Each person in the Creighton University community who writes for nonacademic internal and external audiences is faced with many writing-style decisions: Is university capitalized? Do titles go before or after a name? Is e-mail spelled with or without a hyphen?
Consistency in writing style conveys a positive, professional image of Creighton University. When such decisions are not made uniformly, the University’s image suffers.
The Creighton University Editorial Style Guide is designed to help faculty, staff and students with their nonacademic writing by giving them clear standards. The purpose of the guide is to eliminate the guesswork and make writing for Creighton publications and websites easier.
The University's official reference for nonacademic communications is the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook. Used by nearly all newspapers and magazines, AP style is familiar to most people and is clear and easy to read. Although a few AP rules differ from those taught in English classes (e.g., the final comma in a simple series is eliminated), this is done intentionally for brevity and clarity.
Some writing-style preferences given here are unique to Creighton University, and may deviate from AP style. For example, the word university is lowercase except when referring to Creighton. This guide will address those words and phrases.
These alphabetically arranged guidelines focus on style issues frequently encountered by those writing about and for Creighton University. For spelling issues not addressed by AP style or Creighton University style, consult Webster’s New World College Dictionary. If you cannot find what you need, or have suggestions for the Creighton University Editorial Style Guide, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abbreviations and acronyms
Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms on first reference unless they are widely recognized, such as AIDS, FBI, NASA, ROTC, HMO, etc. Do not use periods with these familiar abbreviations and acronyms. If in doubt, check the AP Stylebook. The grant is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Avoid using acronyms for Creighton University colleges and schools for external publication. See colleges and schools.
Do not refer to Creighton University as C.U. See Creighton University listing.
See academic degrees for degree abbreviation rules.
Abbreviate “junior” and “senior” as part of a name; do not set off with commas. John Smith Jr.
There are many correct options when citing academic degrees. Correct: He holds a bachelor’s degree. She has a master’s degree. Correct: He holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. She received a Master of Arts in psychology. Also correct: She has a master’s. He holds a bachelor’s in journalism. He received a doctorate in education.
Use abbreviations only when needed for brevity due to space limitations: He earned an M.B.A. She has B.A. and M.S. degrees.
After a name, always use abbreviations such as B.A., M.A., Ph.D.: John Smith, Ph.D. For Creighton graduates, the style is to use no periods, immediately followed by the graduation year: Jane Smith, MA’99; Martin Jones, MBA’84, JD’87.
Creighton University style does not use the courtesy title Dr. for people holding doctorates or dental or medical degrees. On first reference, the name is written John Jones, Ph.D., Marcia Jones, M.D., Sally Jones, D.D.S. On second reference: Jones said … .
Exception: When creating formal programs, event materials or invitations, the courtesy title Dr. may be used.
Academic departments and divisions
Capitalize only when using the full and official name of the department or division: Department of Theology; Department of English; Department of Oral Biology; Division of Allergy and Immunology. Lowercase when using a reference that is not the official name: the theology department; the oral biology department; the allergy and immunology division.
Capitalize proper nouns in all references: the English department.
Capitalize formal titles before a name and lowercase elsewhere: Dean John Smith, Ph.D.; John Smith, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business.
Professor should always be lowercase, even when preceding a name. See Professor.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
The Jesuit motto. The Latin translates to “For the Greater Glory of God.” Always place in italics.
Use abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. with numbered addresses and abbreviate directional indications: 100 E. Main St. See AP Stylebook for further details. Exception for formal invitations: 1700 East 1st Avenue, Denver, Colorado; 524 Post Street, San Francisco, California.
When giving locations with two streets, always lowercase streets. The Harper Center is located at 20th and California streets.
Spell out the names of the 50 states when they stand alone: He lives in Kansas. She visited New Mexico. Otherwise, when a city is named, use AP style for state abbreviations, not postal abbreviations: Creighton University is in Omaha, Neb. The two students were from Kansas City, Mo., and Pueblo, Colo.
Only use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviations when you are giving a full address, including ZIP code: John Jones, 123 Main St., Omaha, NE, 68144. This situation most often occurs in lists. Otherwise: John Jones lives at 123 Main St., Omaha, Neb.
