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Updated March 2014 
 
The Seattle Pacific University Office of University Communications works to ensure that official SPU print and online publications are accurate and consistent in information, spelling, grammar, and editorial style.

For most editorial style issues, University Communications follows the latest editions of The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual and Webster's New World College Dictionary (Fourth Edition).

However, UC has established instances of a unique usage in SPU's printed and online materials. Those usages are listed here, along with many common terms and usages used in SPU communications. 

For a complete listing of SPU style guidelines, combine this document with The Associated Press Stylebook.

Specific online usages in this guide are noted in blue, this includes specific rules regarding the ongoing school and department website rollovers into the Sitecore content management system (CMS).

SPU Editorial Style Guide

 About Seattle Pacific University. The following official description can be adapted for a variety of publication needs:
Seattle Pacific University is a leading Christian university that equips people to engage the culture and change the world Its comprehensive academic program serves 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Known for both their competence and character, SPU graduates are bringing about positive change in communities around the globe.

academic credits. For suggested course sequences and other course lists, include the number of credits for each course in parenthesis after the course title. Do not include the word “credits.” 

  • Correct: EDU 6655 Human Development and Principles of Learning (3)
  • Wrong: EDU 6524 Approaches to Curriculum Design (3 credits)

academic degrees. Do not use periods in academic degrees, and lowercase phrases that describe someone's academic credentials.

  • He has a master's degree in information management; she holds a doctorate in education.
  • She has a PhD from Harvard.

academic degrees in text. When noting someone's academic credentials in text, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and instead use a phrase.

  • He earned a bachelor's degree in marketing. (NOT He earned a BA in marketing.)
  • She earned a master's degree in business administration. (NOT She earned an MBA.)
  • The professor earned his doctorate in clinical psychology. (NOT The professor earned his PhD in clinical psychology.)

Note: The word "doctorate," rather than the phrase "doctoral degree," is preferred. If you use the abbreviated form of a degree in a listing, or for some other special purpose, only use the abbreviation after a full name, not just a last name. Also, do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and then follow it with the abbreviation in the same reference.

  • Right: Dr. Amy Robertson, a physicist.
  • Wrong: Dr. Amy Robertson, PhD

academic majors. Do not capitalize the names of majors or areas of study. (The only exceptions to this rule are languages, such as English, Russian, etc.)

academic programs. Do not capitalize the word "program" unless it is part of the program's actual title.

African-American. Hyphenate in all uses. This rule is the same for other ethnicities (e.g., Italian-American).

ages. Always use figures for ages, including ages under 10. Use a hyphen for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun, and use a hyphen for ages that substitute for a noun.

  • The boy is 5 years old.
  • A 5-year-old boy.
  • The race was won by a 5-year-old.

All-America, All-American. When using the proper name of an athletics award, use whatever the official name states. Use All-American only when writing about the specific award.

  • Judy Smith is a first-team Kodak All-America selection.
  • Judy Smith was the Falcons' first All-American of the new year.

alumnus, alumna, alumnae, alumni, alum.

  • Alumnus: a man who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alumna: a woman who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alumnae: a group of women who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alumni: a group of men who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year). Or a group of men and women who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alum: slang.

Note: This rule also applies for emeritus, emerita, etc.

a.m. Do NOT capitalize or drop the periods. Include a space between the hour and the a.m. See individual entries for p.m. and times.

  • Right: Crossroads at Gwinn opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. on weekdays.
  • Wrong: The crew practice begins at 5AM daily.

apply. You apply "to" someone and "for" something.

  • Right: The transfer student applied to SPU.
  • Right: The student then applied for a scholarship and grant.

attribution, Response Alumni department and Fac/Staff Bulletin. Response follows AP guideline when attributing sources, using the full name on first reference and the last name on all subsequent references.
However, in the magazine's Alumni Department articles and footnotes, after the first reference, the first name is used instead of the last name. This is the same for news in the Fac/Staff Bulletin.

bachelor's degree. NOT bachelors degree. Do not capitalize.

