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Pomona Style Guide

This style manual is not intended to substitute for more comprehensive guides. Its purpose is to offer a guide for frequently encountered terms, usages and names relating to the College and to establish a common solution to stylistic questions about which other important guides may disagree. The Pomona College Office of Communications compiled this guide to encourage uniformity of style among members of the community who represent the College in their written and printed communications. The office follows Associated Press Stylebook otherwise.

Academic Terms

Class names and numbers

Use uppercase only for exact names of classes that differ from a normal generic reference. Examples: He taught vertebrate biology. He taught a class called Vertebrate Biology. She taught Feminist Perspectives on the Gospels. Use numbered class listings (such as Psychology 106 or Religious Studies 20) only in contexts where they will be useful, as in a list of major requirements.

Class standings

Lowercase is preferred. Examples: a sophomore from Arizona; a senior philosophy major. Officially, the College still uses the term freshman in a technical sense for students who have not yet earned sophomore standing, so the term is sometimes necessary for exactness of meaning (as in "second-year freshman"), but the term first-year student is preferred in most usages.


Lowercase is preferred for the names of degrees. Use capitals only in initials. Examples: a master's degree; her doctorate; a bachelor of science degree; a B.A. degree.

Disciplines and Majors

Exact names of departments and majors are capitalized, but names of disciplines are not. Therefore, a word like "history" is capitalized when used in the terms "the Department of History" and "the History Major" but not when used in phrases like "the study of history" or "a history major." This rule also applies to majors with compound names (the Women's Studies Major; a student of women's studies).


Use the plural "admissions" for the Office and related uses. Examples: the Office of Admissions; the Admissions Committee; the admissions staff. Use the singular, however, when referring to the action of admitting students. Examples: Early admission candidates; admission to the College. Lowercase is preferred except when used in the name of a group or in a title used after the name.


The "-or" ending (advisor) is preferred over the "-er" ending (adviser).


Alumni is the general-use term for former students of the College, whether or not they graduated from Pomona. (Officially, Pomona uses the term to describe all persons who attended the College for at least one year.) We use all variants of the term -- alumnus (masculine singular), alumna (feminine singular), alumni (masculine plural or generic plural); and alumnae (feminine plural). Never use the word alumni as a singular. To specify a former Pomona student of unspecified gender, it is best to use the phrase alumna or alumnus. However, the term alumni is sufficient for the unspecified plural.

The term alum (plural: alums) is slang for "alumnus" or "alumna." It may be employed in very informal usages, but not in formal usages. (For instance, it may be used in a casual letter or a friendly message, but should not be used in the text of an official report.) To specify alumni who graduated from Pomona College, use the more specific term graduates.

The official designation of Pomona's office that deals with alumni services and relationships is the Office of Alumni Relations, but it may be referred to more familiarly as the Alumni Office in less formal usages. The Alumni Association is an organization made up of all Pomona alumni, governed by the Alumni Association Board. Alumni groups organized in specific areas are known as Alumni Regional Communities (e.g. The Boston Regional Community of the Alumni Association).

Alumni class names

Uppercase is preferred. Example: the Class of '95.

Alumni class years

No comma is used between name and class year or after class year. Example: Pomona alumnus David Doe '85. For earlier dates likely to be confused with a more recent or near-future date, use all four digits. Example: Martha Doe 1899 and Jonathan Doe 1904 (to distinguish them from 1999 and 2004 graduates, who receive the '99 and '04 appellations). (The class year apostrophe is formed in Microsoft Word by combining the commands for shift-option-] on the Macintosh or by typing the sequence "Alt, zero, 1, 8, and zero" on a PC.)

Board of Trustees

Uppercase Pomona College Board of Trustees, including stand-alone phrase Board of Trustees referring to the College entity.

Buildings and Facilities

Generic place names

Lower case is preferred. Examples: in the bookstore, at the library, inside the museum, on the quad. Lower case is also preferred for buildings and spaces on campus that have no true proper name, such as: the baseball field, the cottages, the soccer field, and the tennis and track offices.

Named buildings and spaces

Capitalize place names when the proper name (or nickname) of a building or place is used. Example: Marston Quad, Millikan Laboratory, the Carnegie Building, "Little Bridges," the Wash, Sontag Greek Theatre.

Use of the word "the" before a place name: Use the word "the" in front of the following proper names of places on the Pomona campus: the Academic Quad, the Carnegie Building, the Dean of Students' House, the Hahn Building, the President's House, and the Wash. No other proper building or place names on the Pomona campus require the use of the article. Examples: at Sontag Greek Theatre; behind Huntley Bookstore, in Rains Center for Sports and Recreation; in front of Smith Campus Center. Remember, however, that on second reference, words like "theatre," "center" and "bookstore," used without the proper name, should not be capitalized.

Named rooms

Uppercase is preferred throughout. Example: Spalding Room in Alexander Hall; Rose Hills Theatre in Smith Campus Center.

Numbered rooms

Use the unabbreviated short name of the facility plus the number. Examples: Carnegie 101; Mason 208; Alexander 251.

Claremont Colleges

Always capitalize the article "The" when the term The Claremont Colleges is used as a unit. On second reference, lower case is preferred for mentions of "the colleges." When referring to the five undergraduate colleges (Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer and Scripps), it is acceptable to reference the institutions as "the 5Cs."

Claremont McKenna College

CMC is acceptable and is preferred when used with class year. Example: CMC '07.


Lowercase is preferred for references to the Pomona College community.


