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This is the latest version of our evolving style guide. It is intended to be used as a reference for Smith-specific words and phrases and for maintaining consistency. It also addresses some common questions about usage, punctuation and language. Entries are based on the Associated Press Stylebook (AP). 

If your questions are not addressed here, please consult the Associated Press Stylebook (for style or grammar) or Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (for spelling or word usage). Note: If using AP online, please do NOT rely on the "Ask the Editor" question-and-answer section; it can be wildly inconsistent. 



abbreviations: Avoid using abbreviations in running text. A few standard abbreviations may be used only when it's customary (a.m., Ms., B.C.E.). Use periods. 

Abbreviate academic degrees only when they follow a name (D.Litt., A.B., Ph.D.).

See also academic degrees, addresses, dates, eras and state names.

acronyms: An acronym is a single word formed from the first letter of a series of words. Acronyms appear in full caps and do not take periods (FAFSA). Spell out acronyms on first reference unless they are well known, such as NAACP.

academic degrees: Use lowercase and spell out degrees mentioned in text: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, baccalaureate, bachelor of fine arts; master’s degree; doctorate, doctoral degree. Abbreviate degrees appearing after names (Jane Wyley, Ph.D.) and cite terminal degree only. 

Note: Smith follows the tradition of using Latin degree names. The traditional undergraduate degrees awarded by Smith are the A.B. (artium baccalaureus), S.B. (scientiae baccalaureus), A.M. (artium magister) and S.M. (scientiae magister). Smith's undergraduate degree in biological sciences is considered a bachelor of arts or an A.B.; its graduate degree in biological sciences is the master of science or S.M. Smith offers the bachelor of science in engineering science. Some of Smith’s master’s programs do not follow this dictate: the social work degree is the M.S.W. and teaching degree is the M.A.T.

academic departments: Capitalize only when the full formal name is used (Department of Biological Sciences, biological sciences department). Formal and informal names may be used interchangeably, though audience sensitivity should be exercised. Department names can be checked against the Smith College website. See also offices on campus.

academic disciplines: Use lowercase for academic subjects, majors, minors, concentrations and courses of study—except in cases that include a proper noun. (English language and literature, Africana studies, medieval studies). See capitalization.

academic titles: Follow the general rules under titles of people. Use lowercase in text, but capitalize when a title precedes a name (Associate Professor Judith Cardell). Long titles should appear after names and be set off by commas. Exception: Named professorships and full formal titles denoting academic honors are always capitalized, even when following a personal name or standing alone (Miriam Petry, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; William Allan Oram, Helen Means Professor of English Language and Literature). Capitalize the title “scholar” when it is part of a named scholarship (Rhodes Scholar, an Ada Comstock Scholar). See also emerita, professor and fellow.

academic year: See class year, numbers and first-year students.

Ada Class Deans Office

Ada Comstock Scholars, Ada Comstock Scholars Program: Always capitalized. Indicated by “AC” after names of alumnae (as in Barbara Smith AC or followed by a space and then the class year, if known: Susan Jones AC ’92). Avoid using “Adas”; although this reference is fairly common, some consider it demeaning. See nontraditional-aged students.

addresses:  In college addresses, state the building before the room (College Hall 5, Neilson Library Browsing Room). Spell out the names of college buildings. Avoid abbreviations in running text. See building names, house, state names and web addresses.

admission office: Smith College Office of Admission (note singular)

Advanced Placement, AP

adviser, advisory

AEMES: Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Sciences

African American: Acceptable to use in referring to a person of African descent; follow individual preference. When used as a modifier for a collective noun, use a plural noun (African American communities, African American cultures) to reflect the complexity and diversity of those included under the broader term.  (See also “Black” entry.)

Africana studies (formerly Afro-American studies)

age: See numbers.

Ainsworth Gymnasium (building name), Ainsworth gym (the room)

All-America: sports term

all-college meeting

alma mater

alumna (fem. singular), alumnae (fem. plural). Varies according to gender and number; alums can be used to avoid citing gender, in keeping with personal preference or in special contexts. See class year.

