FLC Style Guide: A consistent voice

This style guide helps improve consistency and professionalism across campus in print and digital communications. These style conventions are not required but will be enforced on all materials produced by Marketing & Communications.

When in doubt, or if this guide doesn't have an example you need, defer to the Associated Press Stylebook. Please email Lizzie Kost with any questions.

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



Capitalize and italicize course titles on all references. 

Capitalize and put in quotes the title of lectures and presentations. 


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

  • "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.")


  • 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:


Departments, majors, and programs

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

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.

Refers to the specific degrees the College offers and students declare. Always capitalize the names of majors. 

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


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

When writing about students and alumni, refer only to majors and do not reference options or concentrations unless necessary.

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


Although the term "professor" commonly refers to any instructor at the College level, it is a particular title in academia.

  • Use the official designation for each 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 the last name only on secondary references.
  • Do not use courtesy titles (i.e., Dr., Mr., Ms., etc.).



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

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

Use parentheses for organizations commonly known by their abbreviations to explain the abbreviation, i.e., AISES (American Indian Science & Engineering Society). 

Athletic teams

Not capitalized, i.e., Skyhawks football. 

FLC's teams' nickname is "Skyhawks," not "Skyhawk. 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

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 the 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:

  1. "Theatre" is the official name of the building housing the Performing Arts Department and the Mainstage Theatre, but it is referred to as "Theatre Hall" in text. (NOT "Theatre Building.") 
  2. "Education Business Hall" is the official name of the building housing SOBA and the School of Education, but in the 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 also has a name, it 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 actively markets credential programs, the preferred phrasing is "credential-seeking students." 

Fort Lewis College/FLC

Use "Fort Lewis College" on the first reference and either "Fort Lewis College" or "FLC" after that. If using "College" on the second reference, capitalize it as a proper noun. 

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 distinction 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.


One word when used as either noun or adjective. 


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


Not Skycard or Sky Card.


Not Sky Cash or Sky cash.

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 as 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 a 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-1960s, shortly after the change from Aggies to Raiders.  FLC's official colors became 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 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 FLC nickname that can 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 terms -- and not in place of either. DO NOT use "Fort Lewis" alone except in quotes. 

"The" should always be 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 the 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").

No Oxford Comma when using an ampersand in a sentence series. 


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]. 

Go to the website, click "Apply," and fill out the form ...

4. Attributions

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

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] Pope works closely with the campus' print and online magazine, The Indy, to complete her practicum credits. [non-restrictive -- there's only one magazine, giving the name 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 several 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

Yazzie, 17, a sophomore from Albuquerque...

7. Introductory clauses and phrases

As an English major, Wells works closely with the campus's print and online magazine, The Indy, to complete her practicum credits.

Although Kendra Wright 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 hard to get this together and started this off in the right direction.” Vs. “They've worked 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 ...


In Marketing print pieces, there are no periods after non-sentence zingers (e.g., Home away from home vs. Follow your field guide to fulfillment.).

Composition titles

Italicize titles of magazines, newspapers, and journals. Italicize generally for plays, movies, and books. Do not underline or put in quotes.

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). For example, "Learn outsides the lines at Fort Lewis College."



Use official highway designations, not slang. The proper designation on our maps and directions should be in official map-style designations, as seen on the 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

States and cities

Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village, or military base.


For most cities, you'll use their state's name following the city's. However, 30 cities do not require the accompaniment of their state name. They are listed in the table below:

City City City
Atlanta Houston Philadelphia
Baltimore Indianapolis Phoenix
Boston Las Vegas (Nevada) Pittsburgh
Chicago Los Angeles St. Louis
Cincinnati Miami (Florida) Salt Lake City
Cleveland Milwaukee San Antonio
Dallas Minneapolis San Diego
Denver New Orleans San Francisco
Detroit New York Seattle
Honolulu Oklahoma City Washington

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 real Latin; we don’t use it at FLC.

Identify alumni by their degree major and year of graduation, in parentheses following the first (or close to first) reference, i.e., "John Begaye (Political Science, '72)." The 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 the last name only on secondary references. Use the first name if there is more than one character in the story with the same last name.

For students who attended FLC but did not earn a degree, only list the years they were enrolled in courses, i.e., "Frederick Nyquist (ATT '15-17)."


Capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared understanding of history, identity, and community among people who identify as Black.

African American and Black are not synonymous. If you are including someone's race in the content you're creating, be sure it is necessary to mention it and ask the person how they prefer to be identified.

Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees is capitalized. Reference to trustees is lowercase. "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. 


Emphasize the generosity of the donor, not the gift, e.g., "the program received a gift from a generous donor," not "the program received a generous gift."


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

Gendered language

Use the gender-neutral terms "first-year student(s)" or "first-year(s)" when referring to new incoming students. Don't use "freshman" or "freshmen" in any context.

When unsure which pronouns someone uses, don't assume; ask or use the gender-neutral pronouns they, them, or their.

Use the gender-neutral pronouns they, them, and their when referring to people in the abstract (e.g., "A new first-year student will be asked to check in when they arrive.").

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.

Indigenous, Native American, Native

Capitalize Indigenous about the original inhabitants of a place. This term is preferred over Native American. Capitalize “Native” when referring to people, but not when identifying plant or animal species.


Latinx is gender-neutral and used in all references.

People of color

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

Professional titles

Describe people by their "official" job title on the 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.

Verify this information with the Registrar's Office / Banner.. Do not rely on self-reporting.

Use the last name only on secondary references.

Tribal affiliation

Ask the person you're interviewing if they have any tribal affiliations they'd like included in the story or social media post. Tribal affiliations are styled like so: Ben Yazzie, a citizen of the Navajo Nation. When known, we use the individuals’ preference for how they want their tribes to be identified and spelled.

Do not capitalize the words tribal, reservation, state, federal, or tribe unless used as part of a proper noun. The “Southern Ute Indian Tribe” becomes the “tribe” in subsequent reference. Do not capitalize tribal member.  


Email addresses

Always all lowercase (i.e., lapope@fortlewis.edu) 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 fortlewis.edu/cycling.

Always all lowercase (i.e., NOT "FortLewis.edu" or "GoSkyHawks.com"). The exception is branded URLs, i.e., FLCconnects.com are 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, 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 used as an official term ("The course will begin Spring 2020" or "The course will begin in the Spring 2020 semester").