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Style Guides


This Style Guide, Version 7.0, provides a resource for future implementation of the Ohio Northern University brand as it pertains to copy and the written word. The guidelines contained in this document describe the essential elements of the brand along with basic instruction for how to use them.

We want to ensure that every facet of ONU conveys the same sentiment. Adherence to these guidelines will ensure consistency and recognition of the brand. When the greater ONU brand is recognized, it benefits each of ONU’s schools and programs individually.

It should be noted that the elements and uses in this initial guide are open to change. However, these changes will be reviewed and assessed periodically to ensure there is always a single standard usage, overall.


ONU has been focused on outcomes since 1871. Since our inception we’ve been devoted to developing students who are ready to immerse themselves and go to the next level in everything they do. And while the world and our school have vastly evolved since our founding, the one thing that has remained unchanged is that ONU is rooted in the future.


Ohio Northern University has adopted the following brand positioning statement to summarize the nature and aspirations of the University:


This means that we’re committed to nurturing our students’ intellectual and personal ambitions, preparing them for a prestigious professional life.

This statement is an internal guide for marketing communications and should never appear on outward-facing materials. External- facing communications should strive to convey this key message, without ever explicitly using the phrase.


The positioning statement is complemented with tonal words that reflect the personality of the University. All ONU communications – from social media posts to employee materials to event promotions – should be guided by the following tone words:


Any copy or headlines used should mirror ONU’s bold, pioneering and purposeful attitude. A passionate and ambitious voice supports the “roll up your sleeves and get to work” mindset, and an intimate, nurturing tone helps show the strengths of ONU’s locale.


When writing body copy for the ONU brand, first you must consider the audience. Then ask, “What am I trying to communicate?” Once these have been established, you can start to craft your story in the following order:

  1. Start with a hook. After the headline you must immediately pull them in with an interesting point that makes them want to continue reading.
  2. Middle. After the hook is set, you can begin to show the supporting story, including facts and supporting points.
  3. End. Relate back to the headline/intro. Then challenge them to do take the action you want them to.

Ohio Northern University Print Publication and Electronic Media Style Guide

Purpose: To successfully implement Associated Press writing guidelines into all University printed publications so that all printed materials will be fully consistent for our external audiences. The following guidelines will provide a strong framework for all printed publications and will act as an essential tool when writing on behalf of Ohio Northern University.

Please contact the Office of University Communications and Marketing for additional information.

ONU bases its style and usage guidelines on The Associated Press Stylebook. Exceptions exist, however, and those are detailed below.

For questions about proper spelling, the University defers to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which is available online at


There are a number of University-specific academic programs that are commonly referred to as acronyms. Write out upon first reference.

  • Example: John Smith is pursuing a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA).

See "Organizations and Institutions" entry for more.


This differs from the AP Stylebook; however, please use this spelling in Ohio Northern University publications.

  • Exception: use “adviser” in press releases.

Academic Courses/Majors

Lowercase unless it includes a proper noun (i.e. English, Spanish, etc.).

  • Correct: She is a music major.

Capitalize the names of all official courses offered by Ohio Northern University, especially when they accompany a course number. Lowercase when referring to a course in general terms.

  • Correct: I would like to take Tap Dance 2 at Ohio Northern University.
  • Correct: I would like to take Public Relations Case Studies in the fall.
  • Correct: I am excited to take an art history class at Ohio Northern University.


  • Alumna: female
  • Alumnus: male; male or female singular (when gender is unclear or unknown)
  • Alumni: men/mixed group
  • Alumnae: women

Avoid the use of the words “alum” or “alums.”

Ohio Northern University defines an “alumnus” or “alumna” as one who has received a degree from the institution.

First references to alumni names in body copy must be bolded and include degree and graduation year. This includes ONU faculty and staff who have graduated from Ohio Northern University. Subsequent references should not be bolded or include degree and graduation year. It is not necessary to bold the degree and class year. This may be omitted on electronic formats.

Do not bold alumni names in headlines, bylines or photo captions.

Class Notes:

  • Example: Rita Tully, BSBA '85, is the owner of Johnny’s Pizza in Boston, Mass., where she also resides.
  • Example: Cara Miabella, BA '85, is a graphic designer for Ohio Northern University.

In a paragraph:

  • Example: Brit Rowe, BFA ’93, assistant professor of art, gave his students the assignment.

If an alumnus or alumna graduated in a previous century, please list their full year of graduation.

  • Example: Joy England, AA 1902, and her husband, John, owned Jessi’s Jackets in San Jose, N.M.

Alumni Events

Capitalize and use the specific title in all print publications.

  • Example: The Columbus Area Alumni Event

Ampersand (&)

ONLY use an ampersand when it is part of a company’s FORMAL name.

  • Example: Gianna Russo, BSBA '65, is employed by Johnson & Johnson.

The ampersand should never be used in place of "and."

  • Exception: The Getty College of Arts & Sciences.


Please refer to the AP Stylebook for further rules and information.

  • Correct: Third-year head coach Mike Bertie led the team to victory.
  • Correct: First Team All-America, First Team All-OAC, Academic All-OAC
  • Correct: 23-year history of the league
  • Correct: He is ranked No. 12.
  • Correct: She led the team with 5 points.
  • Correct: The team is led by coach Judy Bean.

Do not title-cap the name of a sport or the word "varsity" unless it begins a sentence or is included in a heading.

  • Correct: He is a member of the varsity men’s basketball team.

Title-cap "Polar Bear" or "Polar Bears" when in reference to Ohio Northern University.

  • Correct: The Polar Bears swept the series.


Capitalize ONLY when it is part of the formal name.

  • Example: The Ohio Northern University Alumni Board met last weekend.
  • Example: The alumni board was on campus during Homecoming 2006.


All names of alumni (including faculty/staff alumni) should be listed in bold throughout all University publications.

DO NOT bold alumni names in photo captions or headlines.

Names of students should not be bolded.

Bolding guidelines do not pertain to social media posts.

Building Names

Campus Buildings/Areas

James Lehr Kennedy Engineering Building The Inn at Ohio Northern University Remington Walk
Alumni House Lehr Memorial Robertson-Evans Pharmacy Building
• Hakes-Pierstorf Family Pharmacy
Education Center
• Alumni and Friends Entrance Plaza
• Meijer Terrace
* ONU HealthWise Pharmacy
Biggs Engineering Building Maintenance Facility Green Monster
Burgett Pavilion Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences Tundra
Business Services Building McIntosh Center
• McIntosh Activites Room
• McIntosh Ballroom
• Bear Cave
• WOW Café American Grill and Wingery
• Polar Espresso
• McIntosh Dining Hall
• Wishing Well
Science Annex
Child Development Center Meyer Hall of Science Student Health Center
Counseling Center Multicultural Center-Lehr Kennedy House Taft Memorial
Dial-Roberson Stadium/Kerscher Stadium Così at Northern Tilton Hall of Law
• Taggart Law Library
• Judge Allan H. Davis Lecture Hall
• Moot Court Room
• Eugene N. Hanson Reading Room
The Dicke House (President's Home) Observatory Weber Hall
Dukes Memorial King-Horn Sports Center
• Field House
Wilson Art Building
• Elzay Gallery of Art
English Chapel Physical Plant Grounds Dept. Baker Commons
Freed Center for the Performing Arts
• Biggs Theatre
• Stambaugh Studio Theatre
Physical Plant Offices Hill Memorial
Heterick Memorial Library
• Oscar J. and Judith M. Mifsud
Collaborative Learning Center
• Northern Lights Café
Picnic Pavilion (Shelter House) Presser Hall


Student Housing

5 University Parkway (5UP) Lakeview Polar Place
Affinity Village
• Affinity Commons
Lima Hall Roberts Hall
Brookhart Hall Maglott Hall Stadiumview Apartments
Courtyard Apartments Northern Commons Stambaugh Hall
Founders Hall Northern House University Terrace
Klondike's Den Park Hall  


DO NOT capitalize unless used in reference to Campus Security.