Alumnae Gymnasium (houses library staff and spaces, next to Neilson Library)

American Indians, Native Americans. All are acceptable terms for general references to those in the U.S.; try to follow individual preference. When referring to individuals, use the name of the tribe or tribal nation if possible. Note that some Native groups and tribal nations use “member”; others use “citizen.” If in doubt, use “citizen.” Be mindful that some Native Americans say the terms “people of color” and “racial minority” fall short by not encompassing their sovereign status. “First Nation” is the preferred term for native tribes in Canada. 

and/or: Avoid this construction; use one or the other.

anti-racism, anti-Black: Use hyphens.

antisemitism, antisemitic: No hyphen or capitalization. 

application forms: Use lowercase when referring to forms (admission application, common application form, health services form).

Asian American No hyphen. Acceptable for an American of Asian descent. When possible, refer to a person’s country of origin or follow the person’s preference ("Filipino American," "Indian American").  When used as a modifier for a group, use a plural noun (Asian American communities, Asian American cultures) to reflect the complexity and diversity of those included in the broader term. 

athletics and recreation department; Department of Athletics and Recreation (formerly the Department of Athletics). Note the plural “athletics”  See also sports-related terms.

awards: Names of awards, prizes and grants are capitalized, but some generic terms used with the names are lowercased. (a Nobel Prize winner; the Nobel Prize in literature; a Nobel Prize–winning physicist; the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for commentary). MacArthur “genius grant” (lowercase in quotation marks—this is a common description, not an official designation).



bachelor's degree: Smith awards the bachelor of arts, abbreviated as A.B.; and the bachelor of science, S.B.

bias-free and inclusive language: Avoid stereotyping or using language that is insensitive to cultural differences or that unwittingly marginalizes, excludes or offends any group of people (whether because of age; class; ethnicity; gender; mental and physical abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation or body size).

biological sciences: (formerly biology). See also academic degrees.

Black: Uppercase when as an adjective referring to people, cultural identity, movements or politics. When used as a modifier for a group, use a plural noun (Black communities, Black cultures) to reflect the complexity and diversity of those represented by the broader term.

Smith College Board of Trustees (capitalize the full name only). Use lowercase for the generic reference, even when referring to Smith: the board of trustees.

boathouse: Smith College boathouse (one word, lowercase; a generic description)

bookstore: Smith College Bookstore (formerly Grécourt Bookshop) 

botanic garden, Botanic Garden of Smith College (Capitalize only when using the full formal name.)

brand names or trademarks: Substitute a generic term when available (photocopy, tissue). The trademark symbol is unnecessary. Avoid using trademarked names as verbs (terms such as Photoshopped, Xeroxed, Googling and Tweeting can be replaced by photo editing, copied, searching and posting). Exception: See “GI Bill®”

building names: Capitalize the names of specific buildings, use lowercase for generic terms (Neilson Library, the library; Brown Fine Arts Center). Consult the Smith College map online for accurate names of campus buildings. See also addresses, capitalization and house.



Julia McWilliams Child ’34 Campus Center, campus center (lowercase generic description): Always use the full name including class year on first use. On subsequent use, Julia Child Center or campus center may be substituted. For event listings use the full name.

Campus Safety Department (formerly Campus Police): Capitalize the formal name of the department. Lowercase the abbreviated version "campus safety," unless you feel that capitalization is necessary to make it clear that you are referring to the college department. 

Campus School of Smith College, Campus School (formerly Smith College Campus School)

cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation 

capitalization: Capitalize the full formal names of college departments and offices, course titles, committees, divisions, associations, prizes, programs, institutes, grants, awards, scholarships, buildings and rooms. Use lowercase when the names are shortened or when used as a generic term. (Smith College, the college; Office of Admission, admission office; Ainsworth lounge, botanic garden). When in doubt, use lowercase.

Lowercase the common noun elements of names in plural uses (the rivers Connecticut and Manhan; Amherst and Mount Holyoke colleges).

headlines and composition titles: Capitalize the principal words—nouns, verbs, adverbs, pronouns and interjections. Capitalize only those conjunctions and prepositions consisting of four or more letters. For hyphenated compounds, the same general capitalization rules apply to the elements following the hyphen. If the first element of the hyphenated compound is a prefix that cannot stand by itself as a word, do not capitalize the second element (Anti-intellectualism). 

See also academic titles, academic disciplines, course titles and titles.

catalog: preferred spelling. Smith College Course Catalog is the official title of the publication; do not capitalize "catalog" when used generically (college catalog).

