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Style Guide

Table of Contents


Dillard's Language

Web and Social Media Content

General Writing Rules

Rules for Terms

AP Exceptions

Dillard Customizations




The Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) developed this guide to maintain consistency and effectiveness in how we tell Dillard's story. Whether the content we produce throughout the University community is internal or external, in print or digital, the “Dillard University Style Guide" provides guidance to tell those stories effectively. The great news is that Dillard has a history of compelling stories.


Consistent content creates and maintains a strong brand. To engage our audiences as fully as possible, we encourage the University community the keep the following in mind while creating content for print, social media, webpages, media interviews and University community members’ appearances:


Make our students proud.

Motivate our alumni.

Galvanize our faculty and staff.

Entice our supporters.

Enlighten the New Orleans community and communities beyond.


Dillard’s Language


The language we use is very important. It is the silver string that connects all areas of the University. Language should amplify the history, heritage, values and identity of the University.


Through focus group discussions and content analysis, OCM has identified language that highlights those elements that help define the Dillard experience. Whenever possible, use these concepts to articulate our value as an institution of higher learning.



Dillard’s strongest value proposition lies in students’ opportunities to network with accomplished alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, industry professionals and supporters. Consider using other terms such as "networking," "collaboration" or "social capital" when writing or speaking about Dillard.



Many Dillard alumni feel strongly that their alma mater played a role in helping them find a sense of direction. Alumni also feel strongly about using the term "pride."


Critical thinking

The ability to analyze and break down complex ideas is the strength of a liberal arts education. As such, it is valued highly at Dillard. More importantly, this ability is a highly sought-after career skill. Consider also using a term such as “thoughtful” when referring to critical thinking.


Cultural awareness

We are proud to be Louisiana’s first HBCU and one of the oldest HBCUs in the United States of America. We are also proud that our home is one of America’s most resilient and exciting cities which lends to the cultural endurance of Dillard University.



As a faith-based institution, maintaining moral principles and principled thinking is a critical part of our identity.


Web and Social Media Content and the University’s social media platforms are valuable and important information centers. We want to ensure that our visitors are well-informed. The following webpage and social media tips will help you produce meaningful content.




Website visitors tend to browse quickly, scanning for the information they need most. On landing pages, keep the language as simple and concise as possible. For more in-depth information, provide links or anchors for the additional information. 


Websites tend to be more intimate than print copy, so try to “speak” directly to each user.


When possible and appropriate, use illustrations such as charts, graphs and images to simplify information and break up text. 


For visuals, consider using pictures and video that load quickly. The larger the file size, such as more than 5 MB, the longer it takes to load; and that tends to discourage visitors.


Be mindful of using copyrighted material.


Social Media


All social media pages created under the auspices of Dillard University should reflect the mission and values of the University. None should be treated as personal accounts.


While we encourage conversational language, the University expects social media posts to be well-written and/or well-spoken. While our students may use certain terms, we must remember our role as an institution of higher learning.


All content, whether it is posted, reposted or shared, should be relevant to the function of the area posting the content. Avoid posting content that reflects personal views. Content that tends to lean toward controversy should align with your area’s mission or defined learning outcomes. Refer to Human Resources for the University's social media policy.


General Writing Rules, Terms, AP Exceptions and Dillard Customizations


In general, we follow the guidelines of the AP Stylebook. The following list contains terms that are relevant to the work we do as an institution of higher learning. As a reminder, these guidelines are in reference to editorial writing versus academic writing.


General Writing Rules


Articles - Use articles in editorials and journalism the way you would use them in speech i.e., an HBCU or a HUD grant.


Commas - AP style discourages using commas before “and” or “or” when listing items i.e., “Rosenwald, Stern and Kearny.”

When using credentials, use a comma i.e., Ruth Simmons, Ph.D.

Do not use a comma when using a suffix with someone’s name i.e., Martin Luther King Jr.


Latin honors

cum laude - Latin honor meaning “with praise,” not capitalized.

magna cum laude - Latin honor meaning “with great praise,” not capitalized. 

summa cum laude - Latin honor meaning “with highest praise,” not capitalized.


Majors - When writing about a major, do not capitalize unless referring to the department, i.e., psychology versus Department of Psychology. Do capitalize when referring to a language or nationality.


Numerals - Write out numerals through nine. Starting with 10, use numerals. Also, use numerals when referring to age, distances and measurements. Write out numerals when they begin a sentence. Try not to begin a sentence with a year, however.


Pronouns - Ask about and use pronouns that your subjects prefer. It is acceptable to use “they,” “them” and “their(s)” as singular pronouns for a person whose gender is unknown or who wishes to remain gender-neutral. 


Seasons - Not capitalized unless being used as a proper noun, such as Summer Olympics or Fall 2020 (as opposed to the fall of 2020).


Titles - Capitalize a title when it precedes a person’s name i.e., President Walter Kimbrough. However, do not capitalize when referring to a person’s position or a position in general i.e., Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.


“Dr.” versus “Ph.D.,” “Ed.D.,” etc. - In using titles, either use “Dr.” before a person’s name or use their academic designation at the end, not both. 


Offices, departments, units - Capitalize when referring to the operational area i.e., Office of Institutional Advancement. However, do not capitalize when referring to the area as a function i.e., Marc Barnes, who is an expert in institutional advancement...


Editorial writing and biographies - It is not necessary to use titles throughout an article or editorial; surnames, alone, can be used. In biographies, such as in programs or for speaker introductions; however, titles are encouraged.




alumni/alums - Plural for all graduates including the collective. While not encouraged, the shortened version is acceptable.

alