The Luther College Publications 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).
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 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 Young Alumni Award, Iowa Tuition Grant, and Founders Scholarships. Lowercase um laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.
Capitalize names, Student Conduct Board, Board of Regents. Lowercase board (
Italicize, except the Bible
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
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.
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 names, Performing Arts Committee. Lowercase committee
communication (not communications)
communication department, communication studies major
Capitalize names, Parents Council. Lowercase council
Capitalize Ancient Philosophy
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 and periods in abbreviations (e.g., B.A., M.A., M.B.A., M.F.A., Ph.D.).
Capitalize Music Department Athletic Department
Use the title “Doctor” only for medical doctors; use “Ph.D.” after names of holders of other doctorates.
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”).
first-year student (not freshman)
Lowercase geographical designations unless northeast Iowa city of Decorah, but .
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.
Capitalize the name of the organization, but not the words sorority, fraternity, or society Phi Beta Kappa honor society Alpha Beta Psi sorority.
Capitalize when standing alone in reference to Luther’s Homecoming.
January Term (or J-term, especially as an adjective)
(e.g., Jane Doe, assistant dean and professor of music; not ssistant ean and rofessor of usic Jane Doe.
Capitalize and put in double quotation marks, “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 ” but “”).
Make structure of list items parallelif one bullet item is a sentence, all sentences period. 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
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).
music ensembles (use names as listed)
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)
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 Chicago Manual of Styleompounds formed with prefixes are normally closed, antebellum, nonviolent, midcareer, prewar. But use a hyphen before a apitalized word (pre-Columbian), before a compound term (non-self-sustaining), 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.”
Capitalize Earth and Environment in Italy. But the word program is often not a part of the formal name, so Earth and Environment in Italy program.
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).
|Alaska||do not abbreviate||AK|
|District of Columbia||D.C.||DC|
|Hawaii||do not abbreviate||HI|
|Idaho||do not abbreviate||ID|
|Iowa||do not abbreviate||IA|
|Maine||do not abbreviate||ME|
|Ohio||do not abbreviate||OH|
|Texas||do not abbreviate||TX|
|Utah||do not abbreviate||UT|
Set off area codes and 800 numbers with parenthess. 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.)
Use “United States” as a noun; “U.S.” 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”).