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Writing Style Guide A-Z

A-Z Reference

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academic degrees

Capitalize the name of the field or degree program only when the full degree name is spelled out and the discipline is included. If abbreviating a degree, the discipline should be lowercase: Use periods when abbreviating degrees.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
She will receive a B.S. in psychology.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics.
Seventy people hold bachelor’s degrees.
He has a Master of Arts in History.
She will receive an M.S. in recreation.
He earned a master’s degree in mathematics.
Forty people hold master’s degrees.
She is enrolling in a Master of Arts in Teaching program.
Mary has a master of arts from SUNY Cortland.
She has a Ph.D. in chemistry.
He received his doctorate in chemistry.

The word “degree” should not follow a degree abbreviation:

Correct: He has a B.A. in history.
Incorrect: He has a B.A. degree in history.

Also see entries under alumni.

academic year

When referring to an academic year, write the first date with all four digits followed by a hyphen and only the last two digits for the second year.

The planning meeting for the 2017-18 Academic Calendar was postponed.


When a group or organization uses an acronym, write out the complete name followed by the acronym in parentheses. Keep the periods in acronyms that include them.

Some commonly used acronyms at Cortland are:

  • Academic Support and Achievement Program (ASAP)
  • Access to College Education (ACE)
  • Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC)
  • Campus Artist and Lecture Series (CALS)
  • Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS)
  • Center for Obesity Research and Education (C.O.R.E.)
  • Computer Applications Program (CAP)
  • Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educator’s (C.U.R.E.) Program
  • Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
  • Systems Administration and Web Services (SAWS)

Additional offices with acronyms are listed in the SUNY Cortland Directory of Campus Offices PDF.


The College address

The College address should appear as follows:

SUNY Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045-0900

State University of New York College at Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045-0900

When including the name of a person, the department and building, use the following styles:

Provost Mark Prus
Division of Academic Affairs 
Miller Building, Room 408
SUNY Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045-0900

Dean John Cottone
School of Professional Studies
Professional Studies Building, Room 1175
State University of New York College at Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045-0900

When using a return address on a form, include department and building names so the form may be delivered to the correct office.

See room listings and numbers on how to write office locations.

email addresses

Email addresses for all faculty and staff are written “first name.last” and using lowercase letters.

When including an email link in a Web page, avoid writing out the full email address. Write descriptive text and make that the email link.

Email John (This is an example only.)

Web addresses

Do not italicize, bold, underline, capitalize or use all capital letters to emphasize Web addresses. Try to avoid putting a period at the end of the address; recast your sentence if possible. It is not necessary to include http:// or www. when writing a College Web address. or

When adding hyperlinks to Web pages, avoid writing the URL as the link text. Make the link text descriptive of the link's destination.

View our scholarships

For other, external Web addresses use the spelling, capitalization and specifications of the website's owner.

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not adviser

advisory bodies

Capitalize references to a specific body of advisors heading executive departments for the president. Lowercase the shortened version on second reference.

The Board of Trustees meets in December. The board sets the policy on funding for the College.
She has been a trustee for four years.
The President’s Cabinet meets each week. The cabinet met on Tuesday last week.
Provost’s Council is held every other week. Her resignation left a vacancy on the council.
The Faculty Senate meets every two weeks.
The next meeting of the Cortland College Foundation Board of Directors will be in November.


Because the full phrase would read in the year of the Lord 96, the abbreviation A.D. goes before the figure for the year: A.D. 96.

African American

People of African descent living in the United States. See Black.


Stands for African, Latin American, Native and Asian. The term is inclusive of ethnic minority groups living in the United States

all right

Written as two words.

alma mater

The only instance in which alma mater should be capitalized is in reference to a college’s song.

He sang the Alma Mater at his alma mater.


See the class year listing for additional information.

Class years should appear after a graduate’s name in all correspondence with SUNY Cortland alumni, all alumni publications and formal publications such as the Commencement program. College buildings named after alumni will contain the class year of the alumni on official plaques commemorating the building and in correspondence with alumni.

Identify SUNY Cortland alumni by their class year(s) with an apostrophe before the year. The apostrophe should slant to the right.

Correct: Tom Hubbell ’57 is a member of the team.
Incorrect: Tom Hubbell ‘57 is a member of the team.

If a person has more than one bachelor’s degree from the College, place a comma between the class years:

Sally Smith ’75, ’78, will speak at the event.

If a person has more than one degree from the College, list them as follows:

Avi Javitz ’78, M.A. ’80, won the prize.

Degrees and certificates other than bachelor’s should be listed as follows:

Susan Marshall M.S.Ed. ’87 was named Teacher of the Year.
Mehta Patel C.A.S. ’82 is the school superintendent.

In Columns, a master's degree is designated with an M before the year.

Jeb Jones M ’08 donated $500 to The Cortland Fund.

Identify alumni in the following manner:

  • Alumna: feminine singular
  • Alumnae: feminine plural
  • Alumnus: masculine singular
  • Alumni: masculine plural or masculine and feminine plural

She is an alumna of SUNY Cortland.
Alumnus Ralph Murphy organized the best tailgate event of the season.
Nu Sigma Chi alumnae donated to the Parks Alumni House fund.
The alumni gathered in Cortland to celebrate.

Alumni Association

The commonly used name is SUNY Cortland Alumni Association. On second and subsequent references, Alumni Association can be written as a short version. When the word "association" is used alone it should be lowercase.

