See also Word List: nonprofessional, nonstudent

College/School Names
On first reference use full name of Drake University colleges and schools.

College of Arts and Sciences
College of Business and Public Administration
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Law School or Drake Law
School of Education
School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Capitalize when full name of ceremony is used. Lowercase in other references.

The Drake University Commencement Ceremony is held in May.
Graduates will receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremonies in May.

Committee Titles
When using the full name of a committee, initial capitalize all words except prepositions and articles. Otherwise, lowercase.

Friends of Drake Arts Steering Committee
Student Learning and Effective Teaching Committee

Consider usage.

Compose: to create or put together.

Comprise: to contain, to include all, or embrace. Do not use comprised of.

Constitute: to form or make up. May be used if better option than compose or comprise.

Complement: denotes completeness or the process of supplementing something; something that fills up, completes, or makes perfect

Compliment: denotes praise; an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration

Complementary: to fill out or complete

Complimentary: to express praise or admiration; to give as a courtesy or favor

SURF (admission only)

Should be used only when its omission would be confusing.

Despite/In spite of
Mean the same thing and are interchangeable. (Not in despite of.)

Do not use the term dorm or dormitory to refer to Drake University residence halls. Use residence hall on first reference; hall is acceptable on second and subsequent references.

During/more than/over
See over/during/more than.

See affect/effect/impact.

Email Addresses and Websites
Lowercase all email addresses and websites unless the usage is otherwise ( Italicize websites, but not email addresses. Never use  http:// for websites, but it is OK to drop www. as long as it is not necessary to the navigation (

To be entitled is to have a right to do or have something. Do not use as a synonym for titled.

See accept/except.

May be used as a noun or adjective. When used as a noun, it is collective and takes a singular verb.

The faculty approved the coursework.

Farther, Further
Farther refers to physical distance.
John walked farther than Jane.

Further refers to an extension of time or degree.
She will look further into the problem.

Fewer refers to individual items or people; less refers to quantities. Fewer is generally preferred in references to people; less is correct for ages, quantities, and money.

Fiscal Year

Spell out using caps on first reference in copy (e.g., Fiscal Year 2010); subsequent references may be abbreviated (e.g., FY 2010, with a space separating letters and numbers)

Full time/full-time
Two words when used as a noun. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.

See affect/effect/impact.

Implies there is more. Use to introduce a series when the items that follow are only part of the total.

In spite of/despite
See despite/in spite of.

See ensure/insure.

Italics and Quotation Marks

Italicize the titles of
Artwork title
collections of poetry
formal names of legal decisions (except the v.)
long musical works
long poems
names of drawings, paintings, photographs, statues, and other works of visual art
newspapers and similar periodicals
news sources (including known print publication as well as digital-only)
podcasts that are ongoing
radio and television programs that are part of a continuing series
scientific names of plants and animals
specific names of boats, ships, submarines, aircraft, and spacecraft

Place inside quotation marks
blog postings
book chapters
manuscripts in collections, lectures, papers, projects, speeches, presentations
podcasts - individual entries, much like a blog title vs. an individual blog posting
song titles
short poems
titles of individual television and radio programs or episodes

Its: the possessive of its.
It’s: contraction of it is.

Shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Past is preferred in all uses except those which express finality.

Distinguished Lecture Series presented by the Constitutional Law Center (also appears as just Distinguished Lecture Series)
Engaged Citizen Experience Conference
Florence Myers Wallace Leadership Lunch
Hawley Foundation Lecture
Judge James Grant Iowa Constitution Lecture Series
The Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal of Honor Lecture
Lila and Richard Sussman Fall Leadership Workshop
Lila and Richard Sussman Spring Leadership Workshop
Luther W. Stalnaker Lecture, Luther W. Stalnaker Lecture Series
The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series (also appears as Bucksbaum Lecture, Bucksbaum Lecture Series, Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship)
Middleton Lecture Series
Nelson Institute Undergraduate Conference on Global Affairs
The Susan Glaspell Writers & Critics Series (also appears as Writers & Critics Series)
The Sussman Lecture Series, Sussman Lecture Series (no “The”), Sussman Lecture. (Presented by The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement; The Harkin Institute’s Sussman Lecture Series)

See fewer/less.


More than/during/over
See over/during/more than.

In general, for cardinal and ordinal figures, spell out whole numbers one through nine and use figures for 10 and above.

She is taking five courses for a total of 15 credits.

In text fractions standing alone (less than one) are spelled out. For fractions with whole numbers (larger than one) use figures.

About one-third of the funds go toward scholarship support.

Note: There are many exceptions to this rule. Consult The Associated Press Stylebook.

Over/during/more than
Ideally these terms should not be used interchangeably.