All photographs must have a caption if one is needed to identify people or objects within the photograph. Identification of alumni should follow the format below:

Name (comma) degree year (comma) and what’s happening in the photograph.

  • Example: Michael Bandini, BA ’01, poses at the Cleveland Area Alumni Event.

If captions include students:

  • ONU Magazine: always provide name, class year and hometown*.
  • Example: Rose Poland, a fourth-year pharmacy major from Columbus, Ohio, stands in front of Lehr Memorial.
  • All other University publications: include appropriate information applicable to the student.
  • Identify individuals in a photograph from left, clockwise or front to back.
  • Example: Those in attendance were (from left) Leonard Fino, JD ’03; Carl Farms, BS ’01; and Leona May, BA ’04.

* Hometowns should be used only with permission from the student and when it adds to the effect of the story (e.g. students from out of state).


Capitalize when used in conjunction with a formal name, popular nickname or official title.

  • Example: The New York City weather was brutal.
  • Example: We visited the Windy City last April.
  • Example: City Manager Alan Debby plans to retire in June.
  • Lowercase when used in “city of” references.
  • Example: He went to the city of Tiffin to buy a car.

Class Notes

Here are examples for standard class note format:

Regular Class Note: John Smith, BS '10, was promoted to assistant to the regional manager. He resides in Scranton, Pa.
Marriage: John Smith, BS '11, and Janes (Jones) Smith, BM '13, were married March 24, 2017, in Toledo, Ohio, where they reside.
Birth: John Smith, BA '12, and Jane (Jones) Smith, PharmD '14, welcomed a son, Bart, on July 24, 2018.

If a couple consists of alumni from separate decades, list entry under both decades, but lead with the alumnus or alumna from the corresponding decade in each entry.

Always include the maiden name of an alumna, if applicable. Please note, this is not necessary for law alumni.

  • Caution: DO NOT include a class note AT ALL if Banner lists the alumnus' information as confidential.

Class Rank

Capitalize the words freshman, sophomore, junior or senior ONLY if it starts the sentence. Lowercase elsewhere.

  • Correct: Jeanne Correy is a senior biology major from Attica, Ohio.


Capitalize before a name if it begins a sentence. Lowercase elsewhere.

  • Example: Coach Joe Campoli was named coach of the year.
  • Example: We were greeted by coach Joe Campoli in the hallway.



Capitalize the word college when part of a formal name. Lowercase elsewhere.

  • The Getty College of Arts & Sciences
  • The Dicke College of Business Administration
  • The Smull College of Engineering
  • The Pettit College of Law
  • The Raabe College of Pharmacy

Upon first reference, use the full name of the college. Refer to it as “the college” (or "the pharmacy college" or "the law college," etc.) after it has been introduced in the paragraph.

It's also permissible to use "ONU Law" upon second reference to the law college.

A&S is an acceptable abbreviation for the College of Arts & Sciences.

  • Example: The Raabe College of Pharmacy is nationally ranked. The college has several state-of-the-art laboratories.

When it is necessary to distinguish between two or more different colleges, use acceptable shorthand for individual colleges:

  • The College of Arts & Sciences
  • The College of Business Administration
  • The College of Engineering
  • The College of Law
  • The College of Pharmacy

Composition Titles

Italicize and capitalize the following: books, newspapers, magazines, movies and plays.

Put in quotation marks and title-cap: television shows, songs, articles, book chapters, video games and poems.

  • Exception: do not use italics in press releases. Use quotation marks instead.


Courtesy Titles

Do not use courtesy titles except in direct quotations. The University is not always aware of a person's preference for such titles, nor are we always immediately aware of recent life changes that may change this preference (i.e., divorce or remarriage). Therefore, it is best to eliminate such titles altogether. This is consistent with the guidelines set forth by the Associated Press.