The name Cortland College Alumni Association, Inc., appears in a few instances because the name is incorporated and will remain this way unless legally changed. The official legal name is utilized in contracts, legal documents such as the confidentiality agreement, insurance, bank accounts/credit cards, health permits, official meeting agendas, vendors, checks and anything to do with the association's non-profit status or in ownership of the Parks Alumni House.

alumni numbers

Contact the Public Relations Office when the number of living alumni needs to be referenced. In most other cases use the following sentence.

In its 146*-year history, SUNY Cortland has graduated more than 68,000* students. Alumni reside in all 50 U.S. states and more than 40 countries.
* These numbers are updated annually. Check with the Alumni Engagement or Public Relations offices for the current figures.

and vs. ampersand (&)

Spell out the word “and.” Do not use an ampersand (&) except in proper names, such as Johnson & Johnson.


See Middle Easterners.

Asian American

People of Asian descent living in the United States, including, but not limited to, people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino and Nepalese heritage. People from India may prefer to be called South Asian. People from Pakistan may prefer to be called West Asian.


SUNY Cortland recognizes the following awards at its annual Commencement ceremonies:

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Classified Service
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Internationalization
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Librarianship
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities
Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Information on other awards can be found at the following websites:

Research and Sponsored Programs
Faculty and Staff Excellence
Student Excellence
Honors Convocation

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Banner Web


Because the full phrase would be in the year 43 before Christ, the abbreviation B.C. is placed after the figure for the year: 43 B.C.


An inclusive term for people of African descent, including, but not limited to, people from North and South America, the Caribbean and Africa. See African American.

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campus names and locations

Building Names

Use of a campus building’s short name is preferred in most cases. The full name is most appropriately used in historical reference materials and for formal occasions.

Official Short NameLong Name
Alger Hall Minnie M. Alger Hall
Bishop Hall Maria W. Bishop Hall
Bowers Hall Ross E. Bowers Hall
Broadway House Broadway House (29 Broadway, Cortland, NY)
Brockway Hall George A. Brockway Hall
Casey Tower James F. Casey Tower
Cheney Hall Francis J. Cheney Hall
Clark Hall William H. Clark Hall
Commissary/Central Receiving Commissary/Central Receiving
Corey Union Fay L. Corey Union
Cornish Hall William A. Cornish Hall
Davis Building Carl A. "Chugger" Davis Building
DeGroat Hall Harry W. DeGroat Hall
Dowd Fine Arts Center Ruth E. Dowd Fine Arts Center
Dragon Hall Dragon Hall
Education Building Education Building
Fitzgerald Hall Lawrence J. Fitzgerald Hall
Glass Tower Hall Glass Tower Hall
Hayes Hall Ina M. Hayes Hall
Hazardous Waste Building (HAZWST)  Chemical Management Facility
Heating Plant Heating Plant
Hendrick Hall Hendrick Hall
Higgins Hall R. Paul Higgins Hall
Interfaith Center Cortland Interfaith Center
Leadership House Leadership House
Lusk Field House Clayton R. Lusk Field House
Main Street SUNY Cortland Main Street SUNY Cortland (9 Main St., Cortland, NY)
McDonald Building James M. McDonald Building
Memorial Library Cortland College Memorial Library
Miller Building Nathan L. Miller Administration Building
Moffett Center Donovan C. Moffett Center
Neubig Hall Charles and Ida Neubig Hall
O'Heron Newman Hall Rev. Edward J. O'Heron Newman Hall
Old Main Old Main
Park Center Bessie L. Park 1901 Physical Education and Recreation Center
Parks Alumni House Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House (29 Tompkins St., Cortland, NY)
(See separate entry for room names.) 
President's Residence President's Residence
Professional Studies Building Professional Studies Building
Randall Hall Henry S. Randall Hall
Service Group Service Group
Shea Hall James M. Shea Hall
Smith Tower Donnal V. Smith Tower
Sperry Center Elmer A. Sperry Learning Resources Center
Stadium Complex SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex
Van Hoesen Hall Ella Van Hoesen Hall
West Campus Apartments West Campus Apartments
West Court Street Building West Court Street Building (22 W. Court St., Cortland, NY)
Whitaker Hall Katherine A. Whitaker Hall
Winchell Hall Eileen M. Winchell Hall

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Campus Room or Location Names

Use of a campus facility’s short name is preferred in most cases.

Short NameLong NameBuilding or Location
Alumni Arena Park Center Alumni Arena Park Center
Beard Building Gallery Beard Building Gallery Main Street SUNY Cortland, 9 Main St., Cortland, NY 13045
Blanchard ’23 Gross Motor Skills Room Ruth Hart Blanchard ’23 Gross Motor Skills Room Education Building Child Care Center
Bowers Science Museum Bowers Science Museum Bowers Hall
Brooks Museum Rozanne M. Brooks Museum Moffett Center, Room 2126
Brown Auditorium Ralph A. Brown Auditorium Old Main
Caleion Room Caleion Room Corey Union
C-Club Pavilion C-Club Pavilion Picnic pavilion near Park Center and Wallace Field
Child Care Center SUNY Cortland Child Care Center, Inc. Education Building, Room 1000
Clark Atrium Patricia A. Clark Atrium Education Building Child Care Center
College Store The College Store Neubig Hall
Colloquium, aka, Faculty Colloquium Colloquium Old Main, Room 220
Corey Gymnasium Whitney T. Corey Gymnasium Park Center
Corey Union Plaza Corey Union Plaza Open area between Corey Union and Fitzgerald Hall
Curry ’52 Main Lobby Margaret A. "Peggy" Curry ’52 Main Lobby Brockway Hall
Dowd Gallery Dowd Gallery Dowd Fine Arts Center
Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre Ruth E. Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre Dowd Fine Arts Center
Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre Ruth E. Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre Dowd Fine Arts Center
Exhibition Lounge Corey Union Exhibition Lounge Corey Union, Room 220
Fireplace Lounge Corey Union Fireplace Lounge Corey Union, Room 219
Fowler ’52 Grand Entrance Hall Dorothea Kreig Allen Fowler ’52, M ’74 Grand Entrance Hall Old Main
Function Room Corey Union Function Room Corey Union, Room 316
Gazebo Gazebo Located next to tennis courts near Park Center
Hall of Fame Room C-Club Hall of Fame Room Park Center, Room 1118
Hobson ’61 Lecture Hall Mary L. Hobson ’61 Lecture Hall Sperry Center, Room 104
Holloway Field T. Fred "Prof" Holloway Field Stadium Complex
Holsten Pool Harriet Holsten Pool Park Center
Horak Training Facility Karel Horak Athletic Training Facility Stadium Complex
Stephen J. Hunt ’72 VIP Lounge Stephen J. Hunt ’72 VIP Lounge Stadium Complex
Jacobus Lounge Theodore Jacobus Room Brockway Hall, Room 112
Johnson Lecture Hall Ellis Johnson Memorial Lecture Hall Sperry Center, Room 106
Morgan Room Ruth M. Morgan Room Dowd Fine Arts Center
Newmark Pavilion Theodore Newmark Pavilion Campus quad
Old Main Third Floor Mezzanine Old Main Third Floor Mezzanine Old Main
Planetarium Planetarium Bowers Hall
Poskanzer Conference Room Charles N. Poskanzer Conference Room Moffett Center, Room 103
Rumore Computer Lab Victor M. Rumore ’84 Economics Department Computer Lab Old Main
Sciera Room John L. Sciera Athletic Training Room Park Center
Thurlow ′82 Resource Room Angela Priore Thurlow ′82 Resource Room Education Building Child Care Center 
Tomik Fitness Facility William A. Tomik Fitness Facility Van Hoesen Hall
Wheeler ′43 Gallery  Marjorie Bremiller Wheeler ′43 and Henry Adams Wheeler Gallery  Dowd Fine Arts Center Dowd Gallery
Wickwire Room Helen Wickwire Room Dowd Fine Arts Center
Wallace Field Robert Wallace Field Baseball field near Park Center and Lusk Field House
Woods Fitness Facility Francis Woods Fitness Facility Park Center
Dr. Zipp Student Research Laboratory Dr. Arden P. Zipp Student Research Laboratory Bowers Hall, Room 1303

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Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House Rooms

Short NameLong NameLocation
Alumni Association Solarium Alumni Association Board of Director's Solarium  First Floor
Bocklet Breakfast Room Bocklet Family Breakfast Room First Floor
Brown Bedroom The George Brown ’33 Room Second Floor
Conley Bedroom The Louise McCarthy Conley Room Second Floor
Curry Bedroom The Margaret Curry ’52 Room Second Floor
Dunlavey Pub Jean Dunlavey ’64 Pub Basement
Goodale Library The Goodale Library First Floor
Judy Levine Living Room Judy (Julia) Wright Levine ’64 and Max Levine Living Room First Floor
Kradyna Kitchen Kradyna Kitchen First Floor
Nu Sigma Chi Dining Room Nu Sigma Class of ’68 Dining Room First Floor
Phillips Bedroom The Carol Wilsey Phillips ’48 Room Second Floor
Rist Bedroom The Arnold ’47 and Roberta Rist Room Second Floor
Rist Sitting Room The Arnold ’47 and Roberta Rist Suite Sitting Room Second Floor
Sorbella Bedroom The James ’81 and Nancy Niskin Sorbella ’82 Room Second Floor

Off-campus locations

Short NameLong NameLocation
Brauer Education Center Robert C. Brauer Memorial Education Center Selkirk, N.Y.
Hoxie Gorge Hoxie Gorge Nature Preserve Cortland, N.Y.
Main Street SUNY Cortland Main Street SUNY Cortland (It is incorrect to refer to it as the Beard Building.) 9 Main St, Cortland, NY 13045
Mohawk Valley Graduate Center (MVGC) SUNY Cortland Mohawk Valley Graduate Center MVCC, Utica, N.Y.

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The William H. Parks Family Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education includes

Antlers (A)
Camp Huntington (H)

all located at Raquette Lake, N.Y.

Short NameLong Name
Outdoor Education Center   Outdoor Education Center at Raquette Lake
Antlers Antlers
Arethusa Porch Arethusa Sorority Porch (Antlers Dining Hall)
Arethusa Porch Arethusa Sorority Porch (Camp Huntington Dining Hall Porch)
The Barque The Barque (Houseboat) (H)
Camp Huntington Huntington Memorial Camp
Carlson Classroom Marcia K. Carlson Classroom (H)
Casino Building Casino Building (A)
Cedars Lodge Cedars Lodge (A)
Chalet Chalet (H)
Clemens Library Clemens Biological Sciences Library (H)
Coolidge Cabin Coolidge Cabin (H)
Cummings Dining Room Jay Cummings Dining Room (A)
Cummings Fireplace Kris Cummings Fireplace (Cummings Dining Room)
Durant Cabin  Durant Cabin (H)
Forsythe ’58 Carpenter's Shop John Forsythe ’58, M ’65 Carpenter's Shop (H)
Fuge Dining Room George Fuge Dining Room (H)
Hill Cottages Hill Cottages  (A)
Huntington Staff House Huntington Staff House (H)
Kirby Camp Kirby Camp (H)
Knox Classroom Knox Classroom (H)
Main Lodge Main Lodge (A)
McDermott Hall Marcia Spaeth McDermott Hall (H)
Metcalf Hall Harlan "Gold" Metcalf Hall (H)
Morley ’77 Flagpole Sandra G. Morley ’77 Flagpole (H)
Mosely Glass Dining Room Louise Mosely Glass Dining Room (H)
Pierson Room Joe Pierson Room (H)
Sheltmire Cabin Jack C. Sheltmire M ’73 Cabin aka Trapper's Cabin (H)
Spruce Dorm Spruce Dormitory (H)
White Birch Dorm White Birch Dormitory (H)
Yellow Birch Dorm Yellow Birch Dormitory (H)

