University Marketing and Communications

Butler University Style Guide

The following guidelines follow Associated Press and Chicago Manual of Style. It's preferred that this style be followed for all marketing, web, and PR pieces developed for Butler University. For all other inquiries, please reference the Chicago Manual of Style.

Academic Degrees

  • In text, spell out and lowercase the name of the degree. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in bachelor of arts, master of science, or associate degree. It is okay to use the degree acronyms-MA and BA-for major options in flyers.
  • Do not use periods in abbreviations.
    Example: MA, MS, BA, BS, MBA, MPAcc, PA, PhD, PharmD, etc.
  • Use doctoral degree or doctorate in text. Use PhD in full titles only when individuals with different degrees need to be distinguished.
    Example: College of Education Professors Stephen Bloom, PhD; Roger W. Boop, EdD; Ronald W. Goodman, EdD; Sam Guerriero, EdD; Ena Goodrich Shelley, PhD.


  • Spell out all words in text, except for NE, NW, SE, and SW.
  • Abbreviate East, West, South, and North in full addresses, with periods (E. W. S. N.).
  • For mailing addresses and tabular matter, use the following abbreviations:
    • Avenue: Ave.
    • Building: Bldg.
    • Boulevard: Blvd.
    • Court: Ct.
    • Drive: Dr.
    • Expressway: Expy.
    • Highway: Hwy.
    • Lane: Ln.
    • Parkway: Pkwy.
    • Place: Pl.
    • PO Box or POB
    • Road: Rd.
    • Room: Rm.
    • Rural Route: RR
    • Square: Sq.
    • Street: St.
    • Suite: Ste.
    • Terrace: Terr.


  • Always use figures.
  • Hyphenate the age if it is used as an adjective or as a substitute for a noun.
  • Don't use apostrophes when describing an age-range.
    • The student is 19 years old. The student, 18, has a brother, 5.
    • The 20-year-old student.
    • The survey is for 18-year-olds.
    • They are in their 20s.
    • The student is 19 years old.
    • The student, 18, has a brother, 5.
    • The 20-year-old student.
    • The survey is for 18-year-olds.
    • They are in their 20s.

Alumni Association

Capitalize Alumni Association on first reference. Use the association on second reference.

Alumni Names/Graduation Year

  • One degree, use an apostrophe and last two digits of graduation year.
    Jay Cutler '82
  • Two degrees, list the bachelor's degree first.
    Julie Schrader '01 MBA '08
  • Married alumni, list graduation year after first name and list the alumnus first.
    Harry '70 and Gail '70 Dietz
  • When only one person is a graduate of Butler, list them first.
    Bob '52 and Carol Brown

Alumnus (and Its Derivations)

  • Use alumnus (alumni in the plural) when referring to a man who has attended a school.
  • Use alumna (alumnae in the plural) for similar references to a woman.
  • Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.

Ampersand (&)

  • Use the ampersand only when it is part of a company's formal name, composition title, or professional title.
    Example: House & Garden magazine; Director of Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer
  • An ampersand may also be used for some accepted abbreviations.
    Examples: B&B or R&B


The direction of an apostrophe should, in almost all typefaces, look like the comma raised, but not inverted. Rules on using the apostrophe are below.

  • Singular nouns not ending in s: Add 's
      Butler's history dates back to 1855.
  • Singular nouns ending in s: Add 's unless the next word begins with s.
     The hostess's invitation; the hostess' seat.
  • Singular proper names ending in s: Use only an apostrophe.
     Indianapolis' schools.
  • Plural nouns not ending in s: Add 's
     The women's outfits; the alumni's cheers.
  • Plural nouns ending in s: Add only an apostrophe.
     The students' needs are great.
  • Nouns in plural form, singular in meaning: Add only an apostrophe.
    Mathematics' rules are confusing.
  • Do not use an apostrophe to indicate plural numbers.
     John graduated in the 1960s.
  • Use an apostrophe to indicate omitted numbers.
     John graduated in the '60s.
  • Pluralize single-letter grades with apostrophes.
    She got mostly A's and B's all year.