When using dashes to set off clauses, use an en dash set of with spaces.

  • Example: Everything she found – eye-opening statistics, innovative new treatments, correlating issues – ignited a passion that couldn't be quenched.


Always use Arabic figures without st, nd, rd, or th.

  • Correct: March 1,
  • Incorrect: March 1st,

Always place a comma after the year unless the year ends the sentence. Example: Their wedding was held on July 14, 1997, in the botanical gardens.

See "Months" entry for additional rules.


The following abbreviations have been or are currently in association with Ohio Northern University.

AA Associate of Arts
ACIT alumni citation (University award)
BA Bachelor of Arts  
BFA Bachelor of Fine Arts
BM Bachelor of Music
BS Bachelor of Science
BSBA Bachelor of Science in business administration
BSCE Bachelor of Science in civil engineering
BSCHE Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering
BSCLS Bachelor of Science in clinical laboratory science
BSCPE Bachelor of Science in computer engineering
BSECE Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering
BSEd Bachelor of Science in education
BSEE Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering
BSME Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering
BSMT Bachelor of Science in medical technology
BSN Bachelor of Science in nursing
BSPh Bachelor of Science in pharmacy
H of F Hall of Fame
Hon. D. honorary degree
JD juris doctor
LLB Bachelor of Laws
LLD Doctor of Laws

Master of Laws


Master of Science in Accounting

PharmD Doctor of Pharmacy
Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy
Ph.G. graduate in pharmacy (offered by ONU from 1906-1932)

Given the audience, please use the appropriate degree description.

If an individual received a master’s degree or doctorate, utilize the following format:

  • bachelor’s - not capitalized
  • master’s - not capitalized
  • doctorate - not capitalized
  • M.A. - including periods
  • M.S. - including periods
  • Ph.D. - including periods and no space between letters
  • Example: Carol Solvay, BA '76, received a master’s degree in psychology from Harvard University. Carol and her family reside in San Diego, Calif.
  • Example: Carol Solvay, BA '76, received an M.A. in psychology from Harvard University. Carol and her family reside in San Diego, Calif.
  • Example: Carol Solvay, BA '76, received her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University. Carol and her family reside in San Diego, Calif.

Do NOT precede a name with a courtesy degree and then follow the name with the degree earned.

  • Correct: Dr. Baxter O’Donnell or Baxter O’Donnell, Ph.D.
  • Incorrect: Dr. Baxter O’Donnell, Ph.D.


Use lowercase unless the title includes a proper noun or is part of a formal name.

  • Correct: Nancy Bradenton, Ph.D., would like to work for the Department of History.
  • Correct: Nancy Bradenton, Ph.D., would like to work for the history department.
  • Correct: Garrett Cicero, associate professor of journalism, works for the Department of English.
  • Correct: Garrett Cicero, associate professor of journalism, works for the English department.
  • Correct: The Ohio Northern University Department of Communication Arts is hosting a banquet in May.

Dial-Roberson Stadium

Always refer to the stadium on ONU’s campus as Dial-Roberson Stadium.


Lowercase north, south, east and west when referring to a compass direction. Capitalize to indicate a region.

  • Correct: The storm is moving in from the east.
  • Correct: The East Coast culture differs from that of the West Coast.
  • Correct: He grew up in the Midwest.
  • Correct: He developed a Southern accent.

Double major

Drug Information Center


Do not hyphenate the word email. Only capitalize if this word starts the sentence.


Place this word immediately after the word “professor” or capitalize it if it PRECEDES a name.

  • Correct: Donald Milks, professor emeritus of civil engineering, attended the event.
  • Correct: Professor Emeritus Donald Milks attended the event.


Use only one method of emphasizing a word or sentence. You can use either bolding, italics and or underlining, but don't use all three.


Don't capitalize the "e" unless at the beginning of a sentence. No hypen.

  • Correct: The esports team competes in "League of Legends" and "Overwatch."