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not catalogue

cell phone

not mobile


Lowercase, spelling out numbers less than 10: the first century, the 20th century, the 21st century.


not chairman, chairwoman or chairperson


A term reflecting pride in the indigenous roots of the Mexican American people. Chicana is the feminine form of this word. See Hispanic, Latino/Latina.

class designation

Use the following to indicate a student’s class designation: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior.

Use “freshman” when referring to an individual or the whole body of students. Use “freshmen” when the term is a plural noun.

The term “first-year student” refers to freshmen. Transfer students identify as either being a transfer student or with their class year such as sophomore, junior, etc.

He is a freshman.
The freshman class is filled with freshmen.
Freshmen may apply for the award.
The senior class is sponsoring the lecture.
She is a junior biology major.
Marjorie, a graduate student in education, will give a presentation.
A group of 30 first-year students signed up for the orientation program.

class year

Numerical class years are used after an individual’s name only after they have graduated from SUNY Cortland.

In program or committee listings, rather than using a numerical class year, indicate the status of a current student using the class designation of freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, along with the student’s major.

Jane Doe, junior, adolescence education: English
John Smith, senior, biology

In the body of a story, current students may be referred to in a variety of ways.

Jane Doe, a junior majoring in adolescence education: English, received the Marion Thompson Award. 
John Smith, a biology major in his senior year, will attend graduate school.

Write out the entire class date when referring to the whole class. Capitalize “Class” when referring to a specific graduating class.

The Class of 1983 raised $50,000 as a reunion gift to the College.
The Class of 2002 had 1,200 students.
John Smith was a member of the Class of 1975.


Names of classes are not capitalized unless the specific name of a class is used or the class uses a proper noun or numeral.

She took classes in mathematics, physical education and French.
She is planning to take History of Psychology and Community Recreation.

clean up (v.)

The students had to clean up the mess.

cleanup (n., adj.)

The cleanup took them two hours.
No one signed up for the cleanup committee.


Capitalize the word “college” when it refers to SUNY Cortland:

Many SUNY Cortland graduates and their spouses visit the College during Alumni Weekend.

The word “Cortland” or “College” may be used in subsequent or second references to SUNY Cortland.

Refer to the College as SUNY Cortland when recording a voice-mail greeting.

While no longer officially acceptable, the name “Cortland College” still appears in a few instances because the names are incorporated and will remain this way unless legally changed.

  • Cortland College Alumni Association, Inc.
  • Cortland College Foundation, Inc.

College Store

The College Store, not the Book Store, is the preferred name of the retail establishment where textbooks and other College-related and general-interest merchandise are sold.

comma (serial)

Do not use a comma before the words “and” or “or” in a series unless it is needed for clarity.

She bought a printer, paper, envelopes and an ink cartridge.

Commencement, Undergraduate Commencement, Graduate Commencement

Capitalize when referring to the annual graduation ceremonies.

committee, council and panel names

Capitalize names of specific committees, councils and panels. When not using the full name of the group, write the word in lowercase letters.

The president of the Student Government Association gave a presentation to the College Council.
An announcement will be made when the search committee has chosen a candidate.
The Faculty Senate Steering Committee is seeking new members.
The steering committee is seeking new members.

composition titles

See publication and event titles in this guide.

course work

Written as two words.

Cortland College Alumni Association, Inc.

While no longer officially acceptable, the name “Cortland College” still appears in a few instances because the names are incorporated and will remain this way unless legally changed.
The commonly used name is SUNY Cortland Alumni Association.

Cortland College Foundation, Inc.

While no longer officially acceptable, the name “Cortland College” still appears in a few instances because the names are incorporated and will remain this way unless legally changed.

credit hour

not semester hour

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dash style

Put a space between a long dash and the words that come before and after it.


Consecutive dates can be written several ways.

The play will be performed Jan. 2-25.
The play will be performed from Jan. 2 to Jan. 25.
Matinee performances will be Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 12-13.

Use “through” when changing months or when including days of the week.

The play will be held Jan. 22 through Feb. 22.
The final examination period runs from Monday, Dec. 14 through Friday, Dec. 18.

Do not use th or st with numbers

Correct: Submit applications by May 1.
Incorrect: Submit applications by May 1st.

day care (n.)

She has two boys in day care.

day-care (adj.)

The day-care center opens at 6 a.m.


Always spell out days of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

When writing them in a range, use Monday to Friday or Monday through Friday.


See academic degrees


The word “department” follows the unit name and is capitalized. For example, Art and Art History Department.

Correct: The Political Science Department will hold a panel discussion.
           Imran Sidhu, History Department, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
           Wolfgang Preissler, Performing Arts Department (music), will play at the concert.
           Maya Martinez, English Department, will present a paper at the conference.
           The Athletics Department has moved into its renovated offices in Park Center.

Incorrect: The Department of Chemistry has moved its offices.

The word “department” should be lower case when it appears without the actual department name.