Back to the top. On long web pages and on pages with anchor links, add and link Back to the top at the bottom of the page, or after the section with the anchor link, so users can go to the top of the page if they choose.

bolding. In bulleted lists for sites moving into Sitecore, especially for Admission Requirements, bold uo to the first four words, especially when they are action items. Bulleted lists in other locations do not need to include bolded items as a rule. 

Correct: As a student in the MEd in Educational Leadership degree program at SPU, you will:  

  • Learn from distinguished faculty with experience and expertise in school and district leadership.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of courses taught on campus or on sites around the Puget Sound.

Bible, biblical. Capitalize Bible when it is used in reference to the Scriptures in the Old Testament and/or the New Testament. Lowercase biblical in all uses. (Also capitalize related terms such as the Gospels, Gospel of St. Mark, the Scriptures, Old Testament, New Testament, the Word, etc.). Lowercase bible when used as a nonreligious term.

  • The communication specialists consider the AP Stylebook their bible for editorial do's and don'ts.

Business Breakfast. See SPU Downtown Business Breakfast.

Board of Regents. A group of high-level SPU advocates and supporters, including former trustees. Capitalize when used as part of the formal title for a specific group. Lowercase in singular usage.

  • Right: The Seattle Pacific University Council of Regents met with the Downtown Business Breakfast speaker.
  • Right: When John Doe left the Board of Trustees, he became a regent.

Board of Trustees. Capitalize when used as part of the formal title for a specific group, as in Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees. Lowercase in other uses. Do NOT use Board of Trustee (singular). See trustee.

capitalization. In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Use a capital letter if you can justify it by one of the principles listed in this style guide, in The Associated Press Stylebook, or in Webster's New World College Dictionary.

capitalization, campus buildings. See proper nouns.

catalog. NOT catalogue. See composition titles.

Centennial. Capitalize for all uses in specific reference to the Seattle Pacific University celebration in 1991. Lowercase in other uses.

Church, church. Capitalize when part of the formal name of a building, congregation, or denomination –– or when referring to all Christians considered as a single body. Lowercase in other uses.

click here. Do not use this phrase on a website. Instead, link descriptive words.

  • Right: The Ames Scholarship Program awards scholarships to ethnically diverse high school graduates. Meet this year's students, and learn how they're already engaging the culture.
  • Wrong: The Ames Scholarship Program awards scholarships to ethnically diverse high school graduates. Read more by clicking here. To meet this year's Ames Scholars, and learn how they're already engaging the culture, click here.

coach. Lowercase, even in front of a name, unless it is the formal job title.

  • Right: The award went to Head Soccer Coach Mark Collins.
  • Right: In August 2005, coach Chris Johnson debuted as the head coach of the women's volleyball team.

colon. Uses include placing the colon at the end of a sentence to introduce lists, tabulations, texts, etc. A colon can also be used to provide emphasis, and to introduce quotations.

Use a comma, not a colon, to introduce a direct quotation of one sentence that remains within a paragraph. Use a colon to introduce longer quotations within a paragraph and to end all paragraphs that introduce a paragraph of quoted material.

  • Three majors were under review: political science, accounting, and English.
  • He had only one hobby: eating.
  • She promised this: Everyone would get raises.

Note: Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence. 

comma. In a break from Associate Press (AP) style, Seattle Pacific University uses the serial comma.
When using commas to separate elements in a series, include a comma before the conjunction.

  • The students filled their backpacks with books, paper, and pens.

composition titles. Capitalize the principal words (including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters) in the names of books, movies, plays, poems, operas, songs, radio and television programs, works of art, etc. Capitalize an article (e.g., the, a, an) if it is the first or last word in a title. When using the infinitive form of a verb, the "to" is not capitalized.

