Marketing and Communications

Style Guide



abbey - lowercase unless part of a formal title, for example: Saint John’s Abbey. The Saint John’s Abbey and University Church is capitalized. Use complete name on first reference, then Abbey Church on subsequent references.

Abbey Guesthouse - use when referencing this specific place, then on subsequent references, the guesthouse.

academic degrees - if mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and use instead a phrase such as: John Jones, who has a doctorate in psychology. Use abbreviations such as B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. only when the need to identify many individuals by degree on first reference would make the preferred form cumbersome. Use periods for two-letter acronyms (M.A.), but no period for three or more (MBA, MPA, MSIT). Use these abbreviations only after a full name - never after just a last name. When used after a name, an academic abbreviation is set off by commas: Daniel Moynihan, Ph.D., spoke. Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the degree in the same reference: wrong: Dr. Pam Jones, Ph.D. correct: Dr. Pam Jones, a chemist. Do not use Dr. for non-medical titles (nursing faculty are a prominent exception) unless specifically requested by subject and never on a second reference. Use an apostrophe for bachelor’s degree, master’s, etc., but there is no possessive in Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. When referring to degrees in general, lowercase the first letter of the degree (they all had bachelor’s degrees; the twins received doctoral degrees).

academic standing - Use senior, junior, sophomore and “first-year” for freshmen when referring to students at CSB+SJU, although Saint John’s may use “freshman” in athletic communications. List the student by the number of years they've been on campus, not their academic standing with credits earned and as recognized by the registrar's office. Example: Someone attending CSB for their third year is a junior, even if they have senior standing in terms of credits. Exceptions include academic awards (like the DES Awards in spring) or an event like commencement. Athletic stories should refer to the student-athlete's year of eligibility. Non-athletic communications also should include a student or graduate’s year of graduation behind their name on first reference: i.e. John Doe/Jane Doe ’23. During the summer, any communication listing academic distinction earned during the previous semester should list the student's academic standing when they received the honor. As soon as a student finishes the school year, or sports season, they will be referred to by the year they will be in the fall.

academic titles - Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chairman, professor, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Example: Mary Smith, associate professor of biology; or Professor Mary Smith.

address - the address for CSB is: Specific Department, Person or Program, College of Saint Benedict, 37 S. College Ave., St. Joseph, MN 56374. The address at SJU is: Specific Department, Person or Program, Saint John's University, PO Box 2000, Collegeville, MN 56321.

admission, Admission Office - capitalize when it is a formal name. Lowercase all other uses, including phrases such as “financial aid.” Note: It is always singular, i.e.: admission; not admissions.

advisor – Use the common application of advisor, not adviser.

alumna, alumnae, alumnus, alumni - use alumna (alumnae in the plural) when referring to women attending a school, alumnus (alumni in plural) when referring to men attending a school. When referring to both women and men, use alumnae/i. Reserve alum (alums in plural) to publications only or quotes. For married couples, use first name, (birth name in parenthesis), married name and class year. Example: John Smith ’90, and Barb (Doe) Smith '91. If a couple uses two hyphenated or two last names, use style the couple prefers. For CSB graduates, use their maiden name before their married name without parentheses unless otherwise requested. Writers should ask the subject for their preference. Use married name on subsequent references. In the case of an alum who also earned their master’s degree at CSB or SJU, use their undergraduate year first and the year they earned their graduate degree in parentheses. Example: Peter Tork ’68 (’72).

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Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science - a bachelor's degree or bachelor's is acceptable reference.

Bahamas - When referencing the country it should be "The Bahamas." For example, John Doe is a native of Nassau, The Bahamas.

Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict - The Benedicta Arts Center of the College on the College of Saint Benedict campus on first reference in press releases. For most other communications, Benedicta Arts Center, BAC on second reference, is acceptable.

Bennie/Bennies - informal nicknames.

Board of Trustees - use the full name on first reference. Subsequent references may be styled as the trustees or the board. (See also Common Boards.)

bookstore - lowercase when standing alone, uppercase when used with College of Saint Benedict, Saint John's University, CSB, SJU, etc. Example: Amanda works at the CSB Bookstore.

book titles - should be in italics.

Brother - when referring to Abbey monks, Br. for abbreviation followed by full name, OSB. Use last name on subsequent references.

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capitalization - lowercase internal elements of an organization or institution when the names are those widely used in generic terms: board of trustees at CSB, history department at CSB/SJU. Capitalize internal elements of an organization when they have names that are not widely used.

Catholic - always uppercase when referring to Roman Catholic.

church - always lowercase unless part of a proper name. Example: Our family went to church every Sunday at the Church of St. Mary’s.

class representatives, class reps - formal and informal uses.

clubs – Allied Health Club, Biochemistry Club, Biology Club, China Cross Cultural Communication Club, Classical Studies Club, Climate Justice Club, Climbing Club, Computer Science Club, Crew Club, CSB Club Volleyball, CSB Ultimate Frisbee Club, Cycling Club, Disc Golf Club, Drama Club, Dynamic Speech and Debate Team & Club, Economics Club, Education Club, Engineering Club, Finance Club, French Club, German Club, International Affairs Club, Japanese Bunka Club, Marketing Club, Nursing Club, Nutrition Club, Physics Club, Pre-Dental Club, Pre-Law Club, Pre-Med Club, Pre-PA Club, Psychology Club, SJU Club Hockey, SJU Club Lacrosse, SJU Club Volleyball, SJU Ultimate Frisbee Club, Ski and Snowboarding Club, Spanish Club, The Walking Club, Ukulele Club.

the college - lowercase when referring to CSB, SJU or any college. Note: When referring to CSB and SJU, or Bennies and Johnnies, be sensitive to the context in which the order of name recognition makes the most sense. The default is "the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University," and "Bennies and Johnnies" because those are alphabetically appropriate. However, if writing a story for Saint John's Magazine, or on a topic that is primarily relevant to SJU or the Johnnies, the order should be reversed. A real-life example of such rationale can be found in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Residents of Minneapolis would commonly refer to them as "Minneapolis and St. Paul," whereas residents of St. Paul would prefer "St. Paul and Minneapolis."

comma - do not use the last comma in a series before the and (also known as a Harvard comma) unless needed for clarity. Example: “math, English and history.” Commas always go inside quotation marks.

commencement - lowercase when used alone; capitalize when referring to a CSB or SJU event: Saint John’s Commencement will be May 8.

committees - official committee names are capitalized. Examples: Joint Events Council, Health at Work, Annual Fund Committee.

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dash – there are two, the en dash (-) and em dash (–). Use the en dash to indicate a range: 2009-20; 4-6 p.m.; May-July 2023. If the range is introduced with “from,” do not use a dash: from 2009 to 2020. Use the em dash to indicate an abrupt change in thought. Example: The president has adapted – usually skillfully – to the integration of both schools. Also use the em dash to set apart a list within a sentence: He noted the qualities – intelligence, humor, independence – he liked in an intern.

Dean’s list - should be uppercase unless talking in generic terms about a college’s dean list.

departments - lowercase department names and offices in text unless using a proper name. Example: Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship.

dollar amounts - do not use ".00" for even dollar amounts. Example: the event is $5 for faculty/staff, $3.50 for students.

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email - lowercase, do not hyphenate.

events - capitalize special events: Father/Daughter Dance, Family Weekend.

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fall - lowercase all seasons within a sentence.

fall semester - instead of fall term or first semester.

Father – use when referring to a Catholic reverend. Fr. is the abbreviation before a first reference to a full name. The Rev. is also acceptable before a full name on first reference.

field house – two words. Capitalize if referring to Clemens Field House.

fund – capitalize when using the name of an official fund. Example: Endowed Scholars Fund, Annual Fund.

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globe-trotter, globe-trotting, Harlem Globetrotters – note one word and capitalized only in the case of the basketball team.

godchild, goddaughter always lowercase.

Godspeed – uppercase.

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Homecoming - Use when referring to SJU Homecoming. The joint CSB+SJU alum event in June has been officially changed to Reunion.

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identification - in general, identify people as name, job title. Examples: Helen Adams, assistant director of development, will complete the project. Anthony Jones, professor of history, will soon complete an analytical paper. Mary Anthony Johnson, OSB, director of archives, will lead the group. Identify alums in text with their year of graduation on first reference: Gayla Lindt ’85, led the Senior Pledge Campaign. No comma between last name and year. When identifying a monastic member who is also a graduate of CSB or SJU, their class year should be listed before OSB. Example: Fr. Robert Koopmann ’68, OSB.

internet - lowercase.

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Jackson Fellows Program - Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows Program on first reference, Jackson Fellows Program on subsequent references.

Johnnie/Johnnies - informal.

Johnnie Bread

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K – The K abbreviation is acceptable in headline and statistical references to kilometers, such as a 10K race; in baseball for strikeouts: pitcher records 12 K's; and monetary amounts in thousands: employee earns $80K.

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L – name of the Chicago train system; not “El.”

lay, lie – the action word is lay. It takes a direct object. Laid is the form for its past tense and its past participle. Its present participle is laying. When lie means to make an untrue statement, the verb forms are lie, lied, lying. Lie also has various other meanings, including to recline, to be situated or to exist. It does not take a direct object. Its past tense is lay. Its past participle is lain. Its present participle is lying.

Some examples:


Right: I will lay the book on the table. The prosecutor tried to lay the blame on him.

Wrong: He lays on the beach all day. I will lay down.

Right: He lies on the beach all day. I will lie down. The village lies beyond the hills. The answer lies in the stars.


Right: I laid the book on the table. The prosecutor has laid the blame on him.

Right: He lay on the beach all day. He has lain on the beach all day. I lay down. I have lain down. The secret lay in the fermentation process.


Right: I am laying the book on the table. The prosecutor is laying the blame on him.

Right: He is lying on the beach. I am lying down.

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majors/minors - lowercase unless a language.

master of arts, master of science - a master’s degree or master’s is acceptable reference.

Mass - meaning Eucharist, is always capitalized.

McCarthy Center - The Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement on first reference, McCarthy Center on subsequent references.

McNeely Center - The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship on first reference, McNeely Center on subsequent references.

monastery - lowercase unless part of proper name.

months - when giving a month and year, do not separate with commas. Example: June 1946. When referencing month, day and year, set off the year with commas. Example: Feb. 14, 1987, is the target date. Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Example: Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the year. Spell out when using a month alone.

more than - preferred use when talking about numerals. Over, can at times, be used but should mostly be reserved to refer to a spatial arrangement. Examples: She is more than 30 years old. I paid more than $200 for the suit.

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numbers - spell out one through nine and first through ninth, use numerals from 10, 10th on. Spell out any numeral at the beginning of a sentence unless that number identifies a calendar year; it is sometimes preferred to restructure the sentence. Example: (Instead of) Five hundred twelve women donated to the fund last year, (use) Last year, 512 women donated to the fund. 1997 was a good year for all of us.

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offices - capitalize the proper title for an office, lowercase reference to the area itself. Example: Office of Marketing and Communications, communications; Campus Ministry Office, campus ministry.

online - one word for all cases for the computer connection term.

order of events - when describing an event, the following sequence of information should be used: event, time, date, place. Example: The CSB Reunion will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, in the Haehn Campus Center.

OSB - no periods: Sister Colman O'Connell, OSB; Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB.

over - Intended for use regarding a spatial arrangement. May be used with numerals, but "more than" often is better.

