St. Olaf College

Composing an Entry

Because the links for calendar entries are shared with the media, it is extremely important that the entries are accurate and include a fulsome, well-written description.

Composing a calendar entry

  1. All event descriptions should be written using complete sentences.
  2. The description of your event should include information about who is presenting the event and what the purpose of it is. A good rule of thumb is that if a visitor to campus who is not familiar with St. Olaf opened up the entry, would they understand what the event is and who is hosting it? This is why it is important to include titles of faculty and staff and the full name of the hosting office or department (e.g., the Piper Center for Vocation and Career and NOT just the Piper Center).
  3. Do not use “inside baseball” terms or language. Remember that many prospective students and visitors to campus use this calendar to see what’s going on — not to mention members of the media — and they often know relatively little about St. Olaf.
  4. Do not use “we” or other first-person references in calendar entries. Instead, it is better to use the name of the organization hosting the event.
  5. Use proper formatting for links. If linking to another St. Olaf page or website is useful (and it often is), please include the URL in the “Event URL” field OR link to it within the calendar description by using HTML (see the link at left for help with HTML).
  6. Submit your event at least two weeks in advance. Submitting an entry just a few days prior to the event does very little good — we aren’t able to include it on the weekly media release, and fewer people are likely to see it on the calendar.

Before submitting a calendar entry, you should:

  • Make sure all text is spelled correctly.
  • Double check that all names are spelled correctly AND that the individual’s title is correct. The online campus directory and alumni online directory make this quick and easy to do.
  • Make sure the names of all campus buildings and areas are spelled correctly. For example, it’s the Kings’ Room (plural and possessive).
  • Check to see if the people you’re referring to are alumni OR current students. If they are, include their class year.

A few tips about class years:

When identifying current students or alumni by their class years, the two-digit year is preceded by an apostrophe. Do not insert a comma before the year.

Right: John Smith ’87, Jane Doe ’00
Wrong: John Smith, ’87, Jane Doe, ’00

Identify alumni who have changed their names since birth, through marriage or otherwise, as follows: first name/birth name/present last name/class year. Do not set off birth names with parentheses.

Right: Jane Doe Smith ’70
Wrong: Jane (Doe) Smith ’70

Identify alumni couples who share a last name as follows: first partner’s first name/birth name (if different)/ and class year followed by second partner’s first name/birth name/the couple’s present last name/and second partner’s class year.

Right: John ’47 and Jane Doe Smith ’45
Wrong: John and Jane Doe Smith ’47, ’45
Right: John Smith ’90 and Jane Doe-Smith ’90

NOTE: Word will automatically insert the apostrophe curling the wrong way (e.g., ‘01). Type a space in after the year, and it will curl the apostrophe the correct way.

  • Make sure you’re following these important — and frequently broken — style rules:

Courtesy titles

Do not use courtesy titles (Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms.). On first reference, faculty members should be referred to by their full academic title and their first and last name. On second reference, their last name is sufficient.

Alumnus, alumna, alumni, alumnae

The word “alumnus” indicates a man who has attended or graduated from a school; an “alumna” is a woman who has done so. When referring to a group of men and women who have attended or graduated from a school or to more than one alumnus, use the word “alumni.” When referring to an exclusively female group, use the word “alumnae.” Do not use the phrase “alumni/ae” to refer to mixed groups. Avoid the word “alum” when possible.

Academic departments, divisions, and disciplines

Capitalize the full, formal names of academic departments, faculties, and divisions. Do not capitalize the names of academic disciplines.

Right: the Department of History, the History Department
Right: the Department of English, the English Department
Right: She teaches mathematics.
Right: She became the academic administrative assistant of the Mathematics Department in 2001.
Right: He presented his findings to the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Faculty, one of the five divisions of the college’s academic program.

Academic majors, degrees, and honors

Except for languages (English, French, Norwegian, etc.) and studies related to geographical areas, the names of academic disciplines are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized. This includes references to disciplines in major fields of study, programs, and concentrations.

Right: He is a music major who also pursued Russian area studies.
Right: He majored in American racial and multicultural studies and completed a concentration in financial management.

Academic titles

Academic ranks and titles are specific and not interchangeable. It is not appropriate to bestow the title “Professor” upon someone who holds the rank of instructor — or vice versa. A person is “Professor of,” “Associate Professor of,” or “Assistant Professor of” a discipline or “Instructor in” a discipline.

Right: Associate Professor of Biology Jane Doe
Right: Jane Doe, associate professor of biology, will be the keynote speaker.
Wrong: Jane Doe is Associate Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for the Study of UFOs.
Right: Instructor in English William Shakespeare
Wrong: Instructor of English Yukio Mishima

Exception: Titles of the holders of named professorial chairs are always capitalized in full, whether they appear before or after the holder’s name:

Right: Anton Armstrong ’78, the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music
Right: Tosdal Professor of Music Anton Armstrong ’78
Right: John Ferguson is the Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Chair of Organ and Church Music

Times

Use figures except for noon and midnight. A figure alone without zeroes is sufficient for the top of the hour. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Do not put a 12 before noon and midnight. Do not omit the periods in a.m. and p.m.

Right: 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m., midnight
Wrong: 2:00 p.m., 5pm

Numbers in dates

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

Right: October 16
Wrong: October 16th

“Conductor” vs. “director”

A “conductor” is “a director of an orchestra, choir, etc.,” according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, while a “director” is one “who directs a play, motion picture, etc.” Refer to the leader of a musical ensemble as “conductor” and to the person who oversees the production of a play — or the annual Christmas Festival — as a “director.”

One space after a period

In text, follow a period with a single space before beginning the next sentence.

To find other items in the St. Olaf Style Guide, open the page and hit the “command” and “F” keys. This will bring up a search box. If you type “comma,” for instance, it will highlight all areas in the guide that address the use of the comma.