Centers: Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability; Jandon Center for Community Engagement; Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center; Phoebe and John D. Lewis Global Studies Center; Wurtele Center for Leadership

Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (formerly the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life)

central check-in, CCI

chair: Avoid using "chairman." You could also use "presiding officer," "coordinator" or "convener."

Office of the Class Deans; class deans office (no apostrophe)

class year: Lowercase when spelled out: class of 1934. When stating a name and year of graduation, use space after name and apostrophe with year (Julia Child ’34). Master's degrees should be specified (M.S.W. ’09) and set off by commas (Judy Patootie '86, S.M. '99,...). References between 1879 and 100 years before the present year should include the entire year (Ima Gurley 1892). See also Ada Comstock Scholars.

"sophomore," "junior" and "senior" are always lowercased. See also first-year students and upper-class students.

Collaborations (Capitalize when referring to the event.)

commas See punctuation.

Commencement, Commencement Weekend: capitalize when referring to Smith College.

common application form

The Compass café in Neilson Library. Note the lowercase "café" (in keeping with the preference of the donor).

computer and technology terms: email, webpage, internet. See also web.

concentrations: Use lowercase when citing Smith's academic concentrations (archives concentration, concentration in archives; Buddhist studies).

Copy and Print Services

corporation names: On first reference, use the corporation's full formal name (Ford Motor Company); the shortened name can be used for subsequent references (Ford). To confirm the actual name, consult the AP Stylebook under "company names," look at the online Nasdaq listing or at the copyright notice at the bottom of the corporation's home page. Capitalize "The" if it's part of the official name. Do not use all capital letters (Ikea) unless the letters are individually pronounced (BMW).

Inc.: When included as part of a company's name, do not set off with a comma. 

Counseling Services (formerly Counseling Service)

course work

course titles: Use initial caps for full titles of courses; do not use italics or quotation marks. (Cell Biology; an introductory history course; AAS 245 The Harlem Renaissance)

COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. It is a disease caused by one strain in the family of viruses called coronaviruses. 

cross-country (noun and adjective)

cross-cultural, cross-listed courses



dashes: See punctuation and dates.

dates: Use a comma when including the day (Tuesday, September 14, 2004; January 15, 1988) but not with month and year only (January 1988). In text citing a month-day-year, commas must be used to set off the year (both before and after). Do not abbreviate names of days or months in running text. Avoid using a dash with "from" or "between" (incorrect: from May 7–April 14; correct: from May 7 to April 14). Use an en-dash when citing a range of dates; it is not necessary to repeat the month: May 7–14). Use cardinal numbers (August 7, not August 7th). See also centuries and decades under numbers listing, as well as eras.

deaf: Describes a person with total hearing loss. For others, use "hard of hearing." Avoid "hearing impaired," "partially deaf" and "hearing loss." The term "Deaf" (uppercase) is appropriate when focusing on a community, rather than a medical condition. See also "persons with disabilities" below. 

dean's list

DeCora House ("DeCora" is one word.)

degrees: See academic degrees.

Dining Services

persons with disabilities, disabled person: Follow individual preference; some object to "people first" ("persons with...") and prefer "identity-first" terminology because they see their see their disability as central to their identity. Do not use "the disabled," "handicapped" or "the impaired." The term "accessible" is preferred over "handicap-accessible." "Neurodiverse" is preferred; "developmentally disabled people" or "intellectually disabled" or "mentally disabled" are also acceptable. Avoid euphemisms and terms that evoke pity, such as "victim of," "afflicted with" or "suffers from." 

Discovery Weekend

dorm, dormitory: Avoid these terms when referring to Smith campus housing. Smith students live in houses. See house.

dual degree programs



Early Decision Plans: Early Decision I, Early Decision II (formerly Fall Early Decision, Winter Early Decision)

eDigest: the college's official vehicle for distributing through via email

email: Can be used as a noun, adjective or a verb. The plural form "emails" is now also acceptable. (This usage has evolved.)

emerita (fem., singular); emeritae (fem., plural); emeritus (male, singular); emeriti (male, plural). These are honorary designations and do not simply mean “retired.” As in all titles of people, lowercase when used as a generic description but capitalize when used before a name or as an official part of a named professorship (Professor Emerita Susan Waltner, Elsie Irwin Sweeney Professor Emeritus of Music). Note: This entry may be revised as nongendered alternatives evolve.

Office for Equity and Inclusion (formerly Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity)

eras: C.E. and B.C.E.—Common Era and Before the Common Era are the preferred terms (considered to be more inclusive than A.D. and B.C.).

ethnicity and nationality designations: Try to use the preferred, specific identifications. Dual-heritage identifiers do not require hyphens, even when used as modifiers (African American communities, Irish American newspaper). 

exercise and sport studies; Department of Exercise and Sport Studies (note the singular "sport" in both the minor and the department)

extension: Spell out this word for all campus telephone numbers. Exception: If space is limited, use "ext." but never "x".



Facilities Management 

faculty: singular. Add the word "members" to make it plural.

Faculty Council

Family Weekend (formerly Parents Weekend)

fellow, fellowship: Lowercase when used alone, capitalize when used with a proper name (Fulbright Fellow, MacArthur Fellowship). 

festivities: The following Smith celebrations are capitalized: Commencement and Reunion (when referring to Smith only), Family Weekend, Ivy Day, Mountain Day, Meadow Day, Opening Convocation, Cromwell Day, Rally Day, Julia Child Day.

fieldwork (but course work)

film and media studies (formerly film studies)

first-generation students: Hyphenate "first-generation" when it appears before a noun. Okay to use "first-gen" (adj.) or "first gen" (noun) on second reference in informal writing. 

first-year students: Avoid the word "freshmen."

fitness center

Five College Consortium (formerly Five Colleges, Incorporated): On first reference, use the full name of the organization (Five College Consortium); "Five College"  (capitalized) is acceptable in second and subsequent references; capitalize also when using the name of the organization as an adjective. Do not capitalize when referring to the five colleges in general (and not the consortium).

Ford Hall: Smith's building for the sciences and engineering

foreign words and phrases: Use italics for foreign words or phrases, except those that have been incorporated into everyday American usage. (Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is a good source for determining accepted usage.) When using a foreign term more than once in the same article, second and later appearances should not be italicized.

fundraising, fundraiser: One word in all cases

Fulbright Fellow (students), Fulbright Scholar (professors and professionals)



the Gamut (in the Mendenhall Center for Performing Arts), upper Gamut, lower Gamut

geographic locations: General compass points and terms derived from them are lowercased if they simply refer to direction or location (western Massachusetts). Regional terms are generally capitalized (a Southern accent, East Coast, the Northeast, Western Hemisphere). General terms are always lowercase (the valley). Capitalize legendary and popular names (Big Apple, Happy Valley). See addresses and state names.

GI Bill® The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs now requires the trademark symbol on first usage, accompanied by the following footnote:

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government web site at

Global South development studies The term "Global South" is preferred over "underdeveloped" or "third world." "Economically developing nations" is another accepted alternative.

Gold Key guide

grade point average, GPA

Graham Hall (the lecture hall in Hillyer Hall). Location should be listed as "Graham Hall, Brown Fine Arts Center." 

Grécourt Gates (plural "gates," the structure in front of College Hall), Grécourt Gate (singular, Smith's online news site)

gymnasiums: plural (preferred over "gymnasia")



Happy Chace '28 Garden (near the President's House)

health care

Helen Hills Hills Chapel (No, it's not a misprint.)

Hillyer Art Library, Hillyer lounge

historic, historical: Preceded by the article "a" (not "an")

historical periods: A descriptive designation of a period is usually lowercased (baroque, colonial period, nuclear age). Exception: “Renaissance” is capitalized to avoid ambiguity. Names of prehistoric periods are generally capitalized: Ice Age, Bronze Age. Consult the "historical periods and events" entry in the AP Stylebook.

holidays: Veterans Day (no apostrophe), Mother's Day. For Smith events, see festivities.

honorary degree, honorary doctorate, honors, honoree

house: Smith-specific term for student residence building (not “dorm” or “dormitory”)

house system



ID, IDs, Smith ID: No periods; often doubles as OneCard 

Illumination Night

Indigenous: Capitalize when referring to original inhabitants. 

Indigenous Peoples Day

Indoor Track and Tennis Facility, ITT

in residence, students in residenceartist-in-residence: hyphenate when describing a work position

interdepartmental major or minor

Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program (formerly the American Studies Diploma Program)

international students: Use "international" when referring to people (avoid the term "foreign").

