Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center
Use QSR Center on second reference. Note ampersand.


Acronym for resident assistant; no periods. Plural: RAs or resident assistants.

Use caution when identifying a person by race. Often, one’s race is irrelevant, and drawing unnecessary attention to race or ethnicity may be seen as bigotry. There are, however, occasions when race is pertinent, such as in stories that involve groundbreaking or historic events — Barack Obama was the first Black U.S. president. Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — or when writing about lectures, events, or programming that focus on race or issues such as civil rights.

Red Book, The
Annual publication of general information for members of the faculty. “The” is part of the title and should be capitalized and italicized.

Lowercase compass directions north, south, east and west (including northern, southern, eastern and western) when not part of a proper name. Capitalize in reference to a proper name or region: the Northeast, but not northeastern; the West Coast, but not western Ohio.

Central New York and Upstate New York are considered “widely known sections” per AP style and are capitalized.

residence hall
Not dormitory or dorm. However, in certain cases where alumni are recalling their Hamilton experiences, dorm or dorm room are acceptable.

Two accents.

reunion, Reunion Weekend, Reunions ’19 
Capitalize Reunion Weekend and Reunions ’19 when referring to the event. Lowercase all others: We celebrated our 35th reunion. He served as reunion planning chair. We returned to the Hill for Reunion Weekend. He volunteered on the reunion gift committee.

Capitalize. No periods. Since RSVP means “please reply,” avoid the redundant “Please RSVP.”


A “sabbatical” is a leave from normal employment duties, so “sabbatical leave” is redundant.

Sacerdote Great Names Series at Hamilton
The formal name of the series is the Sacerdote Great Names Series at Hamilton.  On second reference, it is acceptable to omit “at Hamilton.”


The Scroll
Hamilton’s social media aggregator. No italics.

See “Graphic Identity Style Guide.”

Lowercase spring, summer, winter, fall. Exceptions are part of a formal name: Alternative Spring Break.

secondly, thirdly
Do not use — there’s no “firstly.” Use first, second, third.

Lowercase: fall semester, spring semester.

Use semiannually instead of biannually to mean twice a year. This avoids confusion since biennially means every other year.

Senior Fellow, Senior Fellowship

Senior Gift
Capitalize when referring to the College’s Senior Gift Campaign.

Senior Program

senior thesis, senior project
Lowercase these components of the Senior Program.

song titles
Use quotation marks. See “composition titles.”

Spectator, The
Hamilton student newspaper. “The” is part of the title and should be capitalized and italicized.

Spectrum is a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) and straight ally alumni of Hamilton.

sports teams
Students participate on sports teams at three levels: varsity, club, and intramural. Names of teams are lowercase: He is the starting running back on Hamilton’s football team. (No need to add “men’s” since there is only one football team.) The women’s squash team won the championship.

Varsity Men’s Teams Varsity Women’s Teams
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross Country
Cross Country Field Hockey
Football Golf
Golf Ice Hockey
Ice Hockey Indoor Track
Indoor Track Lacrosse
Lacrosse Outdoor Track
Outdoor Track Softball
Rowing Squash
Soccer Swimming and Diving
Squash Tennis
Swimming and Diving Volleyball

The Physical Education Department sponsors the following club sports teams:

Alpine Skiing
Figure Skating
Ice Hockey
Nordic Skiing
Ultimate Frisbee
Water Polo

spring break
Lowercase except in the case of the program Alternative Spring Break.

state abbreviations
Use state abbreviations (not postal abbreviations) in prose, except in the rare instance where a complete address is published with a zip code. Do not abbreviate states when not accompanied by a city: He was born in New Jersey. He was born in Freehold, N.J. Set off the state abbreviation with commas in text:  He was born in Freehold, N.J., and grew up in Clinton.

Following are state abbreviations to be used in text; postal abbreviations are in parentheses:

Ala. (AL) Kan. (KS) Nev. (NV) R.I. (RI)
Ariz. (AZ) Ky. (KY) N.H. (NH) S.C. (SC)
Ark. (AR) La. (LA) N.J. (NJ) S.D. (SD)
Calif. (CA) Md. (MD) N.M. (NM) Tenn. (TN)
Colo. (CO) Mass. (MA) N.Y. (NY) Vt. (VT)
Conn. (CT) Mich. (MI) N.C. (NC) Va. (VA)
Del. (DE) Minn. (MN) N.D. (ND) Wash. (WA)
Fla. (FL) Miss. (MS) Okla. (OK) W.Va. (WV)
Ga. (GA) Mo. (MO) Ore. (OR) Wis. (WI)
Ill. (IL) Mont. (MT) Pa. (PA) Wyo. (WY)
Ind. (IN) Neb. (NE)    

Do not abbreviate: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.

study abroad, study-abroad programs
Use hyphen only when using as a compound modifier. Also off-campus study program.


summa cum laude
No italics.



telephone numbers
See “phone numbers.”

that, which
In general, use “which” when a clause could be omitted without leaving the noun it modifies incomplete or without altering the meaning. Precede with a comma: The paper, which George wrote, outlined his summer research project. Use “that” when a clause is limiting or defining. Do not use a comma: George wrote a paper that outlined his summer research project. Not: George wrote a paper, which outlined his summer research project.

“The” in building names
Use of “the” preceding official names of campus buildings is in most cases unnecessary (with the exception of The Little Pub and The Kennedy Center): He lived in Dunham Residence Hall. The students grabbed lunch at Howard Diner. Matriculation is held in Kirkland Cottage.

On second reference, or in the case of buildings without official names, use of “the” helps with readability: They gathered in the Chapel to hear a lecture. The basketball game will take place in the field house.

Not theater, except when referring to the former Minor Theater.

they, them, their
When writing about people who identify as neither male nor female, or who ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her, it is acceptable to use they/them/their as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun. Consider these guidelines:

If possible, use the person’s name in place of a pronoun or reword the sentence. Clarity is first priority; gender-neutral use of a singular “they” can be confusing to readers. If they/them/their is used, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun and be sure the phrasing does not imply more than one person: Smith (who uses the “they” pronoun) said that their research will lead to a published paper in November.

When "they" is used in the singular, it takes a plural verb: Professor Smith is available at 3 p.m. They hold office hours every Tuesday afternoon.

See “dates, months, and times.”


before a name Capitalize titles of Hamilton employees. Do not set off by commas: Senior Director of Interactive Media Tim O’Keeffe launched the new website.

after a name Lowercase after an individual’s name and set off by commas: Tim O’Keeffe, senior director of interactive media, launched the new website.

This rule applies to academic titles (Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics Anne Feltovich; Lecturer in Music Rick Montalbano; Teaching Fellow in East Asian Languages and Literatures Shuang Wu) and other Hamilton titles: Master Mechanic Ray Barretta was promoted. Master Maintenance Mechanic Christopher Rubino was promoted. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Steve Sadove ’73 addressed alumni. Steve Sadove ’73, chairman of the Board of Trustees, addressed alumni.

standing alone without a name Lowercase: The president gave a speech.

Capitalization rules differ for endowed chairs and professorships. See “endowed professorships.”

Use of prepositions Use "for" with vice president (Vice President for Advancement Lori Dennison) and "of" with director (Director of Campus Safety Frank Coots).

For guidelines on titles of books, magazines, articles, etc., see “composition titles.”

Not towards.

transgender (adj.)
Use to describe people whose gender identity does not match the sex they were identified with at birth. Identify people as “transgender” only if pertinent, and use the name they prefer: Bob is a transgender man. Kristin is transgender. “Trans” is acceptable on second reference.

See “Board of Trustees.”


Stacey Himmelberger

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