State abbreviations and two-letter Postal Service abbreviations (in parentheses) are:
Eight states’ names are never abbreviated in text: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah. Their postal abbreviations are: AK (Alaska), HI (Hawaii), ID (Idaho), IA (Iowa), ME (Maine), OH (Ohio), TX (Texas), UT (Utah). Also: District of Columbia (DC).
Generally, titles are lowercase when not preceding a name, including such titles as pope, vice president and president. The pope is visiting Omaha. The president of Creighton University is Timothy R. Lannon, S.J. Likewise, use lowercase when the title follows a name: Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., president of Creighton University, is attending.
Uppercase only when a title precedes a name: Pope Benedict XVI, Creighton University President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.
Alegent Creighton Health
Alegent Creighton Health formed when Creighton University and Alegent Health entered into a long-term academic and strategic affiliation in 2012. Alegent Creighton Health consists of a large multi-specialty clinic (Alegent Creighton Clinic), 10 hospitals, a freestanding inpatient psychiatric facility, a nationally recognized spine hospital and skilled nursing facilities, and more than 100 sites of service. It is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare provider in Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
Do not use a hyphen or the cross symbol between Alegent and Creighton when written. The cross symbol only appears in the Alegent Creighton Health and Alegent Creighton Clinic logos.
Alegent Creighton Health Creighton University Medical Center
Alegent Creighton Health Creighton University Medical Center (CUMC) on first reference; thereafter, CUMC is acceptable.
Physicians, nurses and other health professionals at the hospital not only provide care for patients, but many of them teach and do research at Creighton University School of Medicine and other health sciences schools. The hospital is one of Creighton's primary teaching hospitals for students.
Creighton University alumni are former students who have successfully completed 48 credit hours or more. They have not necessarily attained degrees. Check with the Office of the Registrar if you are not sure of a person’s status.
The plural word alumni includes both men and women. Use alumnus for singular references to men and alumna for singular references to women. The plural alumnae refers to a group solely composed of women. She is an alumna of Creighton University. He is an alumnus. They joined the other alumni. She joined the other alumnae in her sorority.
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Spell out on first reference. A consortium headquartered in Washington, D.C., of which Creighton University is a member. For more information or a list of all members, visit www.ajcunet.edu.
Always use lowercase letters and periods. Use without 0s to designate hour: 9 a.m.; 10 p.m.
The name of Creighton’s athletic mascot. Always uppercase; do not place in quotes or italics. The cheerleaders and Billy Bluejay performed at halftime.
The Creighton Bluejays, or Jays, refers to the athletic teams of Creighton University. Creighton competes in NCAA Division I athletics, Missouri Valley Conference. Creighton fields 14 teams in eight sports: men’s sports – baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis; women’s sports – basketball, crew, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball.
When referring to an athletic team, do not capitalize type of sport. The men’s basketball team practiced at the CenturyLink Center Omaha. The volleyball team will play Missouri State on Friday.
Board of Trustees
When speaking of generic boards of trustees or directors, use lowercase. When speaking of the Creighton University Board of Trustees, use uppercase, using the full name upon first reference and Board thereafter. He was named to the Creighton University Board of Trustees in 2003. She was honored to serve on our Board. He has been on the boards of many corporations and nonprofits.
The language below is approved for use in all official University publications, marketing materials and advertising. The text should not be altered.
Creighton University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic institution located in Omaha, Neb., offers its more than 4,000 undergraduate and more than 3,000 professional and graduate students an atmosphere that challenges them academically and professionally, and supports and inspires them individually. Founded in 1878, Creighton is one of 28 Jesuit, Catholic universities in the United States formed in the Society of Jesus faith-based tradition of academic excellence and service to others. Creighton seeks to educate women and men who are not only proficient in their professions, but who are enlivened with a spirit of service and emboldened to create a more just world. Learn more about Creighton University at www.creighton.edu.
In general, use the proper (complete and capitalized) name on first reference when writing for external publication. Subsequent references may be shortened. When writing for internal publication, you may use the second or internal reference.
Make sure to verify names at the following list:
Correct names of Campus Buildings
When describing the religious affiliation of Creighton University, use these terms – Catholic, Jesuit – in this order. See Boilerplate for other correct University language.