Office of International Students and Scholars (formerly the "Office of International Students")


interterm: Do not use "intersession," "January term" or "J-term."

Italian studies (formerly Italian language and literature)

Ivy Day, Ivy Day Awards Convocation 



Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching and Learning

Jean Picker Semester-in-Washington Program

John M. Greene Hall, JMG

Josten Library, Werner Josten Performing Arts Library

Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (formerly Center for Women and Financial Independence)

judicial board or Student Government Judicial Board, SGA Judicial Board




Kosher Kitchen, Kosher Co-op Kitchen, kosher food



Latino/a The Smith academic department uses "Latin American and Latino/a studies" (and the Associated Press still recommends this usage). The gender-neutral "Latinx" may also be used if an individual prefers. When used as a modifier for a group, use a plural noun to reflect the complexity and diversity of the population  (Latino/a communities). Whether to use "Hispanic" or "Latino/a" should also follow personal preference, but in general "Hispanic" refers to language (those from primarily Spanish-speaking places) and "Latino/a" to geography (those from Latin, Central and South America and some of the Caribbean Islands). The gender-neutral term "Latine" is gaining favor but is not yet widely recognized.  

lawn: Lowercase the namesof all lawns on campus (Davis lawn, Seelye lawn, Burton lawn), as these are generic descriptions of locations, rather than official, endowed designations. 

Lazarus Center for Career Development (formerly Career Development Office); Lazarus Center or career center (on second reference)

Leo Weinstein Auditorium

LGBTQ. The prevailing terminology in the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and queer (or questioning) community varies and includes several lengthy acronyms that are not yet widely recognized. The use of a '+' at the end of the acronym (LGBTQ+) is sometimes seen to represent communities not expressly called out, even in the lengthier versions, and may be used if an individual prefers.

liberal arts advisers (formerly "premajor advisers")

livestream, livestreaming

Lyman Plant House and Conservatory, the conservatory. (This is a recent change.) It consists of 12 greenhouses and the Church Exhibition Gallery.



MacLeish Field Station: Use Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station on first reference

major and minor, interdepartmental major and minor: Lowercase these terms and the names of academic fields (minoring in biological sciences, a Jewish studies major).

master's degrees: Smith confers the A.M. and the S.M. See also academic degrees.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics (formerly the Department of Mathematics)

McConnell roof observatory

medalist: winner of the Smith College Medal

Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts; the performing arts center

Mendenhall Fellows

minority: Try to avoid this word and focus instead on diversity. Use specific identification ("Chinese American") if relevant or "underrepresented groups" if applicable and specifics are not known. See ethnicity and nationality designations, "Black" "Latino/a" and "Native American" entries.

Mount Holyoke: not Mt. Holyoke

Mountain Day

museum of art: Capitalize only when referring to the full name: Smith College Museum of Art. Use lowercase "museum" for generic references to the Smith museum.

Mwangi Cultural Center



names of people: Do not use courtesy titles (Dr., Ms., Mrs., or Mr.). On second and subsequent references, use last names only—not first names. Use Jr., II and so on with complete names only and eliminate the preceding comma.

Native American: See "American Indian" entry.

Neilson Library, the college library. Houses special collections (lowercase): the Mortimer Rare Book Collection, Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History, the Smith College Archives (note: "College Archives" used alone is generally capitalized to prevent confusion). Endowed spaces: Klingenstein Browsing Room. Wings: Ruth J. Simmons Wing (or "Simmons Wing"), Mary Maples Dunn Wing ("Dunn Wing"). 

newspaper and magazine titles: Capitalize these titles and set the publication title in italics (not the generic description); the title should appear exactly as it does in the masthead of the printed publication or on their websites, including punctuation and preceding article (The New York TimesTime magazine). See titles.

nondegree: No hyphen (in keeping with general guidelines for prefixes).

nontraditional-aged students, students of nontraditional college age. Use when referring to Ada Comstock Scholars; avoid saying "older students."

numbers: Spell out numbers one through nine, use figures for 10 and above, even when this means mixing words and numerals in the same sentence. This rule holds for ordinals as well; the letters in ordinal numbers should not appear as superscripts.