Exclamation Points

Use sparingly. Do not use more than one consecutively.

  • Incorrect: Join us for food, fun and fellowship!!!


As a collective noun, “faculty” takes singular verbs and pronouns.

  • Correct: The faculty is going to a lecture.

When referring to a group of individuals numbering less than the entire faculty, use “faculty members.”

All faculty members who graduated from Ohio Northern University will be identified in ONU Magazine. Their name should be bold and followed by their Ohio Northern degree(s).

  • Correct: suffix (space) name (comma) degree (space) graduation year (comma) title (comma)
  • (First reference) Dr. Stephen Iseman, BS '01, professor of communication arts and public relations, is the advisor of PRSSA.
  • (Second reference) Iseman has enjoyed a successful career in the public relations field.

DO NOT follow a name with a degree if the suffix already indicates a degree. The suffix will imply the degree received by the individual.

  • Incorrect: Dr. Stephen Iseman, Ph.D., is the advisor of PRSSA.

First Lady

ONU's first lady is Chris Burns-DiBiasio. As a title, it should not be capitalized.

  • Example: The initiative was led by first lady Chris Burns-DiBiasio.

Freed Center for the Performing Arts

See "Building Names" entry. On second reference, use "Freed Center."


This is the proper form for nouns and adjectives (not “freshmen”).

  • Correct: The freshman orientation event was a resounding success.
  • Correct: Jane is a freshman in the College of Business Administration.


One word in all instances


Use the following format in reference to all alumni in a heading/title:

  • Single degree: Name (comma) degree year
  • Example: Kelly Freund, BFA ’76
  • Multiple degrees: Name (comma) degree year (comma) degree year
  • Example: Melvin Jai Roberts, BA ’76, JD ’79


It is not necessary to title-cap words that appear in headlines. You may choose different capitalization rules based on design, formality, etc. Whatever decision you make, please ensure consistency within a single piece (i.e., all headlines should "match").

Health care

High schools

Do not mention a student’s high school unless the publication is an all-athletics piece or in a locally-targeted press release. It can also be included if it adds value to the story.


Always capitalize the word Homecoming in reference to Ohio Northern University.

Honorary Degrees

Honorary degrees should be noted as such:

  • Example: Maxwell Marks, Hon. D. ’89, is a priest at Our Lady of Pompeii.

The Inn at Ohio Northern University

“The” must be title-capped at all times

It’s, Its

  • It’s is a contraction for it is.
  • Its is the possessive for it.

Law students

See "Students" entry.

LL.B., LL.M., LL.D.

In press releases, include the periods. Otherwise, use LLB, LLM and LLD

Liberal Arts

There's no need to include a hyphen when "liberal arts" in used as a compound modifier.

Logon, login, logout

  • Nouns: login, logon, logoff, logout
  • Verbs: log in, log on, log off, log out

Master class

McIntosh Center

No “the” should precede “McIntosh Center”


Use Associated Press abbreviations for months when used in conjunction with a specific date. (Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.)

  • Correct: Terry Dubiel, BA ’99, received the Outstanding Teacher Award on Jan. 4, 2011.

DO NOT abbreviate a month when it stands alone.

  • Incorrect: Jaclyn Capezio, BS ’02, received a master of business administration from Ohio State University in Feb. and now works in Florida.

DO NOT include the word “of” between the month and year.

  • Correct: Jan. 31, 2004, November 2003
  • Incorrect: July of 1979

When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the month and year with commas.

  • Example: November 1981 was a bad month.


Use the suffixes Jr., Sr., III, IV, etc., if another alumnus is of the same name.

IF an alumnus requests the suffix to be used, it DEFINITELY needs to be included.

No comma should appear before Jr., Sr., II, III

  • Correct: Thurston Howell III
  • Correct: Robert Jones Jr.

Nicknames should only be used if the person was known by that name while at ONU. In other cases, utilize the person’s proper name.

  • Correct: John “Jack” Gianelli
  • Exception: Arden “Stretch” Roberson

Common nicknames are acceptable.