Capitalize the word College in second references to Pomona College as "the College" but lowercase is preferred when the term is used in a generic sense, as in "a college" or "this college."

Ethnic Groups

Asian American. Capitalize.
Black is preferred to African American. Capitalize.
Latino is preferred to Hispanic. Capitalize.
Native American. Capitalize.


Official names of College events are generally capitalized. Examples: Commencement, Family Weekend, Opening Convocation; Alumni Weekend. If the official name is replaced with a descriptor, it is not capitalized. Examples: reunion weekend; end-of-year party; parent get-together.

Academic terms and breaks are not capitalized. Examples: fall semester; spring break.

Faculty, faculty members

The word faculty is generally lowercased. The faculty as a whole is a singular collective noun ("the college faculty includes many professors"). An individual is a member of the faculty or a faculty member, not "a faculty," and a few people are not "faculty" but faculty members (or members of the faculty).

Freshman/First year

(See Academic Terms/Class Standings)

Harvey Mudd College

HMC is acceptable and is preferred when used with class year. Example: HMC '07.


In running text, spell out the numbers from one to nine. Use numerals for numbers 10 and larger, except in quotations where the wording of the number is unusual and must be precisely reported. Use commas to separate three-digit groupings in all numbers 1,000 and larger.

Office, Department, Program

Staff functions are called "offices." "Department" and "program" refer to organizational structures based on academic functions. Capitalize all three when you use them as part of an official name (whether or not inverted). Examples: the Department of History; the International Relations Program; the Office of Communications; the Office of Campus Safety. Used alone, however, the words are lowercase. Examples: this department; the program.

Passive voice, active voice

Like most style guides, we encourage avoidance of the passive voice and use of the active voice whenever possible. Example: The dean introduced the new plan. Not: The new plan was introduced by the dean.

Pitzer College

Pitzer is acceptable.


Lowercase is preferred. Examples: the alcohol policy; the sexual misconduct policy.

Phone Numbers

Area codes should be placed in parentheses, followed by a space. Example: (909) 607-2000. The word extension should be spelled out, if possible. If there is insufficient space, the correct abbreviation is "ext." Extensions should never be preceded by an "X."



We do not use the serial comma (also known as the Harvard comma): in a series of three or more items, do not use a comma before the final conjunction ("and" or "or"). Example: He has classes in chemistry, psychology and music.

Quotation marks

Commas, periods, and other punctuation such as question marks and exclamation marks are placed inside quotation marks. Colons and semicolons are placed outside of quotation marks.

Bold face and italics

Punctuation that follows words in italics or bold face retains the style of the immediately preceding word.


Hyphenate compound adjectives when they precede the noun that they modify. Examples: off-campus party; 14th-century art. Do not hyphenate them when they stand alone. Example: She lives off campus. Also, do not put a hyphen between an adverb ending in "-ly" and the adjective it modifies. Example: a newly furnished office.


Use a semicolon in a series of items if one or more of the items in the list contains a comma. Example: Be sure to bring warm clothes; something to read, such as a good book; and a good umbrella, just in case it rains.


Capitalize the first letter after a colon only if it is the beginning of a sentence that could stand alone. Example: "Remember this: The only thing you really need is confidence."

Exclamation marks

Avoid exclamation points unless they are truly used as part of an exclamation. It is always better to write forcefully to convey enthusiasm rather than to load your copy with exclamation marks.

Residence hall

The term "residence hall" is preferred over "dorm" or "dormitory."

Scripps College

Scripps is acceptable.

Staff, staff members

The word staff is lowercased. A few people are not "staff" but are staff members (or members of the staff). You can use "the staff" when referring an office's entire group of employees, such as the staff of the Student Affairs Office.


Use the "-re" ending in all cases except the actual names of off-campus theatres that use the other spelling. Although the "theater" spelling is predominant in America, Pomona prefers the "theatre" spelling.

Times and dates

Do not use :00 for times that fall on the hour, except in formal invitations. Use lowercase for a.m. and p.m., with periods after each letter and no space between. Examples: 8 a.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., noon, midnight.

Spell out months in running text. Example: The class ends on December 12.

Do NOT add the ordinal suffix (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 15th) to the day of the month. Example: March 26 (NOT March 26th).

In a complete date, the year should be set off in commas. In a partial date, the year is not set off in commas. Examples: On June 30, 2002, the fiscal year ended. Classes will resume in September 2002. What began in spring 1999 ended in summer 2001.


Lowercase is preferred for the seasons. Examples: When do spring classes begin? The movie premieres in summer 2003.

Titles (people)

Official titles are capitalized when they precede the person's name, but lowercase when they follow the name or are used separately from the name. Examples: Professor of Philosophy John Doe; Jane Doe, assistant professor of music; the dean of admissions; G. Gabrielle Starr, president of the College; President G. Gabrielle Starr.

We do not normally use the honorific title Dr. to refer to Ph.D. recipients or append the Ph.D. to the end of the name; we do use Dr. when referring to a physician. In most second references, we print only last names without honorific titles such as Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Professor.

Titles (publications, compositions and works of art)

Italicize titles of books, magazines, newspapers, journals, theses, plays, television series, movies, album titles, videos, long poems, publications (with more than a generic title), and works of art.

Place quotation marks around titles of articles, shorter poems, songs, individual television episodes and lectures.

Web terms

The terms Web and Internet are always capitalized, even in compound words. Examples: a Web page; my Website; on the Internet. Lowercase is preferred for most other terms, such as home page.

The word email is not hyphenated. Email addresses may be hyphenated only at appropriate hyphenation points in included words.