The department boasts the most professors with doctorates.

A department name should be lower case when written without the word “department” after it, except
English or any department whose name is a language.

Rania Matthews, history, defended her dissertation last month.
Zane Smith, English, recently published his first book of poetry. 

When writing a list of more than one department, lowercase the word department.

The Geography, English and Political Science departments have offices in Old Main.

Do not use the following names when referring to the University Police Department:

Incorrect: Campus Police Department
Incorrect: Campus Safety Department
Incorrect: Campus Security Office
Incorrect: College Police Office
Incorrect: Public Safety Department
Incorrect: Public Safety Office


See entry under people first language


The word “division” precedes the names of the four divisions at the College: academic affairs, finance and management, institutional advancement and student affairs. Capitalize the word “division” when it appears with an official unit name. For example, Division of Student Affairs.

The Division of Academic Affairs is located in the Miller Building.
Eliza Yaman, Division of Institutional Advancement, will lead the panel discussion.

Do not capitalize the word “division” when it appears without the actual name.

The vice president for finance and management said the division will be hiring several new employees.

dot com (n.)

He was laid off from the dot com last year.

dot-com (adj.)

The effects of the dot-com bust have been widespread.

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Email is written without a hyphen and capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

See email policies and standards


Accordng to the SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees, 2006, members of the university faculty who retire in good standing, in accordance with the provisions of Title B or C of Article XV shall be entitled to append the term "Emeritus" to the title of their academic or administrative post after the time of retirement.

At SUNY Cortland, the emeritus designation is left to the discretion of the College's president. 

See also the College Handbook, 220.09 Emeritus Faculty, for more information.

  • Emerita: feminine singular
  • Emeritae: feminine plural
  • Emeritus: masculine singular
  • Emeriti: masculine plural or masculine and feminine plural

The president invites emeriti to an annual luncheon in August.
Three emeritae professors presented at last week’s conference on gender equity.

Academic titles

  • Professor Emeritus of English
  • Lecturer IV Emerita of Economics

Leticia Rodriguez, professor emerita of English, received the award.
Vincenzo Valente, distinguished professor emeritus of art and art history, has been nominated.
Associate Professor Emeritus of History John Powell will introduce the speaker.

Administrative titles

  • Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus
  • Director of Facilities Emerita

Registrar Emeritus Taylor F. Merceau will carry the mace at Honors Convocation.
Maria Petrino, director of student accounts emerita, honored her parents by funding several scholarships in their names.

An employee's current title will be used while he or she is going through phased retirement; once service to the College has been completed, the emeritus title will be used.

For employees who have retired and then return to the College for service in the same position, the emeritus title will be used.

Former members of the SUNY Cortland faculty or administration should be addressed as follows:

Emeritus who is deceased

The annual seminar is named in memory of Reginald Coventry, the late associate professor emeritus of education.
Melinda Smythe, wife of the late Professor Emeritus of Biology William L. Smythe, named the Smythe Science Laboratory in memory of her husband.
David L. Springer, the late vice president for institutional advancement emeritus, left $5 million to the College in his will.

Non-emeritus still living or deceased

A $2 million gift from former Professor of Economics Todd Hamilton funded the endowment for the Hamilton Professorship in Business Economics.
The building was named for the late Tamara Wallace, former provost and vice president for academic affairs.

endowed chair

The Louise Conley Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership
Short form: Conley Chair in Educational Leadership 

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Capitalize federal when it is part of a government body that uses the word in its formal name.

Use a lowercase letter as an adjective to distinguish something pertaining to state, county, city, town or private entities.

For many students federal loans are an important part of financial aid.
The Federal Communications Commission is in Washington, D.C.


Written as one word.

foreign nations

Spell out cities and names of countries. With regard to Canada, spell out city names followed by the full name of the province.

Every year they attend the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
She vacationed in Portugal before attending her study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain.


Titles of specific forms, such as the permit to register form, should not be capitalized.

Students must pick up the drop/add form in the Registrar’s Office.


The commonly used name is Cortland College Foundation.
The name Cortland College Foundation, Inc., is incorporated and will remain this way unless legally changed.
The word “foundation” is lower case when used alone.

The foundation staff attended a fundraising seminar yesterday.

fundraiser, fundraising

Written as one word.

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General Education

Always capitalize any reference to the General Education program. The abbreviation GE is acceptable on second reference.

grade point average

The abbreviation for grade point average is GPA.

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A term grouping all people of Spanish-speaking descent. This is the preferred inclusive term in some regions, especially in the Southwest. See Chicano/Chicana, Latino/Latina, Mexican American.


(adj.) Famous or important in history, significant

Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech at the historic March on Washington in 1963.


(adj.) Concerning history or past events.

He gave a lecture on the historical buildings in Cortland and Homer.

home page

Two words. The “front” page of a particular website.

Honors Convocation

A ceremony held in spring to recognize students in the top five percent of each class as well as scholarship and award winners.


hypertext markup language (lowercase in Web addresses)


hypertext transfer protocol (lowercase in Web addresses)


A hypertext link that allows ready access to a related document, graphical image, etc.

When adding a hyperlink to text, select the name of the person, publication, article, website, etc. as the link so that it is as descriptive as possible and can be easily identified by screen readers or other adaptive devices. Avoid using vague terms such as click here or read more, which do not let the user know where the link will take them.

For more information or to request a copy of the CALS Lecture Grant Application, contact Sandra Wohlleber at 607-753-5574.
Archived copies of The Bulletin are available on the SUNY Cortland website.


A system of linking electronic documents.


Hyphenate “on-campus,” “part-time,” and “full-time” when using as a modifier.