Spell out numbers when they appear as the first word of the sentence or recast the sentence (preferred). Use commas in numbers of four or more digits (2,367), except in dates, addresses and page numbers. Large rounded numbers should be spelled out (nearly a thousand people; 2 million residents).

academic credits: Use numerals (2 credits)

academic year: (2017–18) When citing academic years, use an en-dash and do not repeat the century.

age: Always use numerals (a 5-year-old, the 5-year-old child, women in their 20s).

centuries and decades: Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades (1930s, the ’30s) or centuries (1800s); hyphenate adjectival forms of centuries (18th-century architecture); the letters in ordinal numbers should not appear as superscript. (See also eras.)

dimensions: Use numerals (6-foot distancing)

fractions: Use figures for all fractions larger than one; spell out for less than one (1-1/2; two-thirds).

money: Use numerals, not words, for all dollar amounts, and eliminate zeros when possible. Use numbers and words when citing more than six figures: $6 million drive, $40 billion.

percentages: Use numerals for percentages and spell out the word (7 percent) in running text. Okay to use the percent sign (%) if space is an issue (e.g., in a table or graph). 

telephone numbers: Use hyphens with area code: 413-584-2700. (This is a change in Smith style because of cell phone use, which often requires area codes.) See also extension.

temperature: Always use numerals, spell out "plus" and "minus" (do not use symbols), and spell out "degrees" (minus 20 degrees, 7 degrees below zero).

See also addresses, dates, class year and time of day entries.




offices on campus: Capitalize the full names of all administrative offices (Office of College Relations, Office of the Class Deans, Office of Human Resources); lowercase generic references (human resources, human resources office).

ombudsperson: Use "Office of the Ombudsperson" or "ombudsperson" on first reference; "ombuds" is fine for subsequent references.



Opening Convocation: See festivities.

Orientation: Capitalize when referring to Smith programs. 



pass/fail grading option

Pelham Medical Services (first reference); Medical Services (not Health Services, not the Medical Services). This is the medical part of the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness.

Pell grants

percent: See "numbers."

Picker Engineering Program, the Picker program (not to be confused with the Jean Picker Semester-in-Washington Program)

plurals: Do not use an apostrophe for plurals of acronyms: SATs, DVDs. See capitalization for plurals of common noun elements used with proper names.

No apostrophe is necessary when pluralizing numbers or letters, including letter grades (the 1930s, two Bs and a C–); however, use an apostrophe with the letter grade A to avoid misreading (two A's).

Latin plurals: addenda, analyses, consortia, criteria, curricula, data, media, millennia, theses, syllabi, symposia

Anglicized plurals: appendixes, colloquiums, gymnasiums, indexes, memorandums

The Poetry Center Capitalize the article "The" (since it's a part of the official name). 

possessives: Most possessive singular nouns use an apostrophe and an s; possessive plural nouns use an apostrophe only. Singular proper names ending in s take only an apostrophe: Williams' speech.

Praxis internship

precollege in accordance with general guideline for prefixes (no hyphen). 

prefixes: Compounds formed with prefixes are normally closed (not hyphenated). For further information, consult Webster's Dictionary or the AP Stylebook. Examples: multicultural, nonprofit, prelaw, prehealth, premedical, postdoctoral, postseason; but co-author, co-worker, anti-racism.

professor: In running text, all faculty members at any rank may be generically referred to as "professor," provided their full, accurate title is cited beforehand in the text.

professorships, named: Full titles of named professorships are always capitalized, even when they appear after the professor's name. (Martha A. Ackelsberg, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government and professor of the study of women and gender)

pronouns: Use female pronouns when referring to Smith undergraduate students. (As stated in the admission policy established by the board of trustees.) If an individual uses a nonspecified pronoun, respect their wishes. Avoid references to "preferred" pronouns; refer to "pronouns" only. ("Preferred" suggests that other pronouns are also acceptable, while many individuals do not feel that way). 

punctuation: This entry addresses only those questions related to Smith style and is not meant to be comprehensive. See the "Guide to Punctuation" chapter in the AP Stylebook for a more complete explanation.

apostrophe: See possessives, holidays, decades and plurals.


series Use for words in series of three or more after every item except the last and next to the last (performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Exception: Use a comma after the next to the last item if it helps avoid ambiguity. (Examples: undergraduate, business, and graduate and professional schools; the required courses are Elementary German, Reading German, and German Conversation and Composition.) When some items in the list contain internal commas, semicolons should be used between the items (and before the final conjunction as well).