  • Correct: Christine “Chrissy” Trinity
  • Correct: Michelle “Shelli” Tazman


Use as the abbreviation for number in conjunction with a figure to indicate position or rank: No. 1 man, or No. 3 choice.

Do not use in street addresses or in the names of schools.

Do not use the # symbol to indicate number.

The Northern Fund

Capitalize the “t” in “The”


DO NOT begin a sentence with a digit. Write out the number.

Figures or Words: spell out first through ninth when they indicate sequence in time or location. Example: first base, the First Amendment

Spell out whole numbers below 10. For 10 and above, use figures. Exceptions: age, money, dimensions, percentages, measurements

  • Correct: He has been with the office for two years.
  • Correct: He was a pharmacist for 15 years.
  • Correct: This medicine is 100 percent effective.
  • Correct: The project is going to cost $4 million.

Use a comma for most figures higher than 99. Exceptions: street addresses, ACT/SAT scores, room numbers, serial numbers, telephone numbers and years

  • Correct: She bought 2,345 cans of corn.
  • Correct: He received a 2200 on the new SAT.
  • Correct: They graduated in 1985.


Here is the standard format for obituaries in ONU Magazine:

First Name, Last Name, Degree, Location, Date (period)

  • Example: Matt Sparks, BSBA '28, Boca Raton, Idaho, March 31, 2018.

Ohio Northern University

Upon first reference in a self-contained, isolated article, write Ohio Northern University. If two or more separate articles appear on the same page or spread, this rule should still be followed.

Use Ohio Northern, Northern or ONU in additional references.


Spell out as one word. Lowercase unless it begins a sentence.

Organizations and Institutions

Capitalize the full names of organizations and institutions. Upon first reference, state the name of the organization/institution and use its abbreviation in parentheses immediately following.

  • Example: She graduated from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in 1997.
  • Exception: It is not necessary to include “(ONU)” after “Ohio Northern University”

People, Persons

Always use "people" to say the plural of "person."


Spell out “percent” in normal uses. Always precede with a digit (e.g. 2, not two).

  • Example: Ohio Northern has maintained a 94 percent placement rate for the past five years.
  • Exception: The “%” symbol may be used in charts and graphs.

Pharmacy students

See "Students" entry.

Phone numbers

  • Example: 555-867-5309
  • Example: 800-867-5309 x1234


To be used in print publications, an image’s resolution must be high. Please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing for further assistance.

Polar Bear

Capitalize the word Polar Bear when in reference to Ohio Northern University.

Always use “Polar Bears.” Never shorten to “Bears.” 

  • Correct: The Ohio Northern University women’s soccer team is ranked high in the division. The Polar Bears continue to dominate their opponents.
  • Incorrect: The biology department researched Polar Bears during the summer.


Capitalize president ONLY as a formal title before one or more names.

  • Informal: President Dan DiBiasio or President DiBiasio
  • Formal: Daniel A. DiBiasio, president of Ohio Northern University, or President Daniel A. DiBiasio

When referring to Dan and Chris together:

  • Dan and Chris
  • Dan DiBiasio and Chris Burns-DiBiasio
  • President Dan DiBiasio and Chris Burns-DiBiasio

Note: Do not use “Dr.” with Dan DiBiasio’s name. He prefers “President DiBiasio.”

Press Releases

Please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing for additional information.

ALL press releases will be distributed by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Principal, principle

Principal is the noun and adjective meaning someone or something first in rank, authority, importance or degree.

  • Examples: Andrea Brothers is the school principal. Aaron Findlay was the principal player in the trade. 

Principle is a noun that means a fundamental truth, law, doctrine or motivating force.

  • Examples: They fought for the principle of self-determination.


Capitalize before a name if it begins a sentence. Lowercase elsewhere.

Don't abbreviate.

  • Example: Professor Roberto Razopatti gave us the study guide.
  • Example: We were greeted by professor Roberto Razopatti in the hallway.