BIG EAST Conference

  • Use all-capital letters for BIG EAST; capitalize conference when used in conjunction with BIG EAST.
  • When using "the conference" on second reference, do not capitalize conference.
    Example: Butler University joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2013. Butler is one of 10 universities in the conference.

Board of Trustees

  • Capitalize Board of Trustees on first reference.
  • Use the trustees or board on second reference, but do not capitalize.


  • Students, alumni, faculty, and staff generally may be referred to as "bulldogs" or "dawgs" - never use "dogs."
  • Dawgs is commonly used in promotional materials related to Athletics.

Bulleted Lists

  • Unless they consist of complete sentences, closing punctuation is not required.
  • For numbered lists, a period follows the numeral and each item begins with a capital letter.
  • Parallel construction (i.e. all complete sentences or no complete sentences) is recommended for all bullets.
  • It is best to use a complete grammatical sentence, followed by a colon, to introduce a bulleted list.
    Example: You may choose from these options:
    • red
    • yellow
    • blue

Butler Blue III

  • First reference should be listed as Butler Blue III (Trip).
  • Blue III or Trip is acceptable on second reference, but, for consistency, only one of the names should be used continuously. It is incorrect to go back and forth.
  • The numeral (3) should only be used in conjunction with digital media (e.g. Twitter handle [ButlerBlue3], URL).


  • Capitalize acronyms, formal names, nationalities, nicknames, proper nouns, races, and tribes.
  • Do not capitalize the the preceding a name in running text, even when it is part of the official title.
  • Capitalize and spell out names of departments, divisions, and offices on all references in first reference. Lowercase department, division, or office may be used in second reference.
    • The Office of Student Affairs is part of Butler University. The office is located in Atherton Union.
  • Capitalize and spell out names of centers in first reference. Use "Center" or acronym in second reference.

    • The Center for Faith and Vocation held a vigil service on Thursday. This is the Center's second vigil this month.
  • Capitalize and spell out college names in the first reference. Use "College" or abbreviation in second reference: LAS, COPHS, COB, JCA, COE, CCOM.
    • The College of Business is one of Butler's six colleges. The College has offices in Holcomb Building.
    • The College of Education is one of Butler's six colleges. COE has offices in Jordan Hall.
  • Capitalize University when referring to Butler University.
    The University mascot is a bulldog.
  • Capitalize the formal names of courses.
    Example: She took the Concepts of Education course.
  • Capitalize formal job titles when they appear before or after a person's name and when they stand alone.
    • President James M. Danko called the meeting to order.
    • Bruce Arick, Vice President for Finance and Administration, is on vacation this week.
    • The Associate Director of Marketing and Communication attended the meeting.

Central Indiana

  • Capitalize Central Indiana when referring to the region.


  • Lowercase and spell out numbers lower than 10.
    • It happened in the first century.
    • This is the 21st century.
  • Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate span of decades or centuries.
    • He was born in the 1890s.
    • It was invented in the 1900s.


  • Spell out states (except DC) in running text, even when following the name of a city.
  • In mailing addresses, tabular matters, and items with space constraints, use the two-letter postal abbreviation for states.


  • Capitalize "class" when referencing a Butler graduating class.
    Example: The Class of 1984 donated the gift.


Comma Usage

  • When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma (known as a serial comma or the Oxford comma) should appear before the conjunction.
    She is taking classes in English, political science, and sociology.
  • "Etc." and "and so forth" are traditionally both preceded and followed by a comma when it is the final item in a series.
    Cats, dogs, parrots, etc., in transit must be confined to cages.

Composition Titles

  • Capitalize articles (a, the, an) or a preposition of fewer than four letters if they are the first or last word in a title.
  • Italicize titles of larger compositions:
    • Albums/CDs
    • Art exhibits
    • Books
    • Dance pieces
    • Longer musical composition (e.g.. operas, symphonies, concertos)
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Plays
  • Use quotation marks for titles of shorter compositions: 
    • Artwork, titles
    • Book chapters
    • Courses
    • Journal/magazine/newspaper articles
    • Lectures and speeches
    • Movies
    • Poems
    • Short stories
    • Songs
    • Television programs

Course Titles

  • Capitalize the formal names of courses.
     She took the Concepts of Education course.

