This style guide is presented here in the interest of improving consistency and professionalism in print and digital communications across campus. Please note that these style conventions are not required, but that they are enforced on all materials produced by Marketing & Communications. Please email Lauren Savage with any questions. When in doubt or if this guide does not refer to the issue at hand, defer to style the Associated Press Stylebook. 

Academia | Campus | Durango | Grammar conventions | Locations | People | Technology | Times & dates



Capitalize and italicize course titles on all references. 

The titles of lectures and presentations are capitalized and in quotes. 


Use an apostrophe in "bachelor's degree," or "a master's," etc., but not in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science.

In text, use "bachelor's degree" or "bachelor of arts" rather than "B.A." or "B.S."; "master's degree" rather than “M.A.” or “M.S.”; "doctoral degree" or "doctorate" rather than "Ph.D." or "Ed.D." (i.e. "He has a bachelor's degree in English, a master's in translation, and a doctorate in comparative literature.")

When using abbreviations, use B.A. or B.S. (with periods); Ph.D. or Ed.D. (with periods), J.D. and R.N. (with periods).

Degrees with more than two letters do not take periods, such as MBA, MSN, BSN, MFA, MS-FIN, MS-MKT, BSBA, MABA, etc.

Departments, majors, and programs

These three terms refer to different aspects of academic programming, and cannot be used interchangeably.

"Department" refers to the institutional office that manages majors, i.e. the Physics & Engineering Department: There is a Physics major and an Engineering major, but no Physics Department or Engineering Department. There is a Geology major, but it is in the Geosciences Department; there is no Geology Department.

"Major" refers to the specific degrees the College offers and students declare. Always capitalize the names of majors. 

"Program" refers more generally to the coursework and requirements for specific major tracks -- "program" is never capitalized unless it is part of the official title.

All departments, majors, and programs are capitalized when referring to specific FLC offerings and offices. They are not capitalized when referring to generalized fields.


One word when used as either noun and adjective. 


Majors are capitalized when referring to specific programs, but not as fields of study (i.e. "As a Geology major, he studied petrology and hydrology.").

Options and concentrations

In general, when writing about students and alumni, refer only to majors, and do not reference options or concentrations unless important.

Always confirm students' and alumni's majors with the Registrar's Office to accurately represent the true catalog names and degrees bestowed (i.e. “Business Administration major” or “Business Administration – Finance option," but never “Finance major”).


Use the term "cannabis" when referring to the industry or other non-recreational references. 


Although the term "professor" is often used in common vernacular to refer to any instructor at the college level, it is a very specific title in academia. Use the official designation for each individual faculty member (i.e. Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Professor, Visiting Instructor, etc.). Look up titles in the FLC phone directory or confirm with an administrative assistant or department chair.

Capitalize titles if used preceding the name, and do not capitalize following the name (i.e. Assistant Professor Jane Smith; Jane Smith, assistant professor).

Use last name only on secondary references.

Do not use courtesy titles (i.e. Dr., Mr., Ms., etc.).



Prospective students don't know common FLC abbreviations (i.e. CCH, CSWS, EBH, EC, GPE, NAC, SU, SLC). In general, spell out everything in all uses if the audience includes anyone from off-campus. For all other audiences, use full name on first reference and abbreviation on second reference.

Do not use parentheses for abbreviations following a name, i.e. "Environmental Center (EC)" -- if an abbreviation is not clear on second reference, don't use it.

Do use parentheses, however, for organizations that are primarily known by their abbreviations to explain the abbreviation, i.e. AISES (American Indian Science & Engineering Society). 

Athletic teams

Not capitalized, i.e. Skyhawks football. 

Also, the nickname of FLC's teams is "Skyhawks," not "Skyhawk, so it's always "Skyhawks cycling" and never "Skyhawk cycling." "Skyhawk" is only appropriate when referring to a single athlete, i.e. "she was a Skyhawk for four years." 

Building names

In general, academic and residential buildings on campus are followed by "Hall." See a list of all buildings' proper names and descriptions. Exceptions include the Student Union and Skyhawk Station.