Centers, institutes and programs
Capitalize only when using the full and official name: Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution; Creighton Cancer Center. Subsequent references may be shortened and in lowercase if the meaning is clear. Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (first reference); Werner Institute (second reference); the institute (third reference). Creighton Cancer Center (first reference); Cancer Center (second reference); the center (third reference).
Chair, chairman, chairwoman
Chair is preferred. Jane Doe is chair of the biology department.
For most cities, use the city name and then the state abbreviation (see Addresses). There are 30 well-known cities that do not need the state listed: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington. Over the summer, the faculty member attended conferences in Denver, Philadelphia and Des Moines, Iowa.
Colleges and schools
Do not capitalize college or school unless writing the whole name. He attended the School of Medicine. She graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences. The school’s administrators were united. The college was not prepared. The law school sponsored the lecture.
Avoid using acronyms such as CAS, COB, SOD, SOM, SPAHP, etc.
Colleges and schools at Creighton University and their founding dates are:
College of Arts and Sciences (1878)
College of Business (1926)
Graduate School (1926)
School of Dentistry (1905)
School of Law (1904)
School of Medicine (1892)
School of Nursing (1928)
School of Pharmacy and Health Professions (1905)
University College (1983)
Compound modifiers that precede a noun generally should be hyphenated, except the adverb very and adverbs that end in –ly: A well-spoken person; a full-time job; a very good time; an easily remembered rule.
Avoid using contractions.
Always use Creighton University upon first reference and as often as is reasonable. Creighton or the University are acceptable upon second reference, but never use the abbreviation C.U. She was thrilled to be accepted at Creighton University, and she immediately began packing her bags for Creighton.
The preferred use is Creighton University without an “ ‘s” preceding schools, colleges, programs, etc., upon first reference. Creighton University School of Nursing, not Creighton University’s School of Nursing. He works for the Creighton University Office of Marketing and Communications, not Creighton University’s Office of Marketing and Communications. There will be situations where this is not feasible, but this is the preferred usage.
Creighton University Magazine
The magazine of Creighton University. Always use the full name; never CU Magazine. Always place in italics. The Creighton University Magazine can be found online at www.creightonmagazine.org.
Creighton Students Union
The Creighton Students Union of Creighton University is an organization dedicated to the service of the Creighton University student and the enhancement of the educational, social and cultural environment on campus. Creighton Students Union (CSU) on first reference; thereafter, CSU is acceptable.
Daily campus newsletter for faculty, staff and students found at www.creightontoday.org.
Latin meaning "care for the [individual] person." A hallmark of Ignatian spirituality and therefore of Jesuit education. Always place in italics.
Spell out months when used alone or with the year only: October 1989. Abbreviate the month – except for March, April, May, June and July – when used with a specific date: Nov. 23. Correct month abbreviations are: Jan. (January), Feb. (February), Aug. (August), Sept. (September), Oct. (October), Nov. (November) and Dec. (December).
Do not use a comma between the month and the year when no specific day is mentioned: December 2003. When referring to a month, day and year, place a comma between the day and year: April 19, 1996.
Place a comma after the year when a phrase is used with a month, day and year in a sentence. The commencement ceremony was held May 10, 2008, at the Qwest Center Omaha.
Do not use “st,” “rd’ or “th” with dates: Sept. 23 NOT Sept. 23rd; Jan. 11 NOT Jan. 11th.
Days of the week
Capitalize them. Do not abbreviate. Mass will be held Sunday at St. John’s Church. NOT Mass will be held Sun. at St. John’s Church.
Departments and offices
Capitalize only when using the full and official name of the department or office: Department of Atmospheric Sciences; Office of Admissions; Office of the Registrar. Lowercase when using a reference that is not the official name: He is a professor in the atmospheric sciences department. The admissions office is hosting an event for prospective students. Also see Vice presidential divisions and Academic departments and divisions.
Dollars and Cents
Always lowercase. Use figures and the $ sign in all except casual references or amounts without a figure: The book cost $24. Please give a dollar to the victims relief fund.
For specified amounts, the word takes a singular verb: The $250,000 gift will benefit students.