Courtesy Titles

  • Use the courtesy titles Mr., Miss, Ms., or Mrs. only in direct quotations or in other special situations, such as differentiating between individuals with the same last name.
  • It is acceptable to refer to individuals by their full name when there is another individual in the article/story who has the same last name.
  • See also Doctor/Dr./Professor


  • When working with a range, do not shorten the reference to the first figure of a range.
    Example: He is worth from $2 million to $4 million. Not $2 to $4 million or $2-4 million.


  • Spell out the names of all months, except in advertising or other communications with space constraints.
  • When abbreviated, use Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
  • Do not use a comma when a month is used with a year alone.
    Example: December 2011
  • Use the Fourth of July, not July 4. Use New Year's Day, not January 1.
  • For inclusive dates, separate with an en dash and use full years.
    Example: The 2012-2013 academic calendar begins in August.
  • Use commas only with a month and day.
    Example: December 18, 1994, was a special day.
  • Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate span of decades or centuries.
    Example: the 1890s, the 1900s.

Dawg Pound

  • Dawg Pound is the name of Butler's student spirit group for Athletics.

Dean's List

  • Lowercase dean's list in all uses.



  • Use "Dr." before a professor's name only in formal academic programs (i.e. Commencement); in other instances, "Professor" may be used, even if the individual is not a tenured, full professor.
  • The use of Dr. when referring to a medical doctor should be used in all instances.

Ellipsis (…)

  • Avoid excessive usage in text.
  • Use to indicate missing text.
    The speaker droned on: "First, we must take action … Barring any stumbling blocks … With malice toward none …"


  • Lowercase email unless at the start of a sentence. Do not hyphenate.


  • When used, place emeritus after the formal title, in keeping with the general practice of academic institutions.
    Samuel Eliot Morison, professor emeritus of history.
  • Plural is emeriti. Female form is emerita.

    Note: Emeritus status is conferred by the Board of Trustees, but not on all retired faculty. Please check before using term.

Em Dash (-)

  • Use to denote an abrupt change in thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause.
  • Do not put spaces on both sides.
    He listed the qualities-small, strong academics, engaged faculty-that he looked for in a university.

En Dash (-)

  • En dash is used to connect numbers (chapters, years, etc.), and, less often, words.
    Her college years, 1998-2002, were the happiest in her life.


  • Capitalize specific recurring Butler events.
    Homecoming, Commencement, Welcome Week

Exclamation Points

  • Limit usage.

Faculty and Staff Titles

  • Capitalize faculty and staff titles when they appear before or after a person's name and when they stand alone.
    • Vice President Levester Johnson called the meeting at 10 a.m.
    • Carrie Maffeo, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
  • Also see Titles


  • "Fraternity" is a name applied to all Greek organizations, but specifically men's groups.
  • "Sorority" is the name applied only to women's Greek organizations.
  • "Chapter" is the term used to describe an individual Greek organization at a specific location, such as a campus or city.
    The Beta Zeta chapter of Delta Tau Delta resides on Butler's campus.

Full Time/Full-Time

  • Hyphenate only when used as a compound modifier.
    • She is a full-time employee.
    • She works full time in the Office of Communications.


  • Although the plural is freshmen, it is freshman courses, freshman year, etc. (You wouldn't say sophomores courses.)
  • Use first-year students when possible.


  • Use one word in all instances.

    • Fundraising is difficult.
    • They planned a fundraising event.
    • A fundraiser was hired.

Gender-Neutral Terminology

  • Use gender-neutral terms when possible and appropriate.
    • Use "spokesperson" instead of "spokesman."
    • Use "chair" or "chairperson" instead of "chairman."
    • Use "first-year" instead of "freshman/freshmen" (i.e. first-year student, first-year courses, etc.)
    • Use undergraduates, first-year students, sophomores, juniors, and/or seniors instead of "upperclassman/upperclassmen" or "underclassman/underclassmen."