When referring to donor-named buildings or structures, use the donor name on first reference only. "The ceremony will take place at the Joe & Clela Busby Amphitheater. Tent seating will be available near the amphitheater in case of rain."

Two buildings are referred to in print differently from their official names:

"Theatre" is the official name of the building housing the Theatre Department and the Mainstage Theatre, but is referred to as "Theatre Hall" in text. (NOT "Theatre Building.") 

"Education Business Hall" is the official name of the building housing SOBA and the School of Education, but in text is referred to as "Education & Business Hall." (NOT "Education/Business Hall.") 

Locations within buildings are referred to in the following style: "Room 125, Noble Hall." If the room itself also has a name, that precedes the rest of the description: "Lyceum, Room 120, Center of Southwest Studies."


Use Dale Rea Clocktower or Clocktower, not Clock Tower.

Dennison Field

Not "Stadium." This facility's full name is Ray Dennison Memorial Field. Dedicated to an FLC student athlete who died from injuries suffered in a game in 1955, Skyhawk football's stadium was cut from a natural depression in the landscape, and hosted its first games in 1959. (The ensuing lawsuit from the death set the national legal precedent decreeing that collegiate athletes are not employees of the college they play for.)

Department and office names

Use "Biology Department" and "Financial Aid Office" rather than "Department of Biology" or "Office of Financial Aid."

Degree-seeking students

Because FLC is now actively marketing credential programs, the preferred phrasing is "credential-seeking students." 

Fort Lewis College/FLC

Use "Fort Lewis College" on first reference, and either "Fort Lewis College" or "FLC" thereafter. 

DO NOT use "Fort Lewis" as either noun or adjective, except in sports stories, where abbreviated names for colleges are common, and in direct quotes. Fort Lewis is a military base in Washington. This makes a difference in FLC sites appearing higher in internet searches.

Do not abbreviate "Fort" to "Ft." -- that's an abbreviation for a military fort, and we are not a military fort, although we have "fort" in our name because we once were.


Not Skycard or Sky Card.

Skyhawk and Skyhawks

Use Skyhawks in all references except when referring to an individual athlete. “Skyhawks football is strong this year.” “He was a Skyhawk for all four years.” 

The Skyhawks was adopted at the FLC athletic nickname in 1994. A Skyhawk is A mythical bird that represents the elements that make Fort Lewis College unique: our location on the Mesa, surrounded by the soaring Rocky Mountains, its spirit of the cultures that comprise Southwest Colorado peoples, and the ideals that shape the FLC experience.  The mascot also pays homage to FLC’s standing as a “campus in the sky.” 

During its first three-plus decades as baccalaureate-degree seeking college, FLC teams competed as the Raiders.  During Fort Lewis A&M College’s era as a junior college, the mascots were the:  Beavers (1929-33) and Aggies (1933-62). The school colors changed from green and gold to blue and gold in the mid-1960’s, shortly after the change from Aggies to Raiders.  FLC official colors become navy, gold and light blue in 2001.


The mascot's full name is "Skyler the Skyhawk." Not Skylar.


One word with embedded capital. 

Student Union

"Student Union" is the full complete name, not "Student Union Building." (This building was formerly called the College Union Building.)

In front (or behind, depending on if you're a half-full or half-empty type) of the Student Union is the Student Union Plaza. The deck upstairs is the Hermosa Terrace.

The Fort

"The Fort" is a common nickname for FLC that can be used to refer to the College. Note, though, that this is NOT an official, branded name, so it should be used only in conjunction with "Fort Lewis College" or "FLC" -- which are official, branded names -- and not in place of either of those. DO NOT use "Fort Lewis" alone except in quotes. 

"The" should be always capitalized when using "The Fort" as a nickname for FLC, except when referring to the name of the campus web portal, "theFort." 


The trails that connect campus with town are the Centennial Nature Trail (or just the Nature Trail), on the west side of campus; and the Lamppost Trail, paralleling the Front Hill (E. 8th Avenue) on the south side of campus. The Rim Trail encircles campus, but does not connect to town.