For amounts more than $1 million, use the $ and numerals up to two decimal places. Do not link the numerals and the word by a hyphen: The project will cost $6.33 million. The project is worth exactly $6,335,298. The $300 million budget has been approved.
The form for amounts less than $1 million: $5, $25, $500, $1,000, $350,000, etc.
For cents, spell out the word and lowercase, using numerals for amounts less than a dollar: 7 cents, 18 cents. Use the $ sign and decimal system for larger amounts: $2.06, $8.50.
E-mail, e-book, e-commerce, e-business
When writing about a person who is a chair holder, include the full name of the chair title, capitalized, upon first reference if possible. Wendy Wright, the John C. Kenefick Faculty Chair in the Humanities, received the award. Use discretion and context to guide the appropriate inclusion of the chair title in subsequent references. The Kenefick Chair is sponsoring a lecture series.
Lowercase unless it is part of a specific name.
Oversees faculty issues; uppercase. Faculty committee sponsored by the University.
Acceptable as short version of facsimile or facsimile machine in all uses.
One word in all cases.
Return to top.
Grade point average, GPA
Spell out on first reference; GPA (no periods) is acceptable on second reference. Federal law prohibits the listing of a student’s GPA in a story without the explicit written permission of the student (not the student’s parents).
Return to top.
Use healthcare as one word.
Always capitalized. A descriptive term for those things of or relating to St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, or the Jesuit order.
The letters are a monogram of the name Jesus Christ in Greek and is used as a symbol by the Jesuits.
Always capitalize. The Internet is a decentralized, worldwide network.
Avoid at all times.
The Catholic religious order that sponsors Creighton University, also known as the Society of Jesus.
The full title of lectures should be in quotation marks. The topic of his lecture is “Teaching for Mission: An Exploration of Ignatian Pedagogy in Jesuit Education.”
The University has three libraries:
- Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library
- Health Sciences Library Learning Resource Center
- Klutznick Law Library
Information about the use of Creighton University logos is available online at logo.creighton.edu.
An Ignatian term meaning "striving for excellence." Latin for "more."
Magis Catholic Teacher Service Corps
Creighton’s Magis Catholic Teacher Service Corps recruits college graduates who view education as their vocation and their ministry. The Magis Program is a two-year program centered on community living, academic coursework and Ignatian spirituality that prepares and supports highly motivated, faith-filled teachers to serve in under resourced Catholic schools. Magis Catholic Teacher Service Corps on first reference; thereafter, Magis Program.
The Magis Clinic provides free healthcare and referrals to existing community services. It is the only free medical clinic in Omaha open on Saturdays to treat homeless men, women, children and the medically uninsured. The clinic is located at the Siena/Francis House and is run by Creighton medical students under the supervision of School of Medicine faculty.
Missouri Valley Conference
Creighton University’s intercollegiate sports teams are presently included in the Missouri Valley Conference. On first reference, Missouri Valley Conference (MVC); thereafter, MVC. The Creighton men’s basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) championship. This is the third MVC title for the Bluejays.
Use first and last names on first reference and last name only on second reference. Bob Smith has published several articles. Smith’s most recent article focused on seasonal allergies.
One word, not hyphenated.
One word, lowercase, not hyphenated.
Not capitalized. 24th Street parking garage; 20th Street parking garage.
Not capitalized. Parking is available in the parking lot next to the Lied Education Center for the Arts.
Use numerals and spell out “percent”: 8 percent; 39 percent.
Professor should always be lowercase, even when preceding a name. Do not continue in second reference unless part of a quotation. The lecture given by professor Jane Doe was held in Chicago. The local media interviewed Doe after her lecture.
Professor should never be abbreviated (e.g. prof. or Prof.).
Exception: Full titles and endowed professorships are capitalized: Clare Boothe Luce Faculty Chair for Women in Science. Associate Professor of Finance Mary Jones spoke at the symposium. Professor of Exercise Science John Young offered fitness testing to faculty and staff.
See AP Stylebook for numerous citations.
Use the Rev. before a Catholic priest or Protestant minister’s name. Creighton’s style differs from AP in that we use the abbreviated term Fr. (for Father) before a Catholic priest’s name on second reference: The Rev. Roc O’Connor, S.J., is the rector of the Jesuits on campus. Fr. O’Connor was named to that position in 2007.
Room and room numbers
Capitalize only if followed by a number or if part of a proper noun. (Spillane Reading Room, Room 145, etc.)
Staff Advisory Council
Use Staff Advisory Council (SAC) on first reference; thereafter, SAC. Serves as an advocate for University staff members (classification E-M staff positions).
St. Ignatius Loyola
Founder of the Society of Jesus. Born Inigo Lopez de Loyola, he lived from 1491 to 1556.
St. John’s Church
Located on Creighton’s campus. Always capitalized.
Lowercase winter, spring, summer and fall when describing a season of the year or a specific semester. The flowers on campus are in full bloom this summer. The fall semester begins in August.
Academic semesters are lowercase with no comma preceding a year: spring semester 2008.
Society of Jesus
The religious order that sponsors Creighton University. Also known as the Jesuits. When referencing a Jesuit priest, use S.J. set off by commas after the name on first reference: Don Doll, S.J., is an internationally renowned photographer.
Creighton’s style differs from AP in that we use the abbreviated term Fr. (for Father) on second reference: Fr. Doll’s recent photos from Africa can be found online.
Single space between sentences rather than double space for publications.
Hyphenate and lowercase in all uses.
Don’t use M1 M2, L1, L2, etc. First-year medical student, second-year law student, etc.
The “T” is always uppercase and the “s” is lowercase.
Use periods to separate area codes and prefixes: 402.280.1740.
Do not use the numeral 1 before area codes, including 800 numbers.
Time element (also see Dates)
Information for events should be written in this order: time, date, place. When possible, use the day of the week for upcoming events. The group will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Room 111 of Creighton Hall. See a.m. and p.m.
Use figures, except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Do not use :00 if the time is on the hour.
from noon to 1 p.m. (use “to” when the phrase includes “from”)
Always capitalized when they occur before the name: University President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.; Dean Jane Smith. They are never capitalized when occurring after the name or in no direct relation to a name: Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., president of Creighton University; the vice president position is open. Also see Capitalization and Administrative titles.
Always two words.
University is capitalized when it refers to Creighton. Fr. Lannon welcomed the group to the University.
University is lowercase when talking about other universities or universities in general: The group was invited to the University, but the members chose not to visit a university on their first trip. Try to avoid using both in the same sentence if possible. For example, it would have been better to say: The group was invited to Creighton, but the members chose not to visit a university on their first trip.
Always two words; not hyphenated. Do not capitalize in text unless the title precedes the name: Vice President for Administration and Finance John Smith spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. When the title follows the name, vice president is lowercase, however, the division name is uppercase. John Smith, vice president for Administration and Finance, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. Mary Young, vice president for Student Services, announced the development of a new program.
Vice presidential divisions
On second reference for the vice presidential divisions of the University, uppercase the division area. Student Services sponsored the event. Budget information is available on the Administration and Finance website.
A listing of vice presidential areas follows:
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Administration and Finance
Vice President for Health Sciences
Vice President for Information Technology
Vice President for Student Services
Vice President for University Ministry
Vice President for University Relations
Vice President for Institutional Relations
The acronym DoIT also is acceptable on second reference for the Division of Information Technology for internal publication.
Lowercase vitamin, use a capital letter and/or a figure for the type: vitamin D, vitamin B-12.
Do not use the http:// protocol at the start of a web address. www.creighton.edu NOT http://www.creighton.edu. (a variation from AP style).
If an Internet address falls at the end of a sentence, use a period. (If an address breaks between lines, split it directly after a slash or a dot that is part of the address, without an inserted hyphen.) You can access the Creighton website at www.creighton.edu.
Lowercase both words; website is one word (a variation from AP Style).
Capitalize the “X” on X-ray in all uses. Use for both the photographic process and the radiation particles themselves.
Use figures, without commas: 1988. Use commas only with a month or day: Dec. 17, 1998, was a great day. Use an “s” without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1960s, the 1700s.
Use all-caps for ZIP, but always lowercase the word code. Run the five digits together without commas, and do not put a comma between the state name and the ZIP code: Omaha, NE 68178. See Addresses.