Students live in on-campus housing, not off-campus housing.
She will live on campus, not off campus.
She has a full-time job.
He works part time.

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Abbreviation for identification, written without periods.

inclusive language

Use nonsexist language such as chair, business executive, camera operator, firefighter, mail carrier. Avoid using the pronouns “he” or “his” when referring to an unspecified person. If the sentence can’t be rewritten without use of a pronoun, it is preferable to write “he or she” instead of he/she.

incorporated names

While no longer officially acceptable, the name “Cortland College” still appears in a few instances because the names are incorporated and will remain this way unless legally changed.

  • Cortland College Alumni Association, Inc.
  • Cortland College Foundation, Inc.


1. See Native American.
2. People from the country of India. See Asian American.


Should be capitalized.

Jr., Sr., II, IV, etc.

Do not set off with commas: Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Benedict XVI, Loudan Wainwright III.

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kick off

(v.) The dinner will kick off the weekend’s activities.


(adj.) The kick-off speech was well received.


(n.) The event is a kickoff to the week-long celebration.

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Refers to people of Latin American origin. An emerging inclusive term for people from North America, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Latino has regional and academic support and seems to be preferred on the East and West Coasts. Hispanic is considered an alternate term by many. Latina is the feminine form of this word. See Chicano/Chicana, Hispanic, Mexican American.

log in, log on, log off (v.)

Log in, log on and log off are verbs.

You log on to access a computer or network. When you are finished, you log off from the computer.

login, logon, logoff (n., adj.)

Login, logon and logoff can be used as a noun or as an adjective.

You use your login to log on to your computer.
I will send you the login information for that website.

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Names of majors are not capitalized.

He is a geology major.

Mexican American

People of Mexican descent living in the United States.
See Hispanic, Latino/Latina.

Middle Easterners

An inclusive term referring to people from a region in western Asia and northeast Africa that includes, but is not limited to, the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. The term Arab traditionally refers to a person from the Arabian Peninsula.


Use the dollar sign and numbers. Do not use a decimal and two zeros unless the number of cents must be specified.

She spent $15 on a T-shirt and $23.50 on a sweatshirt.


Always spell out March, April, May, June and July.

When followed by a number, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.: April 14, Dec. 22.

Any month followed by a year should be spelled out in full: September 2002.


SUNY Cortland’s online access system.

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Native American

Indigenous people who inhabited the Americas and Caribbean prior to the European conquest. Many Native Americans use tribe in referring to their people. Recommended usage is to refer, whenever possible, to a particular people or nation by name, i.e. Iroquois, Oneida, Onondaga, Navajo, Maya, Cherokee, Sioux, etc.


Spell out numbers between one and nine. Use numerals for 10 and above unless the number starts a sentence.

The 10th Annual Run for Life was held June 15.
She had nine students in her class.
Eighty-eight students graduated with honors.
The school has more than 900 computers available for student use.

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The word “office” follows the unit name and is capitalized only when it appears with an official unit name. For example, the Human Resources Office.

Correct: Bring all receipts to the Business Office.
Correct: The Admissions Office is located in the Miller Building.
Incorrect: The Office of the President is open until 4:30 p.m.

When writing a list of more than one office, lowercase the word office.

Staff from the Human Resources and Student Accounts offices contributed the most volunteer hours at Jets Camp this year.
The event is sponsored by the President’s, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Multicultural Life and Diversity offices. 

The following campus offices are written without the word “Office” in their names:

  • Academic Affairs
  • Academic Support and Achievement Program (ASAP)
  • Accounting
  • Accounts Payable
  • Administrative Computing Services
  • Advisement and Transition
  • Campus Technology Services
  • Career Services
  • Information Resources
  • Networking and Telecommunications Services
  • Outreach Services
  • Physical Plant
  • Purchasing
  • Recreational Sports
  • Student Employment Services
  • Student Health Service
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Education
  • Systems Administration and Web Services (SAWS)


Written as one word to indicate not connected to the Internet, online service or an internal network.


One word in all cases for the computer connection term.

Incorrect: on-line

Open House/open house

Capitalize when referring to the College’s event.

Registration is under way for Open House, which will be held April 17.

Lower case in all other instances.

The Admissions Office holds several open houses for prospective students each year.

organization titles

Organization titles should be capitalized. The abbreviation or acronym can be used on second reference.

Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA)
Student Government Association (SGA)
SUNY Cortland Faculty Senate (Faculty Senate)
United University Professions (UUP)


Capitalize Orientation when referring to the program conducted by Advisement and Transition to introduce new students to the College. Orientation should not be capitalized when written as a common noun.

Students who have paid their admission deposit will receive Orientation reservation information during the month of May.
The College holds several orientation sessions each summer.

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Pacific Islander

People of the islands in the Pacific Ocean including the three major ethnic groups: Polynesians (Tahitians,Samoans, Hawaiians and others); Micronesians (U.S. Trust Territories, Guam, Wake Island, Bikini and Kwajelin); and Melanesians (New Zealand, Australia and the Solomans).

Park Center not PER

It is incorrect to use PER to describe the Park Center.


Abbreviation for Portable Document Format, acceptable for all references.

people first language

On Aug. 1. 2007, a bill became law in New York, requiring the use of “people first” language when describing individuals with disabilities in legal documents, publications, and state and local legislation.

