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Writing Guidelines

To promote consistency in its communications, Holy Cross adheres to the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, with certain exceptions that are particular to the College.

For current College data, please refer to Holy Cross at a Glance.

If you have a question about editorial style, please call College Marketing and Communications at (508) 793-2419. Following is a frequent-use guide.

academic degrees—Capitalize abbreviations for degrees and professional designations, placing them only after proper names and separating them with periods, e.g., John Smith, A.B. (often B.A. elsewhere for bachelor of arts), B.S., Ph.D., M.B.A., M.S. Lowercase when degrees are spelled out, e.g., bachelor of arts degree in history.

academic titles—Refer to professors and administrators by full name, rank and affiliation (not capitalized, unless a proper noun), e.g., John Smith, professor of biology; Mary Doe, associate professor of English; Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president. Only capitalize titles and affiliations when preceding a name, e.g., Professor John Smith, Associate Director Jane Brown. The title "Dr." is used only when referring to a medical doctor.

academic years—lowercase first-year, sophomore, junior, senior, e.g., senior John Doe, or John Doe ’08.

ALANA—abbreviation for African-American, Latin American, Asian-American, Native American.

alumna—singular female graduate.

alumnae—plural female graduates.

alumni—plural male graduates, or male and female graduates collectively.

alumnus—singular male graduate.

a.m./p.m. —lowercase, periods between letters, e.g., 10 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.; noon or midnight, not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. In time spans, use en dashes and no spaces between times, e.g., 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Athletics department or Department of Athletics—Athletics is plural, including Athletics Director Nathan Pine.

baccalaureate—lowercase “b”

Baccalaureate Mass—uppercase “B” and “M”

Board of Trustees—uppercase formal name, but lowercase “the board.”

building names—capitalize the names of the College’s buildings, e.g., Fenwick Hall, Hogan Campus Center, St. Joseph Memorial Chapel, Dinand Library. But lowercase string of halls, e.g., Fenwick, O’Kane and Stein halls.

Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture—see Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.

central Massachusetts—lowercase “c”

century—lowercase, spelling out numbers less than 10: the first century, the 21st century.

city of Worcester—lowercase “c”

class years—avoid “freshman(men), upperclassman(men)” and instead use first-year student(s), sophomore(s), junior(s), senior(s), or upper-class student(s) when referring to juniors or seniors.

class years, numerical —numerically present class years with apostrophe preceding last two digits of year and no comma between last name and class year, e.g., John Smith ’08. In cases of graduates from previous centuries, give full year, e.g., John Smith 1908. Lowercase “c” in “class of” construction, e.g., John Smith, class of 1908. 

class years, parent —see: parent of a student

cocurricular—no hyphen. Cocurricular implies activities or initiatives which are complementary and go hand-in-hand with the curriculum, while extracurricular implies activities which are additional with no particular relationship to the curriculum.

coed, coeducational—no hyphen

College of the Holy Cross—use the institution’s full name on first reference, College of the Holy Cross. The shortened Holy Cross may be used subsequently, or just “the College,” with capital “C.” It is optional to precede College of the Holy Cross with “the,” but do not capitalize, unless it starts a sentence, since “the” is not part of the formal institution name. Never Holy Cross College. Use only an apostrophe for the possesive form of Holy Cross, e.g., Holy Cross’ mission statement.

commencement—lowercase

composition titles—put quotation marks around book titles, movie titles, song titles, play titles, poem titles, television program titles, and titles of lectures, speeches and works of art.

The Cross—Informal nickname for College of the Holy Cross. Acceptable to use within quotation marks, as stated by someone (e.g., “We’re returning to The Cross for our alumni reunion.”), but do not use in official College text, print or online.

dates—spell out months alone or with a year alone, e.g., November; December 2008. Abbreviate months when together with dates (except March, April, May, June, July), e.g., Nov. 7, 2008; June 25, 2008. Do not use ordinals in dates, e.g., Nov. 7, not Nov. 7th. For date spans, use en dash with no spaces between dates, e.g., Dec. 15–20.

department names— Uppercase formal department names, e.g., Department of Biology. Lowercase informal department names, e.g., psychology department, except when it includes proper nouns, e.g., English department.

Department of Athletics or Athletics department—Athletics is plural, including Athletics Director Nathan Pine.

dollars—for dollar figures equal to or more than one million dollars, present as, e.g., $1 million; $10 billion. For dollar figures less than $1 million present as, e.g., $900,000; $250; $9.99; $4. Do not follow the numerals with the word, dollars.

ellipsis—indicates deletion of  one or more words to condense text, constructed with three periods and one space on either … side. If words preceding an ellipsis make a complete sentence, place a period at the end of the complete sentence, followed by a space, followed by three periods. …

em dash—a long dash that separates clauses within a sentence — one space on either side. (To access in Word tool bar, go to Insert, select Symbols, select Special Characters.)

email—lowercase, no hyphen

en dash—a medium dash used to indicate duration, with no spaces on either side, e.g., 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; 7–10 years old; Jan. 3–7. Also used in phone numbers, no spaces on either side, e.g., 508-793–2300. (To access in Word tool bar, go to Insert, select Symbols, select Special Characters.)

extracurricular—no hyphen. Extracurricular implies activities which are additional with no particular relationship to the curriculum, while cocurricular implies activities which are complementary and go hand-in-hand with the curriculum.