Used only to indicate missing words or phrases in quotations


Hyphenate compound modifiers when they precede nouns (an awe-inspiring sight, a well-prepared meal); leave open when they follow nouns (the sight was awe inspiring, the meal was well prepared). See also prefixes.

Do not hyphenate well-established compound modifiers (a high school play, the civil rights movement).

Do not hyphenate modifiers containing an adverb ending in "ly" (mildly irritating fellow, a highly complex question).

Suspensive hyphenation: For phrasal adjectives sharing a common element. Example: He received a 10- to 20-year sentence.

quotation marks

Periods and commas generally go inside closing quotation marks.

Colons, semicolons, question marks and exclamation points follow closing quotation marks unless a they are part of the quoted matter.



quad, quadrangle: Lowercase (generic description)



re-create (to create again), recreate (to take recreation)

Office of the Registrar; registrar's office

religious titles: the Rev. Richard Phillips—include the article the before the title; not Rev. or Reverend Phillips (Please consult AP Stylebook—this subject can be complicated.) Use last name only in subsequent references.

Renaissance: See also historical periods entry.

Resource Center for Sexuality and Gender in Wesley House


Reunion: Capitalize when referring to Smith Reunions.

room and board: Use "housing and meals" when referring to Smith.

rooms: Capitalize official room names on campus (Neilson Library Browsing Room) but use lowercase when they are simply locations or informal names (Ainsworth lounge). When in doubt, use lowercase.



satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option; S/U grading option (on second reference only)

Schacht Center for Health and Wellness,  Schacht Center (on second reference)

scholar: Capitalize when part of a named scholarship (Ada Comstock Scholar, Fulbright Scholar)

School for Social Work, SSW (on second reference). Set off with commas when citing degrees after name (Jane Kind, SSW '12)

Scott Gymnasium; Scott gym

seasons: Use lowercase (fall, spring, winter).

semesters: Use lowercase (fall semester, first semester, interterm).

senior class gift, senior class speaker

Seven Sisters: Acceptable to use in a historical context; otherwise, "Sister Colleges" is preferred (since there are no longer seven).

Smith alumnae: "Smithies" can be also used as a nongendered alternative. (This is a change in college style.)

Smith College Archives, College Archives, the archives

Smith College Conference Center 

Smith College Medal, Smith College medalist

The Smith Fund: Yes, the article is capitalized.

Smith Scholars Program; Smith Scholars

Sophomore Push; Sophomore Push Committee

special study (formerly independent study)

Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning


sports-related terms

All-American (n. or adj.); Easterns, nationals, regionals; NCAA divisions use roman numerals (Smith's teams are Division III); Region I; varsity eight (crew). See AP Stylebook for a comprehensive listing.

Staff Council

state names: Spell out in text (e.g., She was born in Massachusetts in 1960; She was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1960). Set off state names with commas before and after when used after a city in a sentence. Note: Use the two-letter postal abbreviations only when citing full mailing addresses and ZIP codes.

STEM, STEAM For STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), spell out on first or second reference. STEAM (adds "art"), spell out on first reference (not as familiar to audiences). 

Stoddard Hall auditorium

student activities fee

Student Events Committee 

Student Financial Services (formerly Office of Financial Aid)

Student Government Association (SGA), SGA Cabinet, SGA Judicial Board

study abroad: Smith Programs Abroad is the official name for the Smith programs in Florence, Geneva, Hamburg and Paris (formerly "Junior Year Abroad"). "Junior Year Abroad" should be used only in a historical context.



telephone numbers: Use hyphens with area code: 413-584-2700. (This is a change in Smith style because of cell phone use, which often requires area codes.) See also extension.

theatre: Use this spelling when referring to the department at Smith: Department of Theatre, theatre department. Use the "theater" spelling in generic use, unless the specific organization uses the "–re" spelling.

time of day: Use numbers, eliminate unnecessary zeros, use a.m. and p.m. (lowercase with periods). Use "midnight" and "noon" (lowercase) instead of 12 a.m. and p.m. (8–11:30 a.m.; 7 a.m. to midnight; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Spell out durations used in running text (An eight-hour workday. The class meets at two o'clock.)



