SPU Editorial Style Guide

Updated July 20, 2022

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The Seattle Pacific University Office of University Communications works to ensure that official SPU print and online publications are accurate and consistent in information, spelling, grammar, and editorial style.

  • For most editorial style issues, University Communications follows the latest editions of The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual and Webster's New World College Dictionary.
  • UC has established instances of a unique usage in SPU's printed and online materials. Those usages are listed here, along with many common terms and usages used in SPU communications. 
  • Combine this document with The Associated Press Stylebook.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact your communications specialist in University Communications. If you have specific Sitecore questions, email UCwebteam2@spu.edu


About Seattle Pacific University. The following official description can be adapted for a variety of publication needs:

Ranked a “Best National University” by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Pacific University is a Christian university where 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students are equipped to anticipate and shape the future in a thriving, world-class city.

academic credits. For suggested course sequences and other course lists, include the number of credits for each course in parenthesis after the course title. Do not include the word “credits.” 

  • Correct: EDU 6655 Human Development and Principles of Learning (3)

academic degrees. Do not use periods in academic degrees, and lowercase phrases that describe someone's academic credentials.

  • He has a master's degree in information management; she holds a doctorate in education.
  • BA, BS, BSN, MA, MS, MSN, MFA, PhD

academic degrees in text. When noting someone's academic credentials in text, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and instead use a phrase.

  • He earned a bachelor's degree in marketing. (NOT He earned a BA in marketing.)
  • She earned a master's degree in business administration. (NOT She earned an MBA.)
  • The professor earned his doctorate in clinical psychology. (NOT The professor earned his PhD in clinical psychology.)

Note: The word "doctorate," rather than the phrase "doctoral degree," is preferred. If you use the abbreviated form of a degree in a listing, or for some other special purpose, only use the abbreviation after a full name, not just a last name. Also, do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and then follow it with the abbreviation in the same reference.

academic majors. For publications including SPU Voices and Response, majors should NOT be capitalized (following AP style). In other publications, including the viewbook, other marketing materials, the academic catalog, and academic sites, majors should be lowercase in body copy but capitalized when they appear independently, such as in lists. See majors, minors.

  • Publications: “All our professors are really connected to the music scene in Seattle,” senior music therapy major Katy Siron says. 
  • Catalogs, academic sites: If you major in Business Administration, you will have the option of selecting an emphasis.

academic programs. Do not capitalize the word "program" unless it is part of the program's actual title.

advisor. For publications including SPU Voices and Response, follow AP style and use "adviser." In other materials, use advisor. 

African American. Avoid using whenever possible. (See Black(s), white(s).) If African American is used due to a student's, or faculty or staff member's individual preference in an SPU publication, do not hyphenate. This rule is the same for other ethnicities (e.g., Italian American). 

alumnus, alumna, alumnae, alumni, alum. The advancement office considers every person who has attended at least one class at SPU to be an alum and distinguishes between all alumni and degreed alumni. 

  • Alum: an umbrella term that encompasses all of the below variants. "Alums" is plural. Alum/alums is acceptable to use in most cases, and is becoming increasingly popular (according to Webster's).
  • Alumnus: a man who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alumna: a woman who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alumnae: a group of women who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).
  • Alumni: a group of men who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year). Or a group of men and women who graduated from SPU (or attended at least one year).

Note: This rule also applies for emeritus, emerita, etc.

Graduates are specifically those students who have completed their courses of study.

a.m. Do NOT capitalize or drop the periods. Include a space between the hour and the a.m. See individual entries for p.m. and times.

  • Correct: Crossroads at Gwinn opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. on weekdays.

attribution. Except when otherwise noted below, UC publications follow AP guidelines when attributing sources, using the full name on first reference and the last name on all subsequent references. Note that, following AP style, UC prefers quotes obtained by phone or in-person interview wherever possible. If interviews were conducted by a written medium, specify the medium in quote attributions. Example: "The sky is blue today," Response editor Ruth Moon Mari said in an email. "I know rite lol," marketing guru Hope Evans responded by text message. 


  • Class Notes in Response use alum first names on second reference, to avoid confusion with multiple family members. 
  • The Significance e-newsletter uses first names on second reference.
  • The Connections e-newsletter uses first names on second reference. 


bachelor's degree. NOT bachelors degree. Do not capitalize.