Note: With the exception of the online Undergraduate Catalog, Graduate Catalog, Time Schedules, and SPU handbooks, names of books, plays, movies, television shows, and magazines should be in italic. Names of articles and poems are in quotation marks. See italics, online.

comprehensive university. Seattle Pacific University is a comprehensive university, because it has a liberal arts and sciences college and graduate and professional schools that confer degrees in various fields. It is not a liberal arts university. See liberal arts university.

course titles. Capitalize the principal words (as in a composition title) and enclose in quotation marks, but do not use quotation marks or a colon between course numbers and their names when put into bulleted lists. 

  • Correct: Sophomores who major in Chemistry must take “Introduction to Research Methods.”
  • Correct: HIS 3406 Christianity in America

Note: Official course titles are in Banner. If a change is to be made to a course title, the change must be approved by SPU's registrar and entered into Banner.

course titles. Official course titles are in the Banner Information System. If a change is to be made to a course title, the change must be approved by SPU's registrar and entered into Banner.

credits. Credits must be listed consistently throughout a publication. It is recommended that they follow the rule listed in numbers, but under certain circumstances (e.g., the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog), the writer may choose to use Arabic numbers in all cases, even those smaller than 10.

Daniel J. Martin, JD, EdD. The 10th president of Seattle Pacific University, he took office July 1, 2012, following the retirement of Philip W. Eaton. President Martin was previously the president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Note: The president prefers this usage of his name:

  • In formal instances, spell out "Daniel J. Martin," including the middle initial.
  • In informal instances, use "Dan Martin," omitting his middle initial. Do not use "Daniel Martin" at any time.

dashes. Unlike AP style, which uses only a hyphen, SPU uses three distinct types of dashes: the em dash, the en dash, and the hyphen. Each has specific reasons for use. See individual entries for em dash, en dash, and hyphen. 

dates. A comma follows the year when writing the complete date. Do not add th or st to the numeral.

  • Right: Autumn Quarter classes begin September 27 and end the first week of December.
  • Wrong: On September 27th, Autumn Quarter begins.

Day of Common Learning.

  • Right: The speaker for the Day of Common Learning has been announced.
  • Wrong: In October, The Day of Common Learning was well attended.

degrees. Seattle Pacific University offers the following degrees: BA, BS, MA, MBA, MEd, MFA, MS, MSN, EdD, and PhD.
As of Summer 2012, SPU no longer uses periods to separate the capitalized letters and components of degrees. If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, avoid using abbreviations. Instead, spell out the degree. Use the abbreviations in a list format, or when it would be too cumbersome to list one person with several degrees.

Do not use the abbreviations within text and do not capitalize the degrees within text. 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. See doctorate, PhD

  • Right: John Glancy earned his doctorate in June.
  • Right: The English majors were awarded bachelor of arts degrees in June.
  • Wrong: John Glancy now has an EdD
  • Wrong: She worked hard for a Master's of Marriage and Family Therapy.

degrees, usage in Response.

  • Example, undergraduate degree: Jean Stothert '81 has joined the ranks of America's mayors ? and made history.
  • Example, graduate degree: Shannon Huffman Polson MFA '12 recently published her first book.
  • Example, undergraduate and graduate degree: David Haslam '09, MDiv '12, is a fourth-generation alumnus. (Note the second degree set off by commas.)

deity. Capitalize the proper names of monotheistic deities. Lowercase pronouns referring to the deity.

  • God, Allah, Jehovah, Lord, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Christ, Messiah, etc.
  • he, him, his, thee, thou, who, whose, thy, etc.

dialog. Not dialogue. See titles.

Dissertation, dissertation. Uppercase when used as a program component. Lowercase when used in the generic sense.

doctorate, PhD. If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, avoid using abbreviations. Instead, spell out the degree. Use the abbreviations in a list of people, or when it would be too cumbersome to list one person with several degrees. Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the same degree.

  • Right: Frank Spina, PhD
  • Wrong: Dr. Frank Spina, PhD

dorm. Do not use this term in text. Use residence hall. See residence hall.

Downtown Business Breakfast. See SPU Downtown Business Breakfast.

Dr. When referring to faculty members in text, after the first identification of them in copy, refer to them with a Dr. surtitle. See also Mr., Ms.  