Capitalize when part of a formal title. Lowercase elsewhere.

  • Correct: The graphic design program is remarkable.
  • Correct: The Honors Program is working on several research projects.


Correct: "I love going to class," she says.
Incorrect: 'I love going to class', she says.

Semester hours

No hyphen


Use a colon between two numbers in a ratio. This differs from the AP Stylebook; however, please use this format in Ohio Northern University publications.

  • Examples: 8:1, 10:1


Lowercase, unless referring to the formal name of a campus space.

  • Correct: The students prepared for their exams in the Eugene N. Hanson Reading Room.
  • Correct: The exam will be held in room 226.


Seasons of the year

Lowercase spring, summer, fall, winter unless part of a formal name.

  • Example: She graduated in the spring.
  • Example: The will visit the campus during the summertime.
  • Example: They attended the Ohio Northern Summer Carnival in July 2005.

Avoid the “the season of year” construction.

  • Correct: He visited Italy in spring 2004.
  • Incorrect: He attended classes in the fall of 2001.


Always lowercase.


Twice a year, synonym of biannual. Often confused with biennial, which means every other year.


Use a single space between sentences. Do not use two.

Sign in, sign up

  • Noun/adjective: sign-in, sign-up
  • Verb: sign in, sign up

Skill set

Sports Venues

King-Horn Sports Center
Dial-Roberson Stadium
Kerscher Stadium
ONU Softball Field
University Tennis Courts
Colonial Golfers Club
Wander Field


All staff members who graduated from Ohio Northern University will be identified in the University publications. Their names should be bolded and followed by their Ohio Northern degrees.


DO NOT capitalize unless it is part of a formal name.

  • Correct: The New York State Association of College Admissions Counselors
  • Incorrect: I went to the State of Texas for a vacation.

State Names

Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when they stand alone in textual material.

Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah should never be abbreviated in text.

  • Example: Patti Fort mentioned that Hawaii was her favorite state.
  • Example: Bill Bubble went to Iowa for the summer.

The state and zip code abbreviations are accepted by Ohio Northern University. This differs from the standard adopted by the Associated Press. The University continues to use these abbreviations for space-saving reasons.

Alabama – Ala. Montana – Mont.
Alaska Nebraska – Neb.
Arizona – Ariz. Nevada – Nev.
Arkansas – Ark. New Hampshire – N.H.
California – Calif. New Jersey – N.J.
Colorado – Colo. New Mexico – N.M.
Connecticut – Conn. New York – N.Y.
Delaware – Del. North Carolina – N.C.
Florida – Fla. North Dakota – N.D.
Georgia – Ga. Ohio
Hawaii Oklahoma – Okla.
Idaho Oregon – Ore.
Illinois – Ill. Pennsylvania – Pa.
Indiana – Ind. Rhode Island – R.I.
Iowa South Carolina – .C.
Kansas – Kan. South Dakota – S.D.
Kentucky – Ky. Tennessee – Tenn.
Louisiana – La. Texas
Maine Utah
Maryland – Md. Vermont – Vt.
Massachusetts – Mass. Virginia – Va.
Michigan – Mich. Washington – Wash.
Minnesota – Minn. West Virginia – W.Va.
Mississippi – Miss. Wisconsin – Wis.
Missouri – Mo. Wyoming – Wyo.

Two-character postal abbreviations should only be used when part of a full mailing address (i.e., envelopes, contact information, reply cards, etc.).

This is the correct way to write Washington, D.C.

Place a comma between the city and state name, and another comma after the state name (unless the state name is at the end of a sentence).

  • Example: Johnny Kimm, JD ’00, said Las Vegas, Nev., had the largest alumni population.
  • Example: Carmen Anthony, BS ’06, is an English teacher in Tempe, Ariz.


Include appropriate information applicable to the student after the name of the student is listed. (freshman-senior, major, hometown*)

  • Example: Richey Edwards, a sophomore mathematics major from Boise, Idaho, earned a first-place finish in the competition.