Bible, biblical. Capitalize Bible when it is used in reference to the Old Testament and/or the New Testament. Lowercase biblical in all uses. (Also capitalize related terms such as the Gospels, Gospel of St. Mark, the Scriptures, Old Testament, New Testament, the Word, etc.). Lowercase bible when used as a nonreligious term.

  • The communication specialists consider the AP Stylebook their bible for editorial do's and don'ts.

Black. Capitalize when used as an adjective in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense.

  • Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.

Black(s), white(s). Do not use either term as a singular noun. For plurals, phrasing such as Black students, white students, Black faculty and staff, white faculty and staff are preferable when clearly relevant.

Board of Trustees. Capitalize when used as part of the formal title for a specific group, as in Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees. Lowercase in other uses. Do NOT use Board of Trustee (singular). See trustee.

Business Breakfast. See SPU Downtown Business Breakfast.


capitalization. In general, avoid unnecessary capitalization. Use a capital letter if you can justify it by one of the principles listed in this style guide, in The Associated Press Stylebook, or in Webster's New World College Dictionary.

capitalization, campus buildings. See proper nouns.

Caucasian. Do not use as a synonym for "white," unless in a quotation.

Church, church. Follow AP style: Capitalize as part of the formal name of a building, a congregation or a denomination; lowercase in other uses: 

  • St. Mary's Church
  • the Roman Catholic Church
  • the Catholic and Episcopal churches 
  • a Roman Catholic church
  • a church

Lowercase in phrases where the church is used in an institutional sense: 

  • She believes in the separation of church and state. 
  • The pope said the church opposes abortion.

Class, class. When used as a proper name, Class should be capitalized. In all other cases, it should remain lowercase.

  • Correct: This year the Class of ’65 celebrated its 50-year reunion.
  • Correct: This year’s graduating class will hold commencement at Key Arena.

click here. Do not use this phrase on a website. Instead, link descriptive words.

  • Correct: The Ames Scholarship Program awards scholarships to ethnically diverse high school graduates. Meet this year's students, and learn how they're already engaging the culture.

co-curricular. Retain hyphen. This is a break from AP style guidelines for this prefix's usage.

Use a comma, not a colon, to introduce a direct quotation of one sentence that remains within a paragraph. Use a colon to introduce longer quotations within a paragraph and to end all paragraphs that introduce a paragraph of quoted material.

  • Three majors were under review: political science, accounting, and English.
  • He had only one hobby: eating.
  • She promised this: Everyone would get raises.

Note: Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence. 

comma. In a break from Associate Press (AP) style, Seattle Pacific University uses the serial comma.
When using commas to separate elements in a series, include a comma before the conjunction.

  • The students filled their backpacks with books, paper, and pens.

composition titles. Following the Chicago Manual of Style, italicize and capitalize titles of full-length, freestanding works: books, periodicals (magazines, journals, etc.) and named blogs, newspapers, museum and gallery art exhibitions and catalogs, individual works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, etc.), movies, musicals, operas and other long musical compositions, long poetic works, plays, album-length recordings, TV and radio shows, and regularly appearing cartoons or comic strips. 

In running text, use roman type, capitalize, and use quotation marks around the titles of lectures, book chapters, articles, papers and other conference presentations, blog entries, most poems, speeches, songs and other shorter musical compositions, and TV or radio show episodes. Do not enclose headlines or course titles in quotation marks. The names of broadcast networks and channels are set in roman.

Do not italicize the Undergraduate Catalog, Graduate Catalog, Time Schedule, and names of SPU handbooks (e.g., Employee Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Residence Life Handbook) when used online.

comprehensive university. Seattle Pacific University is a comprehensive university, because it has a liberal arts and sciences college and graduate and professional schools that confer degrees in various fields. It is not a liberal arts university. See liberal arts university.

course titles. Capitalize the principal words (as in a composition title) and enclose in quotation marks, but do not use quotation marks or a colon between course numbers and their names when put into bulleted lists. 

  • Correct: Sophomores who major in Chemistry must take “Introduction to Research Methods.”
  • Correct: HIS 3406 Christianity in America

Note: Official course titles are in Banner. If a change is to be made to a course title, the change must be approved by SPU's registrar and entered into Banner.

credits. Credits must be listed consistently throughout a publication. It is recommended that they follow the rule listed in numbers, but under certain circumstances (e.g., the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog), the writer may choose to use Arabic numbers in all cases, even those smaller than 10.

cross country. No hyphen. This is a deviation from The Associated Press Stylebook.