Main Avenue

That's the road through downtown Durango -- NOT "Main Street."

Raider Ridge

Raider Ridge (NOT "Raiders Ridge") is the name of the ridgeline just east of campus, across Goeglein Gulch and behind the Skyridge subdivision, and between campus and Horse Gulch. It is named after the former FLC athletic nickname “Raiders,” which was used from 1962 – 1994. Students also used to paint a large “R” on the ridge side for the Raiders.

Grammar Conventions


Use "and" to connect discrete names and titles, and "&" (ampersand) for "and" within single titles and names (i.e. "English and Art programs" vs. "Native American & Indigenous Studies program," or "Berndt and Chemistry halls" vs. "Education & Business Hall").


Times commas are required:

1. Dates with days and/or years

Today is November 21 ...

Today is Tuesday, November 21, ...

Today is November 21, 2018, ...

Today is Tuesday, November 21, 2018, ...

2. States with towns

He's from Hudson, Massachusetts, ...

3. Lists & sequences, including the Oxford Comma

The departments are Biology, Geosciences, and Mathematics ... [the Oxford Comma: before "and" in a sequence]. 

To apply, go to the website, click on "Apply," and fill out the form ...

4. Attributions

“It's also a great way for us to share the accomplishments of other students,” explained Knippel.

5. Non-essential and non-restrictive clauses and phrases

My brother Bill ... [I have more than one brother -- essential]

My wife, Sarah, ... [I have only one wife -- non-essential]

As an English major, [introductory phrase] Knippel works closely with the campus' print and on-line magazine, The Independent, to complete her practicum credits. [non-restrictive -- there's only one magazine, giving the name just elaborates]

Students working with Fort Fuel have access to all the equipment they need to film the show in the Ballantine Media Center's Digital Media Lab & Multimedia Studio, which includes a studio with a green screen [non-restrictive] and a number of Macintosh video editing stations that run FinalCut Pro [restrictive], the industry standard for video production [non-essential].

6. Identifiers and descriptors following a person's name

Knippel, 17, a sophomore from Albuquerque, ...

7. Introductory clauses and phrases

As an English major, Knippel works closely with the campus's print and on-line magazine, The Independent, to complete her practicum credits.

Although Haylee Knippel won't be turning her tassel for another two years, her dream career has already begun.

8. Independent clauses linked by a conjunction

“They've worked really hard to get this together, and they've started this off in the right direction.” Vs. “They've worked really hard to get this together and start this off in the right direction.”

9. Parentheticals

"However," "therefore," "I think," etc.

10. Anyplace where it adds clarity (but not just anyplace!)

i.e. combinations of dates & times & locations, etc.

I'll be at the store on Tuesday, around 10 a.m., out back behind the parking lot ...

Composition titles

Italicize titles of magazines, newspapers, and journals. Do not underline or put in quotes. Italicize generally for plays, movies, and books. The titles of articles in books, journals, newspapers and seminars should appear in quotation marks. "Professor David Gonzales received The Mountain Geologist Best Paper Award for 2019 for his paper "New Constraints on the Timing and History of Breccia Dikes in the Western San Juan Mountain, Southwestern Colorado."

Title case 

The use of title case -- capitalizing all the words in a phrase -- is for use only with proper nouns (the actual "official" names or titles of items).



Use official highway designations, not slang. The proper designation on our maps and in our directions should be in official map-style designations, like you'd see on Rand-McNally map. Examples of official highway designations include: 

“I-70” for Interstate 70
“US 160” for U.S. Highway 160
“CO 3” for Colorado Highway 3
“CR 205” for County Road 205

State names

Spell out in all occasions -- do not abbreviate.

DO NOT use two-letter capitalized postal codes (i.e. CO, NM, AZ, etc.), except in mailing addresses.

Street names

Spell out, do not abbreviate, in all uses (i.e. "Avenue" not "Ave.", and "Street" not "St.").


Alaska Native 

NOT Alaskan Native. 