The following are brief guidelines. Because italics are preferred for most composition titles, please consult the Chicago Manual of Style for more detailed information. For guidelines on using initial capitalization in headlines and titles, see capitalization.

of awards and prizes

Use headline capitalization (initial caps). Generic terms that accompany these should be lowercase (Nobel Prize winner).

of courses 

Course titles should be set in Roman with initial caps.

of events

The names of events, including conferences and campaigns, should be set in Roman with initial caps. 

of lectures

The names of individual lectures should be capitalized and set in quotation marks. The lecture series should be capitalized only.

of laws, regulations, policies

Use initial caps only. 

of legal cases 

Use italics.

of music

Use quotation marks for song titles; use italics for citing full works (containing multiple pieces or songs, like operas). Use capitalization only (and no additional treatment) for titles that are generic descriptions (Concerto for Orchestra, Piano Sonata). Use lowercase abbreviations for opus and number (String Quartet no. 5; Sonata in E-flat, op. 31, no. 3). Capitalize "Major" and "Minor" if they appear as part of a title (Fantasy in C Minor). Titles of CDs and albums should be in italics. See Chicago Manual for more details.

of works - printed materials, art, film, television, theatre

Italicize titles of books, magazines, newspapers, films, television series (see "episodes" below), full-length plays, as well as paintings, statues, works of art and art exhibitions. See newspaper and magazine titles.

Enclose in quotation marks the titles of short stories, poems, booklets, flyers and specific television episodes in a series (with the series title in italics).

of online sources

websites—Use initial caps for names of websites. (Facebook, Google, The Huffington Post); articles or titled sections of a website should be set in quotation marks.

blogs, podcasts, web series—Set main title in italics; enclose titles of individual entries or episodes in quotation marks

online books or journals—Use italics (Oxford English Dictionary online).

of people

Smith College administrators and faculty members: Titles are listed in the online Smith College Course Catalog; under "General Information," select "Directory." This is the definitive source for checking titles.

Official titles Capitalize official titles that appear before names (President Kathleen McCartney, Dean of the College Susan Etheredge, Professor Brown, Professor of Anthropology Donald Brown). Lowercase informal descriptive titles and occupational titles used before names (historian Ellen Richter).

Titles appearing after names: Use lowercase (Kathleen McCartney, president of the college). Exceptions: Titles in display (in mastheads and in other headings) or in formal usage (programs and announcements) are often capitalized without regard to these rules. See also academic titles, emerita and religious titles.

Long titles: Move to follow names whenever possible (Karen Green, assistant professor of theatre).

Titles standing alone Use lowercase (the president, the dean, the director of graduate study).


transgender: transgender students (not "transgendered"). In informal writing, okay to use "trans" on second reference, provided the meaning is clear to the audience or in keeping with individual preference.

trustees, Smith College Board of Trustees. Capitalize only when full name is used; otherwise lowercase, even when referring to the Smith board of trustees.

Smith-Tuck Business Bridge Program: (Note that the word "Summer" is not part of the title.)



United States: Spell out when used as a noun, abbreviate the adjectival form (U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, U.S. currency, an ally of the United States).

university and college names: For universities with several campuses, try to follow the preferred punctuation for each campus (see individual university websites). For example, University of Massachusetts Amherst; University of California, Berkeley; University at Albany, State University of New York. Use shortened names (UMass, MIT) only in informal references (exception: Mount Holyoke College: do not abbreviate "Mount".)

upper-class students/upperclassmen: Avoid these terms. When practical, replace with "returning students" or "upper-level students" or consider using "sophomores, juniors and seniors," if it doesn't seem too wordy.



vespers, Christmas vespers

Visiting Year at Smith (not Visiting Student Program)




web: Lowercase in all instances: webpage, website, webcam.

web addresses: It is no longer necessary to begin URLs with "www" (nor is it necessary to use the protocol "http://"). Set web addresses in Roman (no quotation marks, italics or boldface).

webpages See titles of online sources.

Wellness Services (Not to be referred to as Wellness Education, Wellness Services Office or the Wellness Services)

Werner Josten Performing Arts Library, Josten Library

William Allan Neilson Library (Note the spelling of the middle name.)

Program for the Study of Women and Gender (formerly women's studies)

work-study, Federal Work-Study Program, work-study students



ZIP code