Daniel J. Martin, JD, EdD. The 10th president of Seattle Pacific University, he took office July 1, 2012, following the retirement of Philip W. Eaton. He resigned March 2021. He was succeeded by interim President Pete Menjares (11th president of SPU)

dashes. Unlike AP style, which uses only a hyphen, SPU uses three distinct types of dashes: the em dash, the en dash, and the hyphen. Each has specific reasons for use. See individual entries for em dash, en dash, and hyphen. 

dates. A comma follows the year when writing the complete date. Do not add th, nd, or st to the numeral. See numbers.

  • Correct: Autumn Quarter classes begin Sept. 27 and end the first week of December.

Deana L. Porterfield, EdD. The 12th president of Seattle Pacific University. President Porterfield took office on July 1, 2023. She prefers to be addressed as President Porterfield over Dr. Porterfield by students, faculty, and staff. (Her first name is pronounced Dee-na). Her name is to be listed with her middle initial 'L.'  President Porterfield ends her correspondence with "Prayers and Optimism." For emails, please use "President Deana L. Porterfield" in the From line. 

degrees. Seattle Pacific University offers many degrees. Since 2012, SPU has no longer used periods to separate the capitalized letters and components of degrees. If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, avoid using abbreviations. Instead, spell out the degree. Use the abbreviations in a list format, or when it would be too cumbersome to list one person with several degrees.

Do not use the abbreviations within text and do not capitalize the degrees within text. Use an apostrophe in bachelor's degree, a master's, etc., but there is no possessive in bachelor of arts, master of science, or associate degree. See doctorate, PhD.

  • Correct: John Glancy earned his doctorate in June.
  • Correct: The English majors were awarded bachelor of arts degrees in June.

degrees, usage in Response. When using abbreviations, include only the degree type (i.e. MFA, MDiv, BA, BS). Omit any additional degree elements added by departments (for example, master of arts in reconciliation and intercultural studies, which the seminary abbreviates MA-RIS, would be "MA YEAR").

  • Example, undergraduate degree: Jean Stothert '81 has joined the ranks of America's mayors and made history.
  • Example, graduate degree: Shannon Huffman Polson MFA '12 recently published her first book.
  • Example, undergraduate and graduate degree: David Haslam '09, MDiv '12, is a fourth-generation alumnus. (Note the second degree set off by commas.)

deity. Capitalize the proper names of monotheistic deities. Lowercase pronouns referring to the deity. Note that UC makes an exception for song lyrics, which retain the original style (capitalized or lowercase). 

  • God, Allah, Jehovah, Lord, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Christ, Messiah, etc.
  • he, him, his, thee, thou, who, whose, thy, etc.

Department, department. Capitalize the word department when its paired with the specific academic area on campus. Lowercase the word when more than one academic area is paired in a sentence. Do not capitalize "the" in front of the department name, unless it's the first word in the sentence.

  • Correct: The professors were from the History Department.
  • Correct: The staff members were from the English and Music departments.

doctorate, PhD. If mention of degrees is necessary to establish someone's credentials, avoid using abbreviations. Instead, spell out the degree. Use the abbreviations in a list of people, or when it would be too cumbersome to list one person with several degrees. Do not precede a name with a courtesy title for an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for the same degree.

  • Correct: Frank Spina, PhD

dorm. Do not use this term in text, unless it is used in a direct quote. Use residence hall. See residence hall.

Dr. In department bios on department websites, after the first identification of faculty with doctorates in copy, refer to them with a Dr. surtitle. In all other publications, follow AP style and do not use an honorific on second reference. 

  • Correct for department bio: Jeffrey Keuss, professor of Christianity ministry, theology, and culture, is the director of University Scholars. Dr. Keuss joined the SPU faculty in 2005.
  • Correct for other publications: Jeffrey Keuss, professor of Christianity ministry, theology, and culture, is the director of University Scholars. Keuss joined the SPU faculty in 2005.


e-. Short for "electronic." Keep the hyphen when creating words such as e-newsletter, but email has no hyphen. See email and e-newsletter.

e.g. Abbreviation of "for example." Follow the second period with a comma.