Father/Fr. —on second reference, use abbreviated Fr. preceding last name, e.g., Fr. McFarland. On first reference, use abbreviated Rev. for Reverend preceding full name, e.g., Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Use only S.J. (Society of Jesus) preceded by comma on first, full reference.

GPA—grade point average, no periods.

Greater Worcester—uppercase “G”

The Hill—informal nickname for the Holy Cross campus. Acceptable to use as alternative to Mount St. James.

Hogan Courtyard – Use official Hogan Courtyard in formal College publications and in online content intended for external audiences. Informal "Hoval" or "Hogan Oval" monikers may be used in internal communications, such as on posters and in email notifications on campus.

hyphen—short dash used to join words and to split words at line breaks.

internet—lowercase“i”

intranet—lowercase “i”

Martyrs’ Plaza – Marked by a medallion and located in the brick courtyard in front of St. Joseph Memorial Chapel. Memorializes seven Jesuits and two associates who were murdered in San Salvador in 1989.

MA—postal address abbreviation for Massachusetts.

Mass—uppercase “M” for religious service.

Mass.—geographic, non-postal abbreviation for Massachusetts.

Memorial Plaza – Located in the courtyard behind Fenwick, O’Kane and Smith halls, the plaza memorializes seven alumni who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

months—spell out months alone or with a year alone, e.g., November; December 2008. Abbreviate months when together with dates (except March, April, May, June, July), e.g., Nov. 7, 2008; June 25, 2008. Do not use ordinals in dates, e.g., Nov. 7, not Nov. 7th.

McFarland Center, or McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture—shortened versions of Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, used on subsequent references. (see Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture).

Mount Saint James, Mount St. James—Refers to hill on which Holy Cross is situated, originally Pakachoag Hill. Not Mt. St. James, nor Mt. Saint James.

nonprofit—no hyphen

numerals—spell out numerals one through nine, use numerals for 10 and above

office names—uppercase in formal form, e.g., Office of Admissions. Lowercase in informal form, e.g., admissions office.

online—lowercase, no hyphen

ordinals—spell out first through ninth, use numerals for 10th and above. Do not use ordinals in dates, e.g., Nov. 10, not Nov. 10th.

parent of student—no comma after last name, one space, then capital “P” and class year that student graduates/graduated without apostrophe and without space, e.g., Jane Doe P08. Use a comma to separate multiple parent years, listed in oldest-to-newest order, e.g., Jane Doe P10, P08, P05. If a parent is also an alum of the College, list first and use a comma to separate class year from parent year(s), e.g., Jane Doe ’79, P10, P08, P05.

percent—spell out when used in body text, e.g., 10 percent. Don't spell out numerals, even when less than 10 percent, e.g., 8 percent. Use decimals, not fractions, e.g. 8.5 percent. Use only numerals and % symbol within tables and graphs..

possessive form of Holy Cross—no s following the apostrophe, e.g., Holy Cross’ mission statement; Holy Cross’ campus is on a hill.

prebusiness—no hyphen

prelaw—no hyphen

premedical—no hyphen

Preprofessional programs – Engineering, Health Professions (not Pre-med or Premed), Prebusiness (not Pre-business), Prelaw (not Pre-law), Teacher Education Program.

publication names—capitalize names of newspapers, magazines and news journals. Do not use quotation marks or italics. E.g., New York Times, Holy Cross Magazine, Crusader Nation

Reverend—abbreviate when preceding a name, e.g., Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Subsequent references use abbreviated Fr. McFarland (no S.J.).

Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture—use full name on first reference as shown here, with abbreviated Rev., not full Reverend, spelling out "and," not an ampersand (&). The shortened McFarland Center, or McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, may be used on subsequent references. "The" is not part of the formal name of the McFarland Center, so do not capitalize “the” unless it starts a sentence. Do not use the acronym CREC at all to reference the McFarland Center.

seasons—lowercase spring, summer, winter, fall.

S.J. —Use only S.J. (Society of Jesus) preceded by comma on first reference, e.g., Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Subsequent references, e.g., Fr. McFarland.

St. Joseph Memorial Chapel—not St. Joseph’s Chapel.

student-athlete, student-scholar—hyphenate

state of Massachusetts—lowercase in state and commonwealth of constructions: the state of Massachusetts; the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Abbreviation in non-postal form: Mass., e.g., Located in Worcester, Mass., Holy Cross is exclusively undergraduate. Postal address abbreviation: MA

summer research program—see: Weiss Summer Research Program

telephone numbers/extensions—The form: 508-793-2419. Extensions, x2419.

upper-class student(s)—indicating junior or senior, with hyphen. Not upperclassman/men, nor upperclasswoman/women.

URLs—lowercase website addresses. Unless necessary, no http:// preceding and no underline, e.g., www.holycross.edu. Do underline Web links, e.g., click on Admissions.

web, website—lowercase "w" for web (shorthand for world wide web). The web and web page are two words; website, webcam, webcast, webmaster are one word.

www.holycross.edu—no underline and no http:// preceding except for URLs without www, e.g. http://magazine.holycross.edu, www.holycross.edu/admissions-aid

Weiss Summer Research Program—use full name, Dr. Charles S. Weiss Summer Research Program, on first and formal references, with the abbreviated version, Weiss Summer Research Program, on subsequent and informal references.

Zip code—for Holy Cross + 4 is 01610-2395