People first language guidelines:

  • When referring to a person’s disability, use people first language.
  • Do not refer to a person’s disability unless it is relevant. People are people first, disability second.
  • Use disability rather than “handicap” to refer to a person’s disability.
  • Avoid negative or sensational descriptions of a person’s disability.
  • Don’t use “normal” to describe people without disabilities; instead say people without disabilities or typical, if comparisons are necessary.
  • Never assume that a person with a communication disorder also has a cognitive disability such as mental retardation.
  • Don’t portray people with disabilities as overly courageous, brave, special or super human.
People First LanguageLabels Not to Use
People with disabilities The handicapped or disabled
People with mental retardation:
He has a cognitive impairment.
The mentally retarded:
He’s retarded.
My son has autism. My son is autistic.
She has Down Syndrome. She’s a Downs kid, a mongoloid.
He has a learning disability. He’s learning disabled.
He uses a wheelchair. He’s wheelchair bound or confined to a wheelchair.
Accessible parking, bathrooms, etc. Handicapped parking, bathrooms, etc.
She has a need for … She has a problem with …


Spell out the word percent except in scientific, technical and statistical copy. In tables, use the % symbol.

Seventy percent of the faculty responded favorably.
More than 90 percent of the class passed the exam.


For all electronic communication, on the College website and for text that is going to be typeset, use only one space after a period. Typeset text appears in publications such as the College Catalog, The Bulletin, Columns, brochures, flyers, etc.

phone numbers

Phone numbers should be written with a hyphen after the area code and no spaces: 607-753-2222.
If including more than one extension, use a virgule (/) between the numbers: 607-753-2222/2221.
It is preferred to write out the entire number, including area code, for off-campus callers or those using cell phones.

proofreading tips

  • Proofread a printed copy of your work. Errors are often more easily caught on a hard copy.
  • Change the font and/or the color before proofreading. It tricks your eyes into thinking you’re seeing something new.
  • Read the content at least twice:
  • - Once for story flow.
  • - Once for style, words, grammar, spelling, punctuation, spacing, etc.
  • Use a ruler or bright piece of paper to look at each line of text separately.
  • Read the lines backwards or from right to left.
  • Look over the copy from the end to the beginning.
  • Read out loud to someone else or to yourself.
  • Check days and dates against a calendar.
  • Use spell check but dew knot trussed it two fined awl yore miss steaks.
  • Use a copy of the proofreading checklist that can be downloaded from the Communication Guide website.

Proofreading checklist


The word “program” is never capitalized unless it is part of a formal title.

The program in international studies offers courses each semester.
She is participating in the Master of Arts in Teaching program.
The Liberty Partnerships Program is part of the Outreach Services Office.
The Computer Applications Program was established in the ’70s.
SUNY Cortland has one of the largest study abroad programs in the SUNY system.

publication and event titles

Books, magazines, newspapers, journals and online publications should be italicized:
Alice in Wonderland, Newsweek, The New York Times, Taproot, NeoVox

Articles, plays, TV shows, TV episodes, movies, exhibitions, lectures, etc. should be put in quotation marks. Subsequent references, which may be abbreviated, should also be in quotes.
"Pill Hill", “Newshour With Jim Lehrer” or "Newshour" on second reference, "Titanic", “Strategies for Success in Your First Year of Teaching”

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Red Dragon, Red Dragons

Cortland’s athletics teams are referred to as the Red Dragons. When used as an adjective the ‘s’ is dropped.

The Red Dragons finished first in the tournament.
Red Dragon men’s swimming and diving teams finished in third place at the national championships.


Capitalize widely recognized regions of New York state.

We live in Central New York.
She grew up in the Southern Tier.
He is from Upstate New York.
The store is located on the Lower East Side.

residence halls

Residence hall, not dorm or dormitories, is the preferred name for on-campus and College-supported housing.

room listings and numbers

Write locations by first listing the building, then the room number:

Corey Union, Room 206
Cornish Hall, Room D-211
Miller Building, Room 404-H
Van Hoesen Hall, Room C-119E

When rooms do not have a number, write them as follows:

Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge
Corey Union Exhibition Lounge
Corey Union Fireplace Lounge
Corey Union Function Room
Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre
Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre
Old Main Brown Auditorium
Old Main Colloquium
Old Main Fowler ’52 Grand Entrance Hall
Park Center Alumni Arena
Park Center Corey Gymnasium
Park Center Hall of Fame Room


SUNY Cortland Alumni Reunion 2011 (or appropriate year) is the official long name for the College's reunions.

Alumni Reunion 2011 (or appropriate year) is used in publications were the SUNY Cortland logo is present.

Reunion is the short version, which should be used on second reference.


The abbreviation for the French repondez s'il vous plait, it means please reply.

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Scholars' Day

See Transformations: A Student Research and Creativity Conference


The word “school” is capitalized only when it precedes an official unit name. For example, School of Arts and Sciences. The College has three schools: arts and sciences, education and professional studies.

Alfred Baakker, School of Professional Studies, was hired in 2004.


Semesters or seasons should be written as follows:

The course will be offered in Spring 2003.
More than 200 classes will be held during the spring semester
He will begin classes during the Fall 2003 semester.
School opens in the fall.
We had a dry summer.
I attended Summer Session classes.
She will take classes during Summer Session I.
Several of my friends are taking Winter Session courses.


Service-learning is written with a hyphen.


Use a lowercase letter as an adjective to distinguish something pertaining to state, county, city, town or private entities.

Our state colleges need funding.
We live in the state of New York.
We live in New York state.

Capitalize state when it is part of a government body that uses the word in its formal name.

New York State Police

state abbreviations

Abbreviate states (as listed below) using Associated Press (AP) style in the body of any work. Use U.S. Postal (PO) abbreviations when listing mailing addresses.