  • Several professors came to the picnic (e.g., Dr. Spina, Dr. Keuss, and Dr. Kato).

email. No hyphen. Can be used as a verb, i.e. "He emailed someone."

email subject lines. Keep email subject lines for e-newsletters and broadcast emails short and to the point (i.e., less than 50 characters in length). Avoid spam filters by avoiding the word "Free" and words with the letter "x." Help the email's open rate by also avoiding cheesy phrases, and the words "Help" and "Percent Off."

  • Correct: SPU Response Magazine's autumn issue available now

em dash. The longest of the three dashes used by SPU, this element gives added emphasis or explanation to a phrase. A comma may also be used in such cases. A space is included on either side of the em dash. Em dashes may be used in print and in email, but avoid using them in email subject lines as some browsers do not process them correctly. 

  • Response magazine's circulation grows every year — reaching 60,000 by 2017.

en dash. The principal use of the en dash (–) is to connect numbers that are inclusive. But do not use an en dash in text, when the words "from" and "between" are used.

  • Correct: 10–11 a.m.
  • Correct: September–June.
  • Correct: From September through June.

emerita, emeritus, emeriti, emeritae. Denotes faculty who have retained their rank and title after leaving the University, usually after retiring. The word "emeritus" or "emerita" should be placed after the formal title.

  • Correct: Professor Emeritus of English Luke Reinsma; Professor Emerita of Marriage and Family Therapy Claudia Grauf-Grounds
  • Incorrect: Emeritus Professor of History Bill Woodward
  • Emeriti is plural for a group of retired male faculty members, or a group of both male and female retired faculty members.
  • Emeritae is plural for retired female faculty.

en dash. When using an en dash in e-newsletters or broadcast emails, follow the guidelines above. This 2015 change replaces the earlier directive to use a single hyphen in place of an en dash and reflects the ability of today's web browsers to render en dashes correctly. See also em dash and quotation mark.

e-newsletter. Unlike email, e-newsletter is hyphenated. See e-.

engaging the culture, changing the world. The official SPU vision language. It is acceptable to insert the word "and."

ensure/insure. Use "ensure" to mean guarantee. Use "insure" only for references to insurance.

  • Steps were taken to ensure accuracy on the report.
  • The policy insures the life of the employee.

entitled, titled. Use "entitled" only to mean that someone has a right to do or have something. "Titled" is the correct word in reference to the names of books or other literary works.

  • The student is entitled to a grade report each quarter.
  • Robert Penn Warren won a Pulitzer Prize for a book titled All the King's Men.

executive in charge. Following the resignation of President Dan Martin in April 2021, Provost Laura Hartley was named executive in charge and serves as such until an interim SPU president is named.


faculty, staff profile pages. For security reasons, remove the following from faculty and/or staff profile pages. Also see SPU-safe CVs.

  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • Personal mobile phone number, unless it is a necessity.
  • Family member’s names and birthdates — especially spouse and child(ren)
  • Personal photos, including of spouse and child(ren)

Falcon, (The). The Falcon is SPU's student newspaper. A Falcon can also be an SPU student. Capitalize when referring to an SPU entity; lowercase when referring to the bird generically. 

farther, further. "Farther" refers to physical distance; "further" refers to an extension of time or degree.

  • He walked farther into the woods.
  • She will look further into the situation.

First Free Methodist Church. Adjacent to the Seattle Pacific campus. The church is NOT on campus.

First-generation. Hyphenate when used as a modifier. SPU Institutional Research defines a first-generation student as one whose parents did not earn bachelor’s degrees.

Free Methodist Church of North America. The Protestant denomination that founded Seattle Seminary, the school that became Seattle Pacific University, in 1891. See Seattle Pacific University.

fundraising, fundraiser. One word in all cases.


God. Capitalize when referring to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Lowercase when referring to the deities of polytheistic religions, or in reference to false gods (i.e., "he made money his god"). See deity.

Gospel, Gospels, gospel, gospels. Lowercase unless specifically referring to the first four books of the New Testament (i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). 

GPA, GPAs. All caps, no periods, and no apostrophe, but when pluralized, lowercase the s.


headlines. Response magazine, as well as most SPU newsletters and e-newsletters, now use sentence-style capitalization for headlines and subheads. Only the first word in the headline is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

On SPU websites, the webpages use headline-style capitalization for the page titles and headlines, which entails capitalizing proper nouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs (including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters) in headlines. When using the infinitive form of a verb, the to is not capitalized. Subheads on webpages follow the sentence-style capitalization. See composition titles.

