Naming Opportunities Writing Style Guide

Follow these guidelines when applying a name to a building, room, space, scholarship, faculty position endowment, department, school, lecture series, conference or other named program. 


Use the shortest name possible. Longer names may not work well in social media or other electronic forms.


Titles should be avoided whenever possible. This includes professional titles such as president, professor or director, as well as courtesy titles such as Dr., Mr., Mrs. and Ms. Suffixes such as Ph.D. or M.D. may be included upon donor’s request.

  • Judson H. Taylor Leadership House
  • John M. Fantauzzi ’58, M ’60 Scholarship
  • Michael J. Bond '75, M.D. Alumni/Undergraduate Research Science Symposium

Class years

SUNY Cortland class years should be included for alumni. The apostrophe should be curved and slant away from the numbers.

  • Individual: Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House
  • Joint (both alumni): James ’81 and Nancy Niskin Sorbella ’82 Room; Grace ’57 and Richard Ball ’56 Scholarship
  • Joint (one alum): Arnold ’47 and Roberta Rist Suite Sitting Room
  • Joint (with middle initials): John S. ’72 and Anita M. Roberts ’73 Scholarship


Clarity and the donors' wishes are key. If a maiden name is included, it may be necessary to repeat the last name to avoid confusion:

  • Ellen Kahn Masters 67 and Stuart Masters Scholarship

If the donors are flexible on the order of the names, the following arrangement may save space:

  • Stuart and Ellen Kahn Masters 67 Scholarship


Namings in honor of the parent of an alum may include the graduate's class year, if desired. The letter "P," to indicate "parent," should appear before the class year:

  • Shanelle Wilson P ’01 Scholarship

In the above example, the honoree is the parent of a Class of 2001 graduate.

If both the parent and the child are alumni, the parent's class year should be listed first:

  • Gabriel Johnson 81, P ’03 Scholarship

In the above example, the honoree is a 1981 graduate and the parent of a member of the Class of 2003.

Group namings


Spaces or programs named by a class can use the abbreviated version of the year for both short and long names.

  • Class of ’57 Baseball Program and Alumni Patio

Fraternity or sorority

Note that Kappa and Beta namings must include their active years.

  • Gordon W. Brown ’62 Delta Kappa Beta (1925-1991) Alumni Engagement Internship Award
  • Beta Phi Epsilon (1927-1995) Alumni Association Casino Fireplace

Other namings by fraternities or sororities should be the name of the organization followed by the program or space.

  • Lambda Phi Delta Service Scholarship


A naming by an athletic group may wish to honor a certain year’s team.

  • 1980 Women’s National Championship Team Scoreboard

Other groups

For scholarships, other groups may wish to use a creative name.

  • 40 Years of Friendship Scholarship


Some nicknames may be included in long names. Place them in curved quotation marks following the person’s legal first name and middle name or initial, if applicable.

  • Carl A. “Chugger” Davis Building
  • Margaret A. “Peggy” Curry ’52 Main Lobby
  • Harlan “Gold” Metcalf Hall
  • Fred “Prof” Holloway Field

Short names

In general, the official short version of a named entity should be the last name followed by the building, space or program. Class years should be omitted included in short names.

  • Long name: Victor M. Rumore ’84 Economics Department Computer Lab
  • Short name: Rumore Computer Lab

The first name can be included in short names to distinguish different people with the same last name.