Grade Point Average

  • The abbreviation for grade point average is GPA, no periods.


  • When referring to a grade, use a capital letter; quotation marks should not be used around letter grades. Use a hyphen and the word minus when indicating a minus grade.

    • He received a B-minus average for the course.
    • She got an A on her paper.
  • Do not use apostrophes for plural single-letter grades.
    She earned two As, three Bs, and one C this semester.

Hinkle Fieldhouse

  • Capitalize and use Hinkle Fieldhouse on first reference.
  • On second reference use either "Hinkle" or "the fieldhouse."

Hyphen (-)

  • Hyphenate compound words that are used as adjectives defining a third word.
    Both on- and off-campus activities are planned for the weekend. She used her decision-making skills.
  • Don't hyphenate compound nouns.
    Vice President is not hyphenated.
  • Use a hyphen when listing a telephone number.
    Please call 317-940-8000 for more information.
  • Use a hyphen and the word "plus" or "minus" when referring to a class grade.
    • She earned a B-plus in the class.
    • He got an A-minus on the test.

Incorporated (Inc.)

  • Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as a part of a corporate name. Do not set off with commas. This same rule applies for Ltd. and LLC.
    Example: Time Warner Inc. announced...

Indianapolis-Specific Items

  • Capitalize these names:
    • Indy
    • Broad Ripple Village or Broad Ripple
    • Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA)
    • Circle City
    • Indianapolis International Airport
    • Indianapolis Star
    • I-465
    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Speedway
    • Monument Circle
    • The Monon Trail


  • Do not capitalize internet in text, unless it begins a sentence.


  • No punctuation precedes these.
    John Jones Jr.

Majors and Minors

  • Lowercase all, except for languages (e.g., English, French, Greek, Latin, Spanish, etc.) and those that are the name of a department.


  • Use an individual's first and last name in first reference. It is acceptable to use the first name only on second reference in less formal communications, such as a message to the campus community or a letter to a donor following a meeting.
  • If two people mentioned in text have the same last name, it's acceptable to use first and last names throughout.
  • For names that are hyphenated (Olivia Newton-John), refer in the second reference by both names (Newton-John).
  • For individuals with two last names (Rachael Stephens Burt) that are not hyphenated, refer in the second reference only by the second name (Burt).


  • Italicize newspaper, journal, magazine, and other publication names. 
  • To clarify a newspaper's identity and location, add geographic reference in parentheses if it is not part of the name.
    The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.


  • Spell out numbers one through nine. Beginning with 10, use digits. If low and high numbers are used together, use digits for both.
    • Only three individuals showed up for the event.
    • Announcements will be made every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location. Starting with 10th, use figures.
    Butler ranked second in the Master's Midwest category in U.S.News & World Report's America's Best Colleges. This was Butler's 18th consecutive year being ranked in this category.
  • Use numbers with money ($7), temperature (50 degrees), scores (6-5), pages (page 13), rooms (Room 6), and chapters (Chapter 4).
  • Avoid using numbers to begin a sentence. If unavoidable, always spell out at the beginning of a sentence.
    Nine hundred seventy-eight new freshman students will move in on Aug. 22.
  • When referring to rankings, use No. to indicate "number," not #.
    The basketball team is ranked No. 14 in the nation.


Online Publications

  • Online publication names should be lowercase and not italicized.
    This year's commencement speaker is the editor of


  • With the exception of use in advertisements, promotional, and statistical items, spell out percent in text rather than use the symbol (%).

Period (spacing)

  • Only put one space after a period.


  • Capitalize president only as a formal title before one or more names.
    • President James M. Danko
    • Presidents Fong and Danko
  • Lowercase president in second reference. It's also acceptable to use Danko in second reference when referring to Butler's president.
    The president said today he is running for president. Lincoln was president during the Civil War.


  • Published works should use directional (or "smart") quotation marks, sometimes called typographer's or "curly" quotation marks.
  • Direct quotations: Surround the exact words of a speaker in a story with quotation marks.