  • Response: Sprucing up the city: Incoming freshmen join SPU tradition of serving Seattle
  • Undergraduate Catalog: History Programs (page headline); History programs (subhead)

historic. Following AP style, use a historic (e.g., "a historic event").

homepage. One word. Lowercase within text.

homeschool. homeschooling. homeschooled. One word. This is a break from Webster's New World College Dictionary.

  • "If you think homeschooling looks like a mother and her children peacefully doing their lessons around the kitchen table all day, Jill Davis Bell '87 would like to disabuse you of that notion" (Response, Spring 2012).

hyphens. Used to separate numbers that are not inclusive, including phone numbers, social security numbers, and sports scores. Also used when designating a university's specific campus. No space needed on either side of a hyphen. In a suspensive structure, use this form:

  • He was looking for a full- or part-time job.
  • She went for a 10- to 12-mile jog.


i.e. Abbreviation of "that is to say." Not to be confused with e.g., an abbreviation of "for example." In both cases, the second period should be followed by a comma. In general, avoid using Latin abbreviations.

  • The students used a computer for their presentation (i.e., they used PowerPoint).

initials. Use periods and no spaces between initials when an individual used initials instead of a first name. This format ensures that the initials will remain on the same line in publication.

  • Correct: N.T. Wright spoke in the third President's Symposium of the academic year.

internet. Lowercase.


John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development. It's acceptable to use "John Perkins Center," the "Perkins Center," or a similar construction on second reference.


liberal arts university. Seattle Pacific University is not a liberal arts university, and should not be identified as such in print or on the web. SPU is a "comprehensive university." See comprehensive university.

Library. The Ames Library at Seattle Pacific refers to the building that is located east of Gwinn Commons in Martin Square. The collection of materials housed in the library is the SPU Library. 

links. As a best practice, all links should be set as "default" and not open in a new window.

login, logon, logoff (n.). But use as two words in verb form; this is AP style.

  • Correct: Choose a login name that you can remember easily.
  • Correct: When you leave your office at night, log off your computer.

Loop, the. Use Tiffany Loop. On September 23, 2003, The Loop was officially rededicated as Tiffany Loop. Do not write The Tiffany Loop. OK to use "The Loop" on second reference.


magazine. Capitalize the word only if it is part of the title. For verification, check the publication masthead or its official website. The same rule applies for journal.

  • SPU's Response magazine has more than 60,000 readers.
  • She reads The Astronomical Journal regularly.

majors, minors. For SPU publications such as Response, majors and minors should NOT be capitalized. In the catalog and on academic sites, majors and minors should be capitalized. See academic majors.

  • Publications: “All our professors are really connected to the music scene in Seattle,” senior music therapy major Katy Siron says. 
  • Catalogs, academic sites: If you major in Business Administration, you will have the option of selecting an emphasis.

Martin, Daniel J. The 10th president of Seattle Pacific University, he took office July 1, 2012, following the retirement of Philip W. Eaton. See also Daniel J. Martin, JD, EdD. He announced his resignation to the SPU campus on March 30, 2021.  

master's degree. NOT masters degree. Pluralize as "master's degrees."

Menjares, Pete, PhD. SPU's interim president, beginning July 1, 2021. Prior to his appointment as interim president, he served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Vanguard University, where he was also the founding senior director of the Institute for Faculty Development. He was also a member of the SPU Board of Trustees.

more than, over. Either term is acceptable to indicate greater numerical value. The word "over" can also refer to spatial relationships. 

  • The plane flew over the campus.
  • The campus serves more than 4,000 students.
  • The campus serves over 4,000 students.
  • She is over 30.

movie titles. See composition titles.


nonmajor. No hyphen.

numbers. In print, spell out whole numbers below 10; use figures for 10 and above. On websites, in text, follow AP rules; in lists, and when paired with "credits," use Arabic numerals for usability reasons. Do not add st, th, or nd after an Arabic numeral. See dates. 

  • Correct: The 3-credit class has six sophomores and 10 freshmen.
  • Correct: Spring Quarter begins March 26.
  • Correct: Presentations are 50 minutes in length and can be tailored to meet the needs of your undergraduate students. 
  • Correct: A two-year guarantee of six consecutive academic quarters of housing is given to first-time freshmen.
  • Correct: Come celebrate at the Class of ’65 50-year reunion.

numbers, academic credits. When numbers and credits are paired, the number should be an Arabic numeral, not spelled out, even when less than 10.

numbers, in lists. In bulleted or numbered lists, when a numeral is within parenthesis to explain the information of that bullet, the numeral should be an Arabic number.


