Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Marketing & Communications



a cappella: note spelling; do not italicize.

acronyms for organizations and groups: capitalize the acronyms and initialisms for such institutions as NOW, ROTC, USDA, UCLA or MIT, without periods or spaces (unless the entity uses such punctuation as part of its proper name). Note: NOW is an acronym because it’s pronounced as a word. USDA is an initialism because each letter is pronounced.

Exception: U.S. should be capitalized and written with periods.

advisor: not adviser

African American: no hyphen in noun or adjective. Also French Canadian, Asian American African, African American, diaspora studies: official name of the interdisciplinary program and major at Wheaton

ages (of people): always use figures

He’s 31 and his son just turned 2.

alumna, alumnus:

alumnus—masculine singular
alumni—masculine plural
alumna—feminine singular
alumnae—feminine plural
alumnae/i—at Wheaton, the preferred plural for a group that comprises men and women
alum—acceptable (in moderation) in informal text

alumnae/i parade: lowercase

the Alumnae/i Association: thereafter, the association

and/&: “and” is the preferred choice in almost all instances. Use the ampersand (&) only when it is part of a proper name, such as a corporate title (e.g., Procter & Gamble).

archaeology: not archeology

armed forces: capitalize Army, Navy and Air Force when referring to United States armed forces, whether or not preceded by the letters U.S.

assistant and associate: do not abbreviate when used in a title, such as Associate Professor of Chemistry Laura Muller

athletic clubs and teams: capitalize.

the Lyons
the Boston Red Sox


Board of Trustees: see trustees.


Christmas, not Xmas

class fund agent

class year: capitalize references to Wheaton class years: She’s in the Class of 1976. Abbreviate as follows: Muffy Pepper ’62. Be sure to use ’ and not ‘. Note: Word will autocorrect the ‘ before a numeral as you type.

coed, coeducation, coeducational: no hyphen

college: do not capitalize the word “college” when referring to Wheaton College on a second reference.

Wheaton College enrolls 1,600 students. Located in Norton, Mass., the college is committed to academic excellence.

comma, serial: do not use the serial comma before “and” or “or.”

The president, vice president and provost spoke at Commencement.

Exception: use the serial comma if its omission might confuse the reader.

She bought bread, milk, chocolate chunks and peanut butter cookies.
To my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

(In the latter sentence, one could infer that the writer’s parents are Ayn Rand and God. With the serial comma, there is no ambiguity: To my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.)

Also: use a semicolon to separate items in a list of long, complex nouns or noun phrases.

The committee will be responsible for hearing cases of alleged abuse; developing and monitoring policy related to abuse; and recommending sanctions when the policy is violated.

Commencement Reunion Weekend: capitalize only when referring to the official college events or weekend.

Commencement Reunion Weekend will soon be here.
Will I see you at Reunion? But:
She’s attending her high school reunion.

comprise means “to include” or “to consist of,” so do not say “comprised of” when you want to say “composed of.” Think “The whole comprises its parts” and you won’t go wrong. (See also AP’s entry on compose, comprise, constitute.)

The United States comprises 50 states and 14 territories.

Connections curriculum: always capitalize Connection(s) when referring to the official Wheaton curriculum. Do not use quotation marks. As with the title of a course, use quotes around the name of a particular Connection:

Connections curriculum
The Connection “Genes in Context” links computer science and philosophy

course titles: capitalize as you would a book title and place in quotation marks. (Quotes are not needed in a list of courses.)

“Introduction to Modern French Literature”

In the context of the course catalog, the registrar abbreviates the department name when a course number follows it.

In addition to an elective course in studio art, ENG 333 is recommended.

currency: see entry under NUMBERS.



Use an en-dash to indicate a range of numbers or a sports score.

The camp is for children ages 6–8.
Commencement Reunion Weekend is May 20–22.
The Sox won 12–0.

Also use an en-dash to hyphenate an open compound noun (e.g., New Haven) and another word:

Some say New Haven–style pizza is the best.

Keystrokes for en-dash
Mac: option-hyphen
PC: control-hyphen

An em-dash is used when there is a strong break or interruption in a sentence.

I admire you—and I always will.

The Psychology Department—one of the best in the country—attracts many bright students

Keystrokes for an em-dash:
Mac: option-shift-hyphen.
PC: control-alt-hyphen

Or (in Word), two hyphens followed by the next word and then a space:
I want to type an em-dash--just because I can. (The (--) will convert to (—) after you type the space after “just.”

dates: use commas before and after the year.

Nov. 9, 1969, is the date of Joe’s birth.

Do not place a comma between the month and year when no day is mentioned, or between season and year.

October 1965
Fall 1997

        For day and month only, spell our the day and the month (with no year); example:

Saturday, December 7

For day, month and year, abbreviate the day and month; example:

Sat., Dec. 7, 1969

decades: no apostrophe: 1960s, 1890s.

degrees (academic)

bachelor’s degree
master's degree
doctor’s degree, doctoral degree, doctorate

Do not capitalize college degrees when spelled out:

She has a bachelor of science degree in biology, a master of arts in literature and a doctorate in philosophy. Her younger brother is completing his bachelor’s.


bachelor of arts—B.A.
bachelor of arts—A.B. (Wheaton’s degree, from Artium Baccalaureus)
bachelor of science—B.S.
master of science—M.S.
master of arts—M.A.
master of business administration—M.B.A.
doctor of philosophy—Ph.D.
doctor of education—Ed.D.

departments (academic):

the Chemistry Department—thereafter, the department or Chemistry

Note: Do not capitalize words such as “departments,” “offices,” “schools” when referring to more than one office, school or department.

The departments of English, Classics and History.

Dr. On first reference, use the courtesy title Dr. when referring to a doctor of medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine. Thereafter, do not use the title. Do not use the title to designate a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.).


earth, Earth: lowercase in generic references; uppercase when used as the proper name of the planet.

I’d move heaven and earth to be with you.
He studies the similarities and contrasts between Mars and Earth.

ellipsis ( ... )

To indicate omitted words within a sentence, use <space>...<space>
To indicate omitted words after a full sentence, use ....<space>

The house ... stood on its own and looked over a broad spread of West Country farmland....
It was about thirty years old, squattish, squarish, made of brick, and had four windows....

—Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

email not e-mail. (AP style change 04/2010)

empty nesters


student-faculty research, not faculty-student. Per Mary Casey and the provost, 11/2011

farmers market¹: no apostrophe, as in the Parents Fund

First-Year Seminar: note the hyphen. Also, FYS.

Founder’s Day (singular, referring to Eliza B. Wheaton)

Founders Society: Wheaton Founders Society is the official name of the group of donors who have included Wheaton in their will or established a life-income gift.

fundraise, fundraiser, fundraising: Spelled closed whether used as a noun or an adjective (now AP style)


¹  This construction represents an “attributive” use of the noun (farmers), not a possessive. The noun is used as an adjective that modifies “market.” For a full explanation, see The Chicago Manual of Style.

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