Male = alumnus.

Female = alumna.

Plural = alumni.

Plural female only = alumnae.

"Alum" is not a real term, although internally it is used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. It is appropriate for casual use (social media, the Fort Report), but not feature stories.

Identify alumni by their degree major and year of graduation, in parentheses following the first (or close to first) reference, i.e., "John Smith (Political Science, '72)." Convention for students of the master's program is "Jane Smith (M.A. Teacher Leadership, '16)."

If an alumni has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from FLC, separate the degrees with a semicolon within the parentheses, i.e., "Jane Smith (English, ’10; M.A. Teacher Leadership, ’13)."

Note that this information must be verified with the Registrar's Office / Banner -- do not rely on self-reporting.

Use last name only on secondary references.

Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees is capitalized. Reference to trustees is lowercased. "The Board of Trustees voted in favor of the policy. The trustees will reconvene tomorrow morning."

Courtesy titles

Generally, do not use courtesy titles, i.e. Dr., Mr., Ms., etc., unless needed for clarity. This includes faculty. 


Adapt spelling to gender of person or people referred to: Emeritus (M), Emerita (F), Emeriti (plural M or mixed), Emeritae (plural F). 


It is no longer considered appropriate to refer to students as "freshman" or "freshmen" -- now use "first-year student" or "first-year students." The same applies to other uses as an adjective: "first-year courses," "first-year programs," etc. 

High School Counselor

Use this term rather than "guidance counselor" to refer to staff who work in high schools to guide students through the admission process.

People of color

Students, faculty, staff, and other groups of people of color are NOT referred to as minorities.

Black and Indigenous are capitalized.

Latinx is gender-neutral and used in all references.

Professional titles

Describe people by their "official" job title on first reference.

Capitalize professional titles if used before the name, and do not capitalize if following the person's name, i.e. "Executive Director Bill Smith," or "Bill Smith, executive director, ... " This includes faculty titles: "Associate Professor Bill Smith," or "Bill Smith, associate professor."  

Returning students

Use this term rather than "former" to describe students who have attended FLC in the past and are returning.

Student identification

Students are identified by their full name, year of study, and major.

Note that this information must be verified with the Registrar's Office / Banner -- do not rely on self-reporting.

Use last name only on secondary references.

Tribal affiliation

Don't use "John Smith is Navajo" or "John Smith is a Navajo." Instead, use "John Smith is a member of the Navajo Tribe" or "John Smith is a member of the Navajo Nation." Note that different groups prefer different terms -- you can check with the NAC for proper tribal affiliation protocol.

There's also a difference between a tribal "membership" -- which is a registered member of a federally recognized tribe or Native Alaskan village -- and a tribal "heritage" -- which is a familial connection to a tribe or peoples, regardless of whether or not that tribe still exists. So if you're going to use "membership," be sure that's true.


Email addresses

Always all lower case (i.e., unless it's the start of a sentence (which it probably shouldn't be, anyway...). 

It's "email," not "e-mail."

Phone numbers

Format: 970-247-7166.

Not: (970) 247-7166 or 970.247.7166.


“theFort” is the student portal to online campus services. Not “TheFort.”


The FLC website is NOT preceded by www or https://. This includes child sites like

Always all lowercase (i.e. NOT "" or ""). The exception is branded URLs, i.e. — URLs that are also the official names of the service or entity.

Times & Dates

a.m. and p.m.

Use lowercase with periods -- Not AM or PM, or am or pm.

Always place a space after the hour (i.e. 9:30 a.m., not 9:30am).

Use just the number for on-the-hour (i.e. 9 a.m., not 9:00 a.m.).

Use "noon," not "12 p.m."; and "midnight," not "12 a.m."


Cardinal, not ordinal (i.e. June 25, not June 25th).

Spell out months in all references, even with dates (no abbreviations).


Do not capitalize the names of seasons (i.e. "The course is held in the spring"), except when a used as an official term ("The course will begin Spring 2020" or "The course will begin in the Spring 2020 semester").