  • Correct: Luke Reinsma, professor of English, is the director of University Scholars. Dr. Reinsma joined the SPU faculty in 1985.

e-. Short for "electronic." Keep the hyphen when creating words such as e-newsletter, but email has no hyphen. See email.

Eaton Hall (EATN). Formerly known as the Science Building (SCI), it was renamed the Philip W. and Sharon K. Eaton Hall in May 2012 by the SPU Board of Trustees. It is acceptable to use Eaton Hall on maps and in text.

e.g. Abbreviation of "for example." Follow the second period with a comma.

  • Several professors came to the picnic (e.g., Dr. Spina, Dr. Reinsma, and Dr. Kato).

email. No hyphen. This is a deviation from The Associated Press Stylebook.

email subject lines. Keep email subject lines for e-newsletters and broadcast emails short and to the point (i.e., less than 50 characters in length). Avoid spam filters by avoiding the word "Free" and words with the letter "x." Help the email's open rate by also avoiding cheesy phrases, and the words "Help," "Percent Off," and "Reminder."

  • Right: SPU Response Magazine's Autumn Issue Available Now
  • Wrong: Help SPU's Free Response Magazine Sign Up 5,000 More Subscribers

em dash. The longest of the three dashes used by SPU, this element gives added emphasis or explanation to a phrase. A comma may also be used in such cases. A space is included on either side of the em dash.

  • Response magazine's circulation grew every year — reaching 58,500 by the end of 2010.

en dash. The principal use of the en dash (–) is to connect numbers that are inclusive. But do not use an en dash in text, when the words "from" and "between" are used.

  • Right: 10–11 a.m.
  • Right: September–June.
  • Wrong: The lecture is from 10–11 a.m. (should be "The lecture is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.")
  • Wrong: Classes run between September–June (should be "Classes run between September and June.")


engaging the culture, changing the world. The official SPU vision language. It is acceptable to insert the word "and."

ensure/insure. Use "ensure" to mean guarantee. Use "insure" only for references to insurance.

  • Steps were taken to ensure accuracy on the report.
  • The policy insures the life of the employee.

entitled, titled. Use "entitled" only to mean that someone has a right to do or have something. "Titled" is the correct word in reference to the names of books or other literary works.

  • The student is entitled to a grade report each quarter.
  • Robert Penn Warren won a Pulitzer Prize for a book titled All the King's Men.

etc. SPU's award-winning prospective student magazine, pronounced e-t-c, is published three times a year. In print and online, the magazine's title should be written in lowercase and bold, not italics.

ethnic minority. Use ethnic minority to describe people of non-Caucasian backgrounds.

  • Right: The Ames Scholarships help ethnic minority students attend Seattle Pacific University.
  • Wrong: The Bridges Floors are for all students, not just students of color.

faculty, staff profile pages. SPU receives more than a million and a half page views during an average month, many of whom are unconnected to the University. For security reasons, remove the following from faculty and/or staff profile pages. Also see SPU-safe CVs.

  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • Personal mobile phone number, unless it is a necessity.
  • Family member’s names and birthdates — especially spouse and child(ren)
  • Personal photos, including of spouse and child(ren)

farther, further. "Farther" refers to physical distance; "further" refers to an extension of time or degree.

  • He walked farther into the woods.
  • She will look further into the situation.

Fellows. This fundraising arm of Seattle Pacific University was eliminated in Autumn 2010. See The SPU Fellows. See President's Circle.

First Free Methodist Church. Adjacent to or near the Seattle Pacific campus. The church is NOT on campus.

floors. When referring to specific floors in campus buildings, capitalize the floors when paired with the buildings' name. Lowercase the floor when used otherwise in text.

  • The conference will be in Upper Gwinn.
  • The students living on Sixth Ashton have some traditions of their own.
  • University Communications is on the lower floor of Weter Hall.

Free Methodist Church of North America. The Protestant denomination that founded Seattle Seminary, the school that became Seattle Pacific University, in 1891. See Seattle Pacific University.

fundraising, fundraiser. One word in all cases.