    Example: "I thought it was a good play," he replied. "I do not object," he said, "to the speaker's position."
  • Running quotations: If a full paragraph of quoted material is followed by a paragraph that continues the quotation, do not put close-quote marks at the end of the first paragraph. Do, however, put open-quote marks at the start of the second paragraph.

     When he saw her, he said, "I like your dress.
    "You should always wear that color."
  • Single quotation: Use for quotes within quotes or in a headline.

    • She said, "He wrote, 'I'll be leaving on Wednesday,' but the letter was never sent."
    • He said, "Jerry called you 'a genius.'"


  • Use numbers separated by a colon, no space should follow a colon.
    • The ratio was 2:1.
    • It was a 2:1 ratio.

Room/Room Numbers

  • Capitalize the names of specifically designated rooms: Reilly Room, Johnson Board Room.
  • Use figures and lowercase room when used with a figure (e.g., room 212).
  • When listing a building and room number, use a comma to separate.
    The meeting will be held in Atherton Union, room 302.
  • When using a building abbreviation and room number, use a space to separate (e.g., JH 141).


  • RSVP is the abbreviation for the French phrase meaning "Please reply."
  • Do not use with the word "please."
  • Do not use periods.


  • Lowercase fall semester and spring semester in text.
    • It was held fall semester 2011.
    • It will be in spring semester 2013.
  • Do not use Fall Semester, Spring Semester, etc.
  • Do not use of between the semester and year (e.g. fall semester of 2011).
  • Do not place the year between the season and semester (e.g. fall 2011 semester).


  • Lowercase all seasons: fall, spring, summer, winter.
  • Do not use of between the season and year.
    It's fall 2011, not fall of 2011.

Sign-Up/Sign Up

  • As a noun, use a hyphen.
    Sign-ups will be held in the PuLSE Office.
  • As a verb, use two words (no hyphen).
    Please sign up in the PuLSE Office.


  • Spell out the names of the 50 states when they stand alone or follow the name of a city in text, except for Washington, DC.
  • When used in mailing addresses, tabular matters, or in items with space constraints, use the two-letter postal codes.


  • Use syllabus to denote one document. The plural form is syllabi.


Common terms used:

  • Computer
    • apps (short for applications; as in computer apps, mobile apps, "There's an app for that.")
    • gigabytes, megabytes, terabytes (e.g., 2 gigabytes or 2GB)
    • hard drive
    • RSS or RSS feed
    • screen saver
    • software
  • Games/Software
    • Capitalize software titles.
      Common titles: Adobe Creative Suite, Blackboard, ePortfolio, Microsoft Office (Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word), Panopto, Visio, WordPress.
    • Use quotation marks for game titles.
      Example: He was playing "Angry Birds" when he received a phone call.
  • Mobile
    • Android or droid
    • app (plural: apps; short for application)
    • BlackBerry (plural: BlackBerrys)
    • cellphone
    • e-reader
    • iPad, iPhone, iPod (Do not need to capitalize at beginning of sentence.)
    • smartphone
    • text messaging
  • Social Media
    • apps (short for applications; as in computer apps, mobile apps, "There's an app for that.")
    • Facebook
    • Flickr
    • Foursquare
    • hashtag
    • instant messaging (IM)
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
    • StumbleUpon
    • Twitter, tweet, tweeted, retweet
    • WordPress
    • YouTube
  • Web
    • click-through rate
    • download
    • eBay Inc. (Do not need to capitalize at beginning of sentence.)
    • e-book
    • e-commerce
    • email
    • Google, Google+, Googling, Googled
    • homepage
    • internet
    • online
    • pay-per-click
    • RSS or RSS feed
    • search engine optimization
    • URL
    • web (short for World Wide Web)
    • webcam
    • webcast
    • webmaster
    • web page
    • web feed
    • website

Telephone Numbers

  • Separate numbers that are not inclusive with hyphens.
    • 317-940-6000
    • 800-940-6000
    • 317-940-6000, ext. 234


  • Use the -re spelling of theatre. This is an exception to the preference in Webster's.
  • Verify names of specific theatre buildings, such as the Apollo Theater in Harlem or Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis.

