Communications & Marketing

Names and Titles

Use a person's full name, unless he or she is widely known or prefers a less formal address or nickname.

Avoid courtesy titles, such as Ms. or Mr., except in direct quotes or in obituaries.

Capitalize titles before names, except in the case of a faculty member’s general title (i.e. assistant professor). Use “chair” for both men and women, avoid “chairman” or “chairwoman.”

  • President David Harris spoke at the reception.
  • Vice President of Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment Matt Malatesta appeared on WAMC to discuss new trends in the higher education admissions process.
  • Director of Admissions Ann Fleming Brown will speak at Monday’s open house.
  • Many people are involved with sustainability efforts on campus, including assistant professor Jeffrey Corbin.
  • The Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Biology Robert Olberg conducts research on dragonflies.

Lowercase titles after names:

  • Ann Fleming Brown, director of Admissions, said this year’s incoming class is among the most diverse in College history.
  • Jeffrey Corbin, assistant professor of biology, is actively involved with sustainability efforts on campus.

There are exceptions for endowed, named positions. For these, capitalize all the words in the title on first reference, and afterward use a shortened version with the “chair” or “professor” in lowercase.

  • Robert Olberg, the Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Biology, does fascinating research on dragonflies.
  • The Sherwood professor gave a lecture for the public last night.

Note: Professors may be appointed to endowed chairs, or may hold endowed chairs, but they cannot be endowed chairs.

Also: It’s usually a chair in a field, but a professor of a field.

If citing a professor’s discipline, be sure to indicate the particular field, which may not be the same as the department name:

  • Charles Batson, professor of French, is a member of the Department of Modern Languages and Literature.

Like most collective nouns, “faculty” and “staff” are generally used as singular nouns, but common usage allows them to be plural as well:

  • Best: Faculty members are devoted to undergraduate teaching, or the faculty is
    devoted to undergraduate teaching.
  • Also OK: Faculty are devoted to undergraduate teaching.

When citing a title alone, use lowercase:

  • Charlie Casey said he’d check with the dean regarding the Academic Register.

Do not capitalize appositive phrases that describe a person’s role but that aren’t full, formal job titles:

  • Formal job title: According to Director of Student Activities Karoline Chrzanowski-Sears, Eliza Fussfield did an excellent job of brainstorming new club activities.
  • Role description: According to student activities head Karoline Chrzanowski-Sears, Eliza Fussfield did an excellent job of brainstorming new club activities.

In citing people, use their first and last names on first reference, and their last names only (without any title such as Mr., Ms., Prof., or Dr.) on subsequent reference:

  • Smith offered Levine and Chen a taste of his apple pie at the Minerva barbecue.

When people have the same last name, subsequent references will need to include both their first and last names:

  • The program featured visiting artists Lucy and John Ives, along with Dance Director Jane Doe. Lucy Ives is the founder of the Children’s Dance Institute in New York City, where John serves as rehearsal director.

Omit the comma before “Jr.” or “Sr.”

When a name ending in “s” is made possessive, add an apostrophe and another “s”:

Palma Catravas’s door is always open.

  • Exceptions: Moses’ law, Jesus’ teachings, Isis’ temple (no one else)

When referring to family members by pluralizing their last name, add “s” or “es” even if the name itself already ends in “s”:

  • The Joneses donated a new building and created a scholarship, but the Smiths’ gift was unrestricted.

When using “emeritus” – or, for women, “emerita” – place it immediately after “professor,” not after the discipline, and capitalize:

  • Carl George, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, attended the UNITAS ceremony with Twitty Styles, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences.
  • Or: Professor Emeriti of Biological Sciences Carl George and Twitty Styles attended the UNITAS ceremony.

On first reference, alumni should be listed with their class year after their name:

  • The scholarship went to Amelia Grant ’69, a poet.
  • The scholarship was awarded to Amelia Grant, Class of 1969.

When there are two family members in the same sentence who are alumni, place the class year after the first name.

  • Armand V. ’42 and Donald S. ’46 Feigenbaum, brothers and innovators