God. Capitalize when referring to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Lowercase when referring to the deities of polytheistic religions, or in reference to false gods. See deity.

Gospel, Gospels, gospel, gospels. Lowercase unless specifically referring to the first four books of the New Testament (i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). 

GPA, GPAs. All caps, no periods, and no apostrophe, but when pluralized, lowercase the s.

headlines. Capitalize proper nouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs (including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters) in headlines. When using the infinitive form of a verb, the to is not capitalized. See composition titles.

  • Physics Professor Is Awarded Boeing Grant

historic. Use a historic.

home page. two words. Lowercase within text.

hotspot. Originally a clickable area onscreen, a hotspot is now any location with wireless connectivity.

  • Nearly all of the SPU campus buildings and adjacent areas are now hotspots, according to the Office of Computer and Information Systems.

hyphens. Used to separate numbers that are not inclusive, including phone numbers, social security numbers, and sports scores. Also used when designating a university's specific campus. No space needed on either side of a hyphen. In a suspensive structure, use this form:

  • He was looking for a full- or part-time job.
  • She went for a 10- to 12-mile jog.

Because not all email clients display em dashes correctly, two hyphens should replace an em dash in e-newsletters or broadcast emails. In this usage, the hyphens should be treated as em dash, with a space on either side.

  • Sitecore -- SPU's new content management system -- is replacing Contribute campuswide.

i.e. Abbreviation of "that is to say." The second period should be followed by a comma.

  • The students used a computer for their presentation (i.e., they used PowerPoint).

initials. Use periods and no spaces between initials when an individual used initials instead of a first name. This format ensures that once typeset or on a website, the initials will be on the same line.

  • Right: N.T. Wright spoke in the third President's Symposium of the academic year.
  • Wrong: C. S. Lewis is still beloved today.


Internet. Capitalize.

italics, online. In a departure from print style, do not italicize the Undergraduate Catalog, Graduate Catalog, Time Schedule, and names of SPU handbooks (e.g., Employee Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Residence Life Handbook) when used online.

John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development. It's acceptable to refer to this center as the "John Perkins Center" on the second reference.

liberal arts university. Seattle Pacific University is not a liberal arts university, and should not be identified as such in print or on the web. SPU is a "comprehensive university." See comprehensive university.

links. As a "best practice," all links should be set as "default" and not open in a new window.

links, in news-item headlines. In the redesigned sites, do not link a news’ items headline to a site that’s not found either on the department’s site or somewhere on spu.edu. Linking to a non-SPU site within the news item itself is OK.

login, logon, logoff (n.). But use as two words in verb form; this is AP style.

  • Right: Choose a login name that you can remember easily.
  • Right: When you leave your office at night, log off your computer.

Loop, the. Use Tiffany Loop. On September 23, 2003, The Loop was officially rededicated as Tiffany Loop. Do not write The Tiffany Loop.

magazine. Capitalize the word only if it is part of the title. For verification, check the publication masthead or its official website. The same rule applies for journal.

  • SPU's Response magazine has more than 60,000 readers.
  • She reads The Astronomical Journal regularly.

majors, minors, in the redesigned websites. Capitalize the names of majors and minors, but do not capitalize the word “major” or “minor” as part of that 

  • Correct: There are two components to the Integrated Studies major. 
  • Wrong: There are two components to the Integrated Studies Major.

master's degree. NOT masters degree.

Miller Science Learning Center (MSLC). Miller Science Learning Center was officially changed to Otto Miller Hall in 2004. See Otto Miller Hall.

more than, over. The word "over" generally refers to spatial relationships. Use "more than" when referring to numerical relationships. Using "over" in reference to age is permissible.

  • The plane flew over the campus.
  • The campus serves more than 4,000 students.
  • She is over 30.

movie titles. See composition titles.

Mr., Ms. on the redesigned websites. When referring to an instructor or staff member who does not hold a doctoral degree, use “Mr.” or “Ms.” and their last names after the first reference. See Dr.