Time of Day

  • Include the minutes (e.g., 10:30 a.m., 10:00 p.m.).
  • Always include a.m. or p.m. unless the time is noon or midnight. Write a.m. and p.m. lowercase with periods.
  • Do not use 12 with noon or midnight.
  • If an event has a beginning and an end time, separate the two with a dash. Also, do not repeat a.m. and p.m.
    • 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
    • 2:00-4:00 p.m.
    • 10:00 a.m.-noon

Time Zones

  • When spelled out, designations of time and time zones are lowercased, except for proper nouns.
  • Capitalize abbreviations.
    • eastern daylight time; EDT
    • eastern standard time; EST
    • central daylight time; CDT
    • central standard time; CST
    • mountain daylight time; MDT
    • mountain standard time; MST
    • Pacific daylight time; PDT
    • Pacific standard time; PST
    • Greenwich mean time; GMT
    • daylight saving time; DST
  • When used with a specific time, abbreviations (CDT, EST, etc.) are given in parentheses.
    Example: 10:30 a.m. (EST); midnight (CDT)


  • Capitalize formal titles when they appear before or after a person's name and when they stand alone.
    • President James M. Danko called the meeting to order.
    • Bruce Arick, Vice President for Finance and Administration, is on vacation this week.
    • The Associate Director of Marketing and Communications attended the meeting.
  • Do not capitalize titles if they are informal.
    • University spokesperson Matt Mindrum …
    • The professor gave a lecture on ...
  • Adjectives that designate the status of a title should be lowercase.
    Example: He is former President George W. Bush.
  • Capitalize titles denoting civic or academic honors when following a personal name.
    Example: Laurence L. Bongie, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, gave a speech on …
  • Common title abbreviations include Dr., Gov., Hon., Lt. Gov., Rep., Rev., and Sen.
  • Civil or military titles preceding a full name may be abbreviated; however, when preceding a surname alone, they should be spelled out.
    • Rep. John Doe; Representative Doe
    • Sen. Jane Doe; Senator Doe
    • Adm. John J. Doe; Admiral Doe
  • The abbreviations Rev. and Hon. are traditionally used before a full name when the does not precede the title. With the, such titles should be spelled out.
    • Rev. Sam Portaro; the Reverend Sam Portaro
    • Hon. Henry M. Brown; the Honorable Henry M. Brown


  • Toward, not towards.


  • Lowercase in text, unless used to begin a sentence (i.e., t-shirt).

United States

  • Spell out when used as a noun.
    There are 50 states in the United States.
  • Abbreviate to U.S. (with periods) when used as an adjective.
    U.S. officials released a statement this morning.
  • Do not capitalize the article "the" in front of United States in running text.
    We live in the United States.
  • Only use U.S.A. in addresses.


  • Uppercase the word University in text when referring to Butler University.


  • Avoid usage. "Underclassmen" refers to first-year students and sophomores. "Upperclassmen" refers to juniors and seniors only; it does not include sophomores.
  • Do not use the elitist-sounding phrases upperclass students, upper-class students, or upperclassmen.
  • Use undergraduates, first-year students, sophomores, juniors, and/or seniors instead of "upperclassman/upperclassmen" or "underclassman/underclassmen."

Vice President

  • Use "for" in full title, not "of."
    Vice President for University Advancement


  • The full name for a listing of one's academic and professional accomplishments is a curriculum vita (plural: curricula vitae) or CV (plural: CVs).
  • The term vita (plural: vitae) is a synonym.

Voice Mail

  • Two words, lowercase: voice mail.

Web/Internet Address

aka Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
  • If the URL does not fit on one line, create and use a tiny URL for clarity.
  • Online publication names and other URLs should be lowercase and not italicized.
    Example: This year's commencement speaker is the editor of

Web page

  • Two words, lowercase: web page, web pages.


  • One word, lowercase: website, websites.