While it is not necessary to always include all three pieces of information, this is the proper format to use when you do.

With pharmacy students, DO NOT use P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, P-5, P-6. Write out the class year accompanied by the word "pharmacy" after the name of the student.

  • Example: Karla Fayce, a first-year pharmacy major from Salt Lake City, Utah, enjoyed the event.

With law students, use "first-year law student," "second-year law student" or "third-year law student."

  • Correct: Jonathan Powers, a second-year law student, attended the awards banquet.

In law-exclusive publications, it is acceptable to use L-1, L-2 or L-3 after a student's name.

  • Correct: Jonathan Powers, L-2, attended the awards banquet.

Students may be given a pre-graduation year ONLY in Admissions publications.

* Hometowns should be used only with permission from the student and when it adds to the effect of the story (e.g. students from out of state).


Use this version of the word when in reference to Ohio Northern University.


Always use lowercase when referring to a.m. or p.m.

Only use a colon to separate hours from minutes.

Exceptions may be made for invitations, schedules, etc.

Use the following format for a range of time: 4-5 p.m.

When using a.m. and p.m., always lowercase with periods. Avoid the redundant 10 p.m. tonight.

Never use "12 p.m." Use "noon." Do not put a 12 in front.

Never use "12 a.m." Use "midnight" instead. Do not place a 12 in front. 

  • Correct: 5 a.m.
  • Incorrect: 5:00 a.m., 5:00 am, 5:00 AM, 5:00 A.M.
  • Correct: 4:30 p.m.


Capitalize the title of an individual if it PRECEDES the name. Use lowercase elsewhere.

  • Exception: “professor” is only capitalized when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Exception: “coach” is only capitalized when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Correct: Senior Accountant Joseph D. Bello, spoke at the ceremony.
  • Correct: Joseph D. Bello, senior accountant, spoke at the ceremony.
  • Incorrect: Joseph D. Bello, Senior Accountant, spoke at the ceremony.

If an individual has a proper noun in their title such as English, Greek or Spanish, etc., that specific word should be capitalized.

If you're creating an invitation, an event program or an event agenda, it is acceptable to use title-caps when listing a person's name and job title. This usually pertains to names appearing in a vertical list.

  • Correct: Chad Shepherd, director of Greek life and student activities, organized a meeting for all advisors.

ONU Magazine (Class Notes, Obituaries)

DO NOT use the title of an individual when first naming them. However, if they have a military title, it may be utilized after the first naming of them if needed.

  • Correct: Anne Wegman, BSME '89, is an engineer for Thunderbird Corporation.
  • Incorrect: Mrs. Anne Wegman, BSME '89, is an engineer for Thunderbird Corporation.
  • Example: Nino Congleton, BA '95, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Major Congleton and his family reside in Cicero, N.Y.


Always capitalize the word “University” when referring to Ohio Northern University, even when used alone.

  • Correct: Ohio Northern University is located in Ada, Ohio. The University is entering a yearlong campaign.
  • First reference: Ohio Northern University
  • Second and all additional references: University


In print pieces, never underline a URL (web address). If a sentence ends in a URL, do not put a period at the end of the sentence if the URL is not a hyperlink. Recast sentences to avoid this whenever possible.

Vice President

See “president” entry above


When abbreviating class years, the apostrophe points to the left.

  • Correct: ’07
  • Incorrect: ‘07

When listing decades or centuries, do not use an apostrophe.

  • Correct: 1980s, 1800s
  • Wrong: 1980’s, 1800’s

To refer to duration of time or span of years please use the following format:

  • Correct: 1997-98
  • Wrong: 1997-1998
  • Exception: 1999-2000

Always place a comma after a year unless it ends the sentence.

  • Example: He was born on April 15, 1990, at General Community Hospital.
  • Example: They were married in Atlanta, Ga., on July 10, 1997.
Communications and Marketing

Amy Prigge

Lehr Memorial: 304
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
8 a.m.-5 p.m.