  • Earn a Washington Residency Teacher Certificate (4 quarters).
  • In the MAT program, you will move through the program in a cohort, and earn a Washington Residency Teacher Certificate in four quarters.


online. One word, no hyphen, and lowercase unless it is the first word of the sentence.

online catalogs. SPU has two academic catalogs: the Undergraduate Catalog and the Graduate Catalog. They are considered the contracts between students and the University, and they are no longer printed and are instead found online.


people of color, racial minority. Follow AP style: The terms people of color and racial minority/minorities are generally acceptable terms to describe people of races other than white in the United States. Avoid using POC. When talking about just one group, be specific: Chinese Americans or members of the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, for example. Be mindful that some Native Americans say the terms people of color and racial minority fall short by not encompassing their sovereign status. Avoid referring to an individual as a minority unless in a quotation.

percent. One word. Always use figures for percentages, including percentages under 10, unless referring to multiple references in a document listing numbers or financial information. The symbol (%) is also acceptable in all cases and should follow the numeral with no spaces. Whichever is chosen, be consistent throughout the text. 

  • Correct: At SPU, 86% of full-time faculty have terminal degrees in their fields. 

phone numbers. See telephone numbers.

p.m. Do NOT capitalize or drop the periods. See individual entries for a.m. and times.

  • Correct: Senior Preview begins at 4 p.m.

programs. See academic programs.

proper nouns. Capitalize common nouns such as university, office, school, street, ocean, and west when they are an integral part of the full formal name for a person, place or thing:

  • Seattle Pacific University, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, School of Business and Economics, Bertona Street, Pacific Ocean, West Seattle.
  • Lowercase these common nouns when they stand alone in subsequent references: the office, the schools, the street, the ocean.

Capitalize campus buildings and locations when the reference is to a specific SPU entity, but lowercase the item, when the word references a type of building.

  • Correct: The SPU Library has thousands of books. This Library also has access to millions more.

Note: There are a very few exceptions to this rule, including the University, when used in specific reference to Seattle Pacific University. If the word "university" refers to Seattle Pacific, it should be capitalized; otherwise, it should be lowercased. 

Lowercase the common noun elements of names in all plural uses: the departments of English and Mathematics, the Undergraduate Admissions and University Communications offices, Bertona and Cremona streets.


quarters. Capitalize when that word follows the specific quarter. See Summer Session.

  • Autumn Quarter (NOT Fall Quarter), Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter.

Note: Seattle Pacific has no "Summer Quarter." It has two Summer Sessions and a September Session.

quotation mark. The period and comma go within quotation marks. The dash, semicolon, question mark, and exclamation point go within quotation marks only when they apply to the quoted matter. They go outside when they apply to the whole sentence. Always use curly quotation marks.


Response. Published twice a year by the Office of University Communications, Response magazine is the primary means of communication between SPU and more than 55,000 of its constituents. Readership consists of alumni, friends of SPU, donors, churches, corporations, and the parents of current and newly admitted students.

Note: The web version of the magazine should be written as the online edition of Response or Response online (not Response Online).

residence hall. Do not use the word "dorm" in on- or off-campus publications or websites. SPU has five residence halls: Arnett Hall, Ashton Hall, Emerson Hall, Hill Hall, and Moyer Hall. University Services prefers them listed alphabetically in publications.

RSVP. Do not use R.S.V.P. This stands for répondez-vous s'il vous plaît, which is translated as "please respond." Do not add "please" to this phrase, as it is already contained in the abbreviation. 


semicolon. In general, use the semicolon to indicate a greater separateness of thought and information than a comma can convey, but less than the separation a period implies. Use a semicolon to clarify a series when individual segments contain material that also must be set off by commas.

  • The foundation honored the president, Philip Eaton; three students, Todd Simonson, Molly Stickrod, and Chris Hill; and alumna Lynda Collins of Kalispell, Montana.

Also use a semicolon to link independent clauses, when a coordinating conjunction such as and, but, or for is not present.

  • The staff meeting was not held today; it will be held on Thursday.

serial comma. In a break from Associate Press (AP) style, Seattle Pacific University uses the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma). When using commas to separate elements in a series, include a comma before the conjunction.