  • Correct: Francine Peterson is a bassoonist and enjoys a varied career as performer. Ms. Peterson is also an adjunct at Seattle Pacific University in the Music Department.

nonmajor. No hyphen.

numbers. In print, spell out whole numbers below 10; use figures for 10 and above. On websites, in text, follow AP rules; is lists, and when paired with "credits," use arabic numerals for usability reasons. See individual entries for ages and percent.

  • In print: The class has six officers and 30 honor students.
  • Online: The 3-credit class has six sophomores and 10 freshmen.

numbers, academic credits. When numbers and credits are paired, the number should be an Arabic numeral, not spelled out, even when less than 10.

numbers, in lists. In bulleted or numbered lists, when a numeral is within parenthesis to explain the information of that bullet, the numeral should be an arabic number.

Correct:

  • Move through the program in a cohort.
  • Earn a Washington Residency Teacher Certificate (4 quarters).

Correct:

  • In the MAT program, you will move through the program in a cohort, and earn a Washington Residency Teacher Certificate in four quarters.

online. One word, no hyphen, and lowercase unless it is the first word of the sentence.

online catalogs. SPU has two academic catalogs: the Undergraduate Catalog and the Graduate Catalog. They are considered the contracts between students and the University, and they are no longer printed and are instead found online.

Otto Miller Hall (OMH). Once known as the Miller Science Learning Center (MSLC), Otto Miller Hall houses the disciplines of physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, and computer science. Its designation on maps, etc., is OMH. In text, after the first complete use of its name, Miller Hall is acceptable in following references. 

percent. One word. Always use figures for percentages, including percentages under 10, unless referring to multiple references in a document listing numbers or financial information.

  • Right: At SPU, 86 percent of full-time faculty have terminal degrees in their fields.
  • Wrong: In 2004, 13% of students were ethnic minority and international students.

Philip W. Eaton, PhD. The ninth president of Seattle Pacific University, he served from 1995 to 2012. The Science Building was renamed the Philip W. and Sharon K. Eaton Hall upon his retirement. See Eaton Hall.

phone numbers. See telephone numbers.

p.m. Do NOT capitalize or drop the periods. See individual entries for a.m. and times.

  • Right: Senior Preview begins at 4 p.m.
  • Wrong: The basketball game tips off at 7 PM on Friday.

popular names. Some SPU locations and events lack officially designated proper names but have popular names that are the effective equivalent. The names are capitalized. See proper nouns.

  • The Library, Emerson Hall, and the Science Building are the newest campus buildings.

programs. See academic programs.

proper nouns. Capitalize common nouns such as university, office, school, street, ocean, and west when they are an integral part of the full formal name for a person, place or thing:

  • Seattle Pacific University, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, School of Business and Economics, Bertona Street, Pacific Ocean, West Seattle.
  • Lowercase these common nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references: the office, the schools, the street, the ocean.

Capitalize campus buildings and locations when the reference is to a specific SPU entity, but lowercase the item, when the word references a type of building.

  • Right: The SPU Library has thousands of books. This Library also has access to millions more.

Note: There are a very few exceptions to this rule, including the University, when used in specific reference to Seattle Pacific University. See proper names, shortened versions.

Lowercase the common noun elements of names in all plural uses: the departments of English and Mathematics, the Undergraduate Admissions and University Communications offices, Bertona and Cremona streets.

proper nouns. Capitalize nouns that constitute the unique identification for a specific person, place, or thing.

  • Dan Martin, Seattle, history major.

proper names, shortened versions. Some groups, places, and events are known by shortened versions of one-of-a-kind proper names. These have come to be the effective equivalent of proper names such as the University (for Seattle Pacific University). These are rare instances and this should not be interpreted as license to ignore the general practice of lowercasing the common noun elements of a name when they stand alone.

quarters. Capitalize when that word follows the specific quarter. See Summer Session.

  • Autumn Quarter (NOT Fall Quarter), Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter.

Note: Seattle Pacific has no "Summer Quarter." It has two Summer Sessions.

quotation marks. The period and comma go within quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark and exclamation point go within quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted matter. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

regent. Do not capitalize, even if using before a name. See Board of Regents.

Response. Published three times a year by the Office of University Communications, Response magazine is the primary means of communication between SPU and more than 60,000 of its constituents. Readership consists of alumni, friends of SPU, donors, churches, corporations, and the parents of current and newly admitted students.

  • Wrong: Response Magazine.
  • Wrong: The Response.

Note: The web version of the magazine should be written as the online edition of Response or Response online (not Response Online).

Response OnScreen.

residence hall. Do not use the word "dorm" in on- or off-campus publications or websites. SPU has four residence halls: Ashton Hall, Emerson Hall, Hill Hall, and Moyer Hall. University Services prefers them listed alphabetically in publications.

RSVP. Do not use R.S.V.P.

semi-colon. In general, use the semicolon to indicate a greater separateness of thought and information than a comma can convey, but less than the separation a period implies. Use a semi-colon to clarify a series when individual segments contain material that also must be set off by commas.

  • The foundation honored the president, Philip Eaton; three students, Todd Simonson, Molly Stickrod, and Chris Hill; and alumna Lynda Collins of Kalispell, Montana.

Also use a semi-colon to link independent clauses, when a coordinating conjunction such as and, but, or for is not present.

  • The staff meeting was not held today; it will be held on Thursday.

serial comma. In a break from Associate Press (AP) style, Seattle Pacific University uses the serial comma. When using commas to separate elements in a series, include a comma before the conjunction.

  • The students filled their backpacks with books, paper, and pens.

Scripture, Scriptures. Capitalize when referring to the Bible or religious writings in the Bible. See Bible.

Seattle Pacific University. Founded in 1891 as Seattle Seminary, the school organized a College Department in 1910, and was called the Seattle Seminary and College by 1913. Two years later, it became Seattle Pacific College. On June 5, 1977, SPC officially became Seattle Pacific University. For a full history, read A Growing Vision 1891–1991 by Donald McNichols.

In text, the first reference to the University should be Seattle Pacific University. Subsequent references should intermix Seattle Pacific, SPU, and the University. Within larger documents, a decision must be made whether or not to begin each individual section with the full name or not.

SPU-safe faculty CVs. The faculty member should not include the following:

  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • Mobile phone number, unless it is a necessity.
  • Family member’s names and birthdates — especially spouse and child(ren)
  • Personal photos – spouse and child(ren)

sports scores. Follow AP style. Although AP uses only one type of dash, the hyphen is appropriate in these cases. See dashes.

  • The Falcons women's basketball team earned a 73-64 victory over Merrimack (Ma.) in a national semifinal game at the Elite Eight Thursday night in the Summit Arena.

"SPU" on first reference in print. In the section "In the Loop" in Response, use "SPU" on first reference. Elsewhere in Response, use "Seattle Pacific University" on the first reference.

SPU Downtown Business Breakfast. An annual, invitation-only event. The first such breakfast occurred in 1996.

  • Eric Metaxas was the keynote speaker at the 17th annual SPU Downtown Business Breakfast.

SPU Schools and College. Seattle Pacific University is comprised of the following schools:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business and Economics
  • School of Education
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology, Family, and Community
  • School of Theology

SPU street address. In printed documents and publications, spell out 3rd, Avenue, and West whenever possible. Do NOT write "3rd" in any case, unless postal regulations require it for a business-reply card or envelope. On web pages, always write "3rd," and abbreviate Avenue and West. See numbers.

  • Right in print: Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 98119.
  • Right online: Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119.

student(s) of color. See ethnic minority.

Summer Session. Capitalize. Note: Summer school is not the formal name and therefore not capitalized.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Formerly called the Wind Symphony, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble is a select ensemble of wind and percussion players currently directed by Danny Helseth.

Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra is a select ensemble of string, wind, and percussion instrumentalists currently directed by Eric Hanson.

telephone numbers. Use hyphens to separate numbers. In limited cases, as warranted by a publication's style or design, periods may be used to separate numbers.

  • Right: To RSVP, call 206-281-2000.
  • Right: To order a brochure, call 206.281.2000.

The SPU Fellows. This fundraising arm of Seattle Pacific University was eliminated in Autumn 2010. See Fellows. See President's Circle.

The Annual Fund. NOT Annual Fund. "The" is part of the organization's formal name and should be capitalized.

The University Fund. Now called The Annual Fund. See The Annual Fund.

Tiffany Loop. Use Tiffany Loop. On September 23, 2003, The Loop was officially rededicated as Tiffany Loop. Do not write The Tiffany Loop.

times. To save space, it is acceptable to delete the colon and zeros, but be consistent.

Do not include p.m. or a.m. twice when the times are both before noon or after noon. Use an en dash. See individual entries for a.m., p.m., and en dash.

  • Right: Senior Preview begins Thursday at 4 p.m.
  • Right: Students can sign up for two-person rooms in the residence halls, Monday 4–4:30 p.m.
  • Wrong: The Concert Choir performs Monday, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

titles. Capitalize formal titles when used immediately before a name. Lowercase formal titles when used alone or in constructions that set them off from the name by commas.

  • President Dan Martin, Senior Vice President for University Relations Marjorie Johnson, Professor of English Luke Reinsma.
  • The president spoke at the meeting.
  • The students used the 2013–14 Undergraduate Catalog.
  • The class was taught by Jack Levison, professor of New Testament.

Lowercase terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles:

  • actress M'Lissa Hayes, writer Clint Kelly, conference participant Joe Smith, soccer coach Cliff Mark Collings.

Theatre Department, theatre. When referring to SPU's Theatre Department or theatre performances, use the British spelling.

trustee. Do not capitalize, even when using before a trustee's name. See Board of Trustees.

University Fund. No longer called The University Fund. See The Annual Fund.

University offices. In title following a name, lowercase a campus office in which the individual works. When listing a campus location in text, capitalize it.

  • To make tuition payments, students may stop by the Office of Student Financial Services.
  • Jennifer Gilnett, director of university communications, attended four meetings today.

URL. When specific writing web addresses (URLs) in text, *do not use http://_* before an address. Lowercase the letters, per the _AP Stylebook.

  • Find dates and times of campus visit days at spu.edu/visits.


Viewbook. NOT ViewBook. Capitalize only if referring to the title of a particular publication. SPU no longer publishes a Viewbook.

voicemail. One word.

Washington state. NOT Washington State, which is a state university.

Why I Teach at SPU, callouts. Redesigned school and department websites now include Why I Teach at SPU callouts for all full-time faculty members. Faculty members are requested to make their callouts personal and specific to why they teach at SPU, and not just why they teach. Quotes should be between 25 and 30 words for usability and best practices. 

Why I Teach at SPU, photos. Each Why I Teach at SPU callout will include a photo taken by a photographer from University Communications. The photo will be different than a profile picture, and should be taken in the teaching environment, with interaction with students, if possible.

www. Do not include www. as part of web addresses in print or online.

  • Visit us at spu.edu.

web. Lowercase within text. This is a break from AP Stylebook and Wired Style. Do not use World Wide Web.

website. One word, lowercase. Avoid using the term website in a sentence when the URL immediately follows.

  • Wrong: Visit Seattle Pacific University's website at www.spu.edu.
  • Right: Visit Response magazine at www.spu.edu/response.
  • Right: Seattle Pacific University's website is undergoing a redesign.

widows, orphans. A widow is a single word or part of a word, consisting of eight or fewer characters at the bottom of a paragraph of copy.
An orphan is a single word or part of a word consisting of eight or fewer characters at the top of a column on a page of text. Widows and orphans should be eliminated at the proof stages in printed copy.

World Wide Web. Do not use anymore. Use web or website.

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