During: indicates a time span
More than: indicates a greater quantity
Over: indicates a relative location

Part time/part-time
Two words when used as a noun. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.

In general text, use the word percent when referring to percentages. In statistical copy, it is acceptable to use the % symbol. There is no space between the numeral and the symbol.

Phone numbers
Use hyphens to separate area codes and prefixes.
When using the 800 number: 1-800-44-DRAKE (37253), x5555

Plan to do something
Not plan on doing something.

pore vs. pour
Pore, used as a verb, means to examine closely.

Bob poured himself a cup of coffee and pored over the annual report.

residence halls
Use in reference to on-campus buildings in which students reside. Do not use dorm. It is preferable to use the full name of the building on first reference, particularly in external publications.

Carpenter Residence Hall
Crawford Residence Hall
Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall
Herriott Residence Hall
Jewett Residence Hall
Morehouse Residence Hall
Ross Residence Hall
Stalnaker Residence Hall

room numbers
For external publications, use the building name followed by a comma, the word “room” and the room number in figures, with the word “room” capitalized. In internal publications, it is acceptable to use a shortened form of the building name followed by the room number.

For external publications: Harvey Ingham Hall, Room 104
For internal publications: HI, Room 104

STEM@DRAKE (always all uppercase);
Refers to an overall initiative that places future scientists and future educators together in a collaborative, interdisciplinary learning environment; includes new degrees and expanded opportunities.

Tech Terminology
Common terms:
disk (for computer-related references, not disc)
home page
login, logon, logoff; but use as two words in verb form
voice mail
website, the web

Use this spelling (-tre) when referring to the department on campus and its productions.

Toward never ends in an s; same for forward, backward, upward, downward

Try to do it.
Not try and do it.

United States, U.S.
Use full name as a noun; use acronym for adjective.
He was born in the United States, but he did not have a U.S. passport.

See Departments/Units entry

Lowercase and one word. See email addresses and websites entry for more information.

Whether implies a choice. “Whether or not” is redundant and should be avoided.

No hyphen: citywide, continentwide, countrywide, industrywide, nationwide, statewide, worldwide

Hyphen: campus-wide, university-wide

There’s been campus-wide excitement since the Drake Card was introduced. The simple plastic identification card is gaining nationwide attention.

Invitation Guidelines

Most invitations for events at Drake University are one of two types: formal and casual. A formal invitation is usually sent for occasions such as the FMDS dinner or an event hosted by the president of the University or other Cabinet members. Casual invitations are used for events like a Bulldog Bash or a reunion. The type of invitation should define the tone and writing style. Always verify the invitation type with the client before writing.

Casual Invitations
Casual invitations are lighter in tone and may contain less detail than formal invitations. Depending on the audience, casual invitations can be written in either third or first person.

When writing the date, do not include the year unless it is different from the present.

Do not include periods at the end of lines unless they are full sentences.

Do not include attire suggestions.

Formal Invitations
Formal invitations contain more detail than casual invitations and are less conversational.

Use third person throughout the invitation, unless quoting someone.

Although etiquette suggests spelling out time and date, use numbers for Drake invitations.

Include the year for formal invitations.

Capitalize the first word in every line.

Do not include periods at the end of lines unless they are full sentences.

Include attire suggestions (e.g., Black tie optional, Business/cocktail attire suggested)

The Five W’s and R
Whether invitations are formal or casual, they should include the five W’s:

Name of the host or celebrant, if there is one.

Name of the event and what it is about. Emphasize what is in it for the guests–why should they attend?

Provide the day of the week, date and time–in that order. Note dates numerically.

Sunday, April 21
6 p.m.
(See Time entry for guidelines on the correct notation of time.)

This may require a complete address or be as simple as the name of a campus building. For campus buildings, make sure Drake University is included somewhere in the location. See Buildings/Facilities/Sites entry for correct names of buildings.

In some cases, you may want to include a website recipients can link to for directions (this is common for alumni event invitations) or you may want to include an insert with a road map and directions.

Include parking instructions and fee on the insert. If there is no insert, include parking information on the invitation.

This can often be included in the What section, but some events need more explanation. If there’s an interesting story behind the event, tell it.

Include instructions on how and when to reply.

Invitations from a Host
List the name of the host first. For co-hosts, list both complete names and include titles, if applicable.

President Marty Martin and Laura Martin not President Marty and Laura Martin.
Use one of three options for the invitational phrase:
Requests the pleasure (or honor) of your company
Requests the honor of your presence
(Cordially) invites you to
Events that Incorporate Multiple Stages
Some events include multiple stages, such as reception followed by dinner or dedication followed by dessert. In such cases, only include the earliest start time.

7 p.m. Reception followed by dinner, not 7 p.m. Reception, 8 p.m. Dinner