State NameAPPO
Alabama Ala. AL
Alaska Alaska AK
Arizona Ariz. AZ
Arkansas Ark. AR
California Calif. CA
Colorado Colo. CO
Connecticut Conn. CT
Delaware Del. DE
District of Columbia D.C. DC
Florida Fla. FL
Georgia Ga. GA
Hawaii Hawaii HI
Idaho Idaho ID
Illinois Ill. IL
Indiana Ind. IN
Iowa Iowa IA
Kansas Kan. KS
Kentucky Ky. KY
Louisiana La. LA
Maine Maine ME
Maryland Md. MD
Massachusetts Mass. MA
Michigan Mich. MI
Minnesota Minn. MN
Missouri Mo. MO
Mississippi Miss. MS
Montana Mont. MT
Nebraska Neb. NE
Nevada Nev. NV
New Hampshire N.H. NH
New Jersey N.J. NJ
New Mexico N.M. NM
New York N.Y. NY
North Carolina N.C. NC
North Dakota N.D. ND
Ohio Ohio OH
Oklahoma Okla. OK
Oregon Ore. OR
Pennsylvania Pa. PA
Rhode Island R.I. RI
South Carolina S.C. SC
South Dakota S.D. SD
Tennessee Tenn. TN
Texas Texas TX
Utah Utah UT
Vermont Vt. VT
Virginia Va. VA
Washington Wash. WA
West Virginia Va. VA
Washington Wa. WA
West Virginia W. Va. WV
Wisconsin Wis. WI
Wyoming Wyo. WY

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Times should be written without a colon or double zeros, unless listing a specific time after the hour. The “p” and “m” or “a” and “m” should always be lowercase and followed by a period. The words “noon” and “midnight” should not be capitalized. A hyphen with no spaces indicates a time frame.

Street parking is not allowed from 2:30-6 a.m.
The symposium runs from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Most staff members go to lunch at noon.
Class will end promptly at 12:10 p.m.

When writing days and times, the time is given first, then the day and date followed by the location.

A reception will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.



Titles for vice presidents, assistant vice presidents and associate provosts take the preposition “for.”

vice president for finance and management
associate provost for information resources.

Titles for deans and directors take the preposition “of.”

dean of education
director of The Cortland Fund.


Faculty titles include: official SUNY titles of distinguished professor, distinguished teaching professor, distinguished service professor, professor, associate professor, assistant professor; and lecturer, adjunct lecturer, instructor, chair.


Professional staff titles are listed on appointment letters generated by the Human Resources Office. Refer to the online employee directory when looking up the title of a professional employee.

Civil service titles are determined by the New York Department of Civil Service.

writing titles

Capitalize a title when put before the person's name.

Dean John J. Miller.
Professor of Psychology Joyce Chou.
For more information, contact Philosophy Department Chair Kara L. McCarthy.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement Carlos Rivera gave the introductory speech.
Department Chair Fred Gao will head the committee.
Professor Suzanne Powell will give three presentations this semester.
Distinguished Teaching Professor Karla Alwes, English, has edited the newsletter for 12 years.

Do not capitalize titles when listed after a name or titles that do not include a name.

Roland Nelson, vice president for student affairs.
Shirley Newman, professor of exercise science and sport studies.
Victoria M. Kaczynski is associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
For more information, contact the appropriate school dean or department chair.
The president will announce the employees to be honored.
A residence hall director will be hired for the academic year.
The resident assistant will be available to help students.
Edward Sullivan is chairing the department.
She was promoted from associate professor to professor in 2002.
He is an adjunct lecturer in the Biological Sciences Department.
Henry Steck, SUNY distinguished service professor, political science, will be on sabbatical next semester.

courtesy titles

Dr., Miss, Mrs., Ms. and Mr. are only used in formal written communications or in conjunction with special event programs such as Commencement and Honors Convocation. On business cards and stationery, a degree such as Ph.D. should be listed after the person’s name.

publication and event titles

Books, magazines, newspapers, journals and online publications should be italicized:
Alice in Wonderland, Newsweek, The New York Times, Taproot, NeoVox

Articles, plays, TV shows, TV episodes, movies, exhibitions, lectures, etc. should be put in quotation marks. Subsequent references, which may be abbreviated, should also be in quotes.
"Pill Hill", “Newshour With Jim Lehrer” or "Newshour" on second reference, "Titanic", “Strategies for Success in Your First Year of Teaching”

Transformations: A Student Research and Creativity Conference

Transformations: A Student Research and Creativity Conference is an event designed to demonstrate, highlight, promote and encourage scholarship among SUNY Cortland faculty, staff and students.

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One word in all uses now, per AP Style.

United States

Use periods without a space in the abbreviation: U.S.


See also Web addreses under addresses

The acronym for Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is capitalized. When writing an Internet address, it is not necessary to begin it with http:// and, in most cases, www. is no longer required.


Written as one word, it is the name used by someone for operating a computer program.

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Short form of World Wide Web, it is capitalized.

Web page

Written as two words with Web capitalized, also Web address, Web feed, the Web.


Written as one word and in lowercase letters, also webcast, webinar, webmaster, webcast.

Web standards

Information on SUNY Cortland's Web standards.



Members of the dominant or majority culture in the United States. While the term Caucasian is commonly used in place of white, neither a common ancestry related to the Caucasus Mountains region, nor an assumption that all whites are culturally or ethnically homogeneous should be assumed.

World War I, World War II


See also entries for academic year and class year.

Use an ‘s’ without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries. 

SUNY Cortland was open in the 1920s.

Use an apostrophe slanted toward the right for class years.

She belonged to the Class of ’82.

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