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part time, part-time - hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: She works part time. She has a part-time job.

percent - one word, however the % symbol should be used in text. Example: There is a 50% chance of rain Saturday.

percentages - use figures: 1%, 1.5% (use decimals, not fractions), 10%. For amounts less than 1%, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6%. Repeat % with each individual figure: he said 10% to 30% of the electorate may not vote. 

phone numbers - use hyphens to separate the area code from the exchange and the exchange from the number: 320-363-2595.

President - capitalize when used before a name, lowercase when used after a name. Example: President Brian J. Bruess, Ph.D; Brian J. Bruess, Ph.D., is president of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. 

programs, committees, campaigns - capitalize specific college programs, committees and campaigns: Athlete to Athlete, Friends Campaign; lowercase references such as the program, the committee, the campaign.

publication names - should be capitalized and in italics. Example: The Record, the St. Cloud Times.

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quotation marks - placement with other punctuation: The period and comma always go inside the quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark and exclamation point go within the quotes when they apply to the quoted material.

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The Record - school newspaper of CSB/SJU. Note the “T” in “The” is capitalized, as in “Writers from The Record won 14 awards in the contest.”

Reunion, reunion class, reunion class agents - Lowercase unless referring to CSB or SJU event that is Reunion.

The Rule of Saint Benedict, The Rule – should be italicized because it is an actual book; The Rule should be used on second reference. If the word “values” is used in connection with The Rule, values should be lower case.

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Saint - always capitalize and spell out when referencing the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. References to “St.” in city names remain the same: College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Respect other schools’ style with regard to their names. Example: University of St. Thomas.

Saint Benedict - shortened from the College of Saint Benedict. Not “Saint Benedict’s,” unless used in a possessive context.

Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary - use SOT/Sem for abbreviation after first reference.

school - students attend either CSB (female) or SJU (male). They do not attend CSB and SJU. Exceptions: Activities and clubs (She is a member of the CSB+SJU College Democrats; Charlie McCarron is a member of the CSB+SJU Orchestra).

Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, Saint Benedict's Monastery, the monastery 

Sister - use Sister or Sisters when referring to the women in the monastery.

songs - use quotation marks.

spring - lowercase all seasons within a sentence.

spring semester - instead of spring term or second semester.

states - Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states in textual material. Examples: Dorothy moved from Oklahoma to attend college in Minnesota. While attending college in St. Joseph, Minnesota, Emma worked at the bookstore.

Strong Integration – always capitalized.

summer - lowercase.

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Theater(s) - Colman Theater, Black Box Theater, Darnall Amphitheater, Stephen B. Humphrey Theater.

times - do not use ":00" for on-the-hour times; also, it is 12 p.m., 12 a.m., noon or midnight, never 12 noon or 12 midnight. Examples: The game is at 8 p.m. and a reception will follow at 9:30 p.m.; everyone will take off their masks at midnight. When referencing a timeframe, use a hyphen to separate the beginning and ending time when the times are both a.m. or both p.m. E.g., The art exhibit will be open from 8-8:45 p.m., but the gallery lobby will be open from 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

titles - in general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual's name: President Brian J. Bruess, Provost Richard Ice, etc. Dr. should not be used in academic titles unless they have a medical context. Religious titles should use Br. and Fr. or the Rev. for Brother and Father before a name. Sister should be spelled out.

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university - lowercase when referring to SJU or any university.

upperclass, upperclassmen - should not be used.

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versus – spell out in ordinary writing, although vs. is accepted in short references


website - One word. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and as an adjective, use separate words, the web, web page and web feed.

winter – lowercase.

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Xbox – video game console.

X-ray – capitalized.

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years - no apostrophe when the meaning is plurality. 1980s or ’80s refers to the years 1980-89. 1980’s or ’80’s is possessive and refers to an event happening in or belonging to 1980, i.e. 1980’s cars.

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ZIP code – Use all-caps but always lowercase the word code. Run the five digits and do not put a comma between the state name and the ZIP code: St. Joseph, MN 56374, or Collegeville, MN 56321.

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

CSB Lottie Hall, Lower Level