  • The students filled their backpacks with books, paper, and pens.

Scripture. Capitalize when referring to the Bible or religious writings in the Bible. See Bible. The preferred Bible translation to quote is the NRSV.

Seattle Pacific University. Founded in 1891 as Seattle Seminary, the school organized a College Department in 1910, and was called the Seattle Seminary and College by 1913. Two years later, it became Seattle Pacific College. On June 5, 1977, SPC officially became Seattle Pacific University. 

In text, the first reference to the University should be Seattle Pacific University. Subsequent references should intermix Seattle Pacific, SPU, and the University. Within larger documents (such as Response), a decision must be made whether or not to begin each individual section with the full name.

Online faculty CVs. The faculty member should not include the following:

  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • Mobile phone number, unless it is a necessity.
  • Family member’s names and birthdates — especially spouse and child(ren)
  • Personal photos – spouse and child(ren)

sports scores. Follow AP style. Although AP uses only one type of dash, the hyphen is appropriate in these cases. See dashes.

  • The Falcons women's basketball team earned a 73-64 victory over Merrimack (Ma.) in a national semifinal game at the Elite Eight Thursday night in the Summit Arena.

SPU Schools and College. Seattle Pacific University is composed of the following schools:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business, Government, and Economics
  • School of Education
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology, Family, and Community
  • School of Theology (includes Seattle Pacific Seminary)

SPU street address. In printed documents and publications, spell out Third, Avenue, and West whenever possible. Do NOT write "3rd" in any case, unless postal regulations require it for a business-reply card or envelope. On web pages, always write "3rd," and abbreviate Avenue and West. SPU's +4 ZIP code is 1997. See numbers.

  • Correct in print: Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 98119-1997.
  • Correct online: Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119.

SPU Voices. Online content hub hosting online content from Response, storytelling aimed at undergraduate recruitment, and other stories of interest to a broad community and audience. Replaced etc., SPU's award-winning prospective student magazine, pronounced e-t-c, which had been published three times a year.

student(s) of color. See people of color.

Summer Session, September Session. Capitalize. Note: Summer school is not the formal name and therefore is not capitalized.


Talon. The SPU mascot. 

telephone numbers. Use hyphens to separate numbers. In limited cases, as warranted by a publication's style or design, periods may be used to separate numbers.

  • Correct: To RSVP, call 206-281-2000.

Tiffany Loop. Use Tiffany Loop. On September 23, 2003, The Loop was officially rededicated as Tiffany Loop. Do not write The Tiffany Loop. It is acceptable to use The Loop on second reference.

times. Delete the colon and zeros when the time is on the hour.

Do not include p.m. or a.m. twice when the times are both before noon or after noon. Use an en dash. See individual entries for a.m., p.m., and en dash.

  • Correct: Senior Preview begins Thursday at 4 p.m.
  • Correct: Students can sign up for two-person rooms in the residence halls, Monday 4–4:30 p.m.

titles. Capitalize formal titles when used immediately before a name. Lowercase formal titles when used alone or in constructions that set them off from the name by commas.

  • President Dan Martin; Associate Professor of English Kimberly Segall.
  • The president spoke at the meeting.
  • The class was taught by Jeffrey Keuss, professor of Christian ministry, theology, and culture.

Lowercase terms that are job descriptions rather than formal titles:

  • actress M'Lissa Hayes, writer Clint Kelly, conference participant Joe Smith, soccer coach Mark Collings.

Theatre Department, theatre. When referring to SPU's Theatre Department or theatre performances, use the British spelling.

trustee. Do not capitalize, even when using before a trustee's name. See Board of Trustees.


URL. When specific writing web addresses (URLs) in text, *do not use http://_ or www* before an address. Lowercase the letters, per the _AP Stylebook.

  • Find dates and times of campus visit days at spu.edu/visits.


vice presidents. SPU has the following VP offices:

  • vice president for business and finance 
  • vice provost for inclusive excellence 
  • vice president for enrollment management and marketing
  • vice president for student life
  • vice president for university advancement

voicemail. One word.


Washington state. NOT Washington State, which is a state university.

website. One word, lowercase. Avoid using the term website in a sentence when the URL immediately follows.

  • Correct: Visit Response magazine at spu.edu/response.
  • Correct: Seattle Pacific University's website is undergoing a redesign.

Updated July 20, 2022.