To preserve and further Ithaca’s reputation for quality, we offer the following guide to the college’s official editorial style and a list of official wordings of names and places. This document is meant to ensure consistency, clarity, and credibility in official college communications. Our primary reference books are the latest editions of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and The Chicago Manual of Style, adapted to the particular needs of our campus.
Please find below a "Quick Guide" to IC Style. If you cannot find what you are looking for below, please reference the complete Editorial Standards and Official Names and Places list in the sidebar.
A Note on Capitalization
For the sake of clarity and readability, we agree with Chicago’s plea for a “down style,” that is, one that avoids unnecessary capitalization: “Understanding is best served by capitalizing only what are clearly proper nouns and adjectives in the context under discussion.”
Quick Guide to IC Style
IC 20/20: The college's strategic plan to transform the student learning experience
ICC: Integrative Core Curriculum
ICNYC: IC's program in New York City
Class year - Apostrophe should face to the left, and graduate degrees should follow undergraduate degrees, separated by a comma.
George Doe ’67
George Doe ’97, M.S. ’98
Degree names - Full names of degrees are lowercased; abbreviations are uppercased and take periods
bachelor of science degree in chemistry, bachelor’s degree in chemistry, B.S. in chemistry
master of business administration, M.B.A.
doctorate in English, Ph.D. [NB: As at many other colleges and universities, “Dr.” is used to designate the holder of a medical, not an academic, degree]
Compound modifiers - As a general guideline, compound modifiers are open or hyphenated before the noun, and open after the noun: she was well known; a well-known authority, a first-year student, an off-campus apartment, she will live off campus.
email (without the hyphen), but e-book, e-newsletter, etc.
ithaca.edu, ithaca.edu/marcom (Do not us the www, unless a URL will not work without it.)
log-in (n.), log in (v.)
the web; web page, web designer; website, webcast, webmaster
Course Titles - Official names of courses are title case, without quotation marks or italics:
Cases in Contemporary Management, the contemporary management course; Introduction to Photography, the introductory photography course.
Departments - Department names are capitalized when using the full name, lowercased when referred to generically.
Department of Biology, the biology department [This system of capitalization holds for the other departments as well. Check the college directory (ithaca.edu/offices) for complete listings of departments and offices.]
Majors and minors - With the obvious exception of proper nouns and adjectives (e.g., English, German area studies), majors and minors are lowercased. A complete list of majors and minors can be found in the undergraduate catalog (ithaca.edu/catalogs).
Numbers and Numerals - Spell out numbers one through nine and their corresponding ordinals, and use numerals for larger numbers: e.g., three blind mice, 24 blackbirds baked in a pie; the second out of the ninth inning, the 21st century. Such multiples as one hundred or nine thousand may also be spelled out. When the number begins a sentence or course title, spell it out: Twenty-five students are taking Twentieth-Century American Drama this semester.
Use a comma in numbers with four or more digits—e.g., 3,256.
% - Use numerals for percentages, even in running text. The percent symbol (%) may be used in tables, but in non-scientific running text, write out the word: Only 6 percent of the residents filled out the survey.
Personal, Organizational, and Place Names
& - Allow an ampersand in running text only if it’s part of the official name, e.g., Procter & Gamble, Ogilvy & Mather.
Inc. - Do not use “Inc.” or “Ltd.” in running text unless absolutely necessary; when they must be included, do not use a comma: Time Inc. publishes Time magazine.
Maiden Names - Maiden names precede married names and are not placed in parentheses or quotation marks: Elizabeth Smith Brown ’90.
Alumni – alumnus (singular male), alumni (plural male or plural male and female); alumna (single female), alumnae (plural female) [NB: “Alumni” is not singular, despite common usage. “Alum” should be used only in informal contexts.]
Emeritus - professor emeritus, professors emeriti; professor emerita, professors emeritae
Letter Grades - Plurals of letter grades do not take an apostrophe before the s: She gave out more As than Bs this semester.
Serial Comma - To avoid ambiguity, use commas to separate all items in a series: a, b, and c. If the items contain internal punctuation or are complex, use semicolons instead of commas.
Spelling - In the case of alternate spellings or plurals, we use the first entry in Webster’s.
Titles and Offices
Academic and Professional Titles- In general, titles before a name are capitalized when they may be seen as part of the name or as a form of address; when they act as appositives (that is, when they modify the name), they are lowercased. Named professorships may be capitalized after the name.
Ithaca College president Thomas Rochon, President Thomas Rochon, President Rochon, the president
professor of business administration Fahri Unsal, Professor Fahri Unsal
Dana Professor of Biology Vicki Cameron; Vicki Cameron, Dana Professor of Biology; Professor Cameron
Titles of Works
Musical Compositions - Song titles are roman and quoted, while the titles of long musical compositions, like operas, are italicized: the “La vendetta” from The Marriage of Figaro, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel
Publications - Titles of short stories and poems are roman and quoted; novels and long poems are italicized, but generic sections are roman and lowercased: Frost’s “Stopping by Woods,” Dante’s Inferno, chapter 3 in The Catcher in the Rye.
Plays of all lengths are italicized: Romeo and Juliet.
Magazines, journals, and other periodicals are italicized; sections or individual articles are roman and quoted: the “Talk of the Town” department in the New Yorker.
Official Names of Buildings
Athletics and Events Center (A&E Center on Second Reference)
Campus Center [comprising Phillips Hall and Egbert Hall]
Center for Health Sciences, health sciences center, CHS
Center for Natural Sciences, natural sciences center, CNS
Center for Public Safety and General Services, public safety/general services building
Ceracche Athletic Center, Ceracche Center
Clinton B. Ford Observatory, Ford Observatory, the observatory
Dillingham Center for the Performing Arts, Dillingham Center
Caroline Werner Gannett Center, Gannett Center
J. David Hammond Center for Student Health Services, Hammond Health Center, the health center
Laurence S. Hill Center, Hill Center
Ithaca College London Center, London Center
Ithaca College James B. Pendleton Center in Los Angeles, James B. Pendleton Center in Los Angeles
Herman E. and Florence S. Muller Memorial Chapel, Muller Chapel, the chapel
Muller Faculty Center, Muller Center
Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, School of Business building [NEVER just Park Center]
Roy H. Park Hall, Park Hall
Harold F. and Lois M. Smiddy Hall, Smiddy Hall
Robert B. Tallman Rowing Center
James J. Whalen Center for Music, Whalen Center for Music, Whalen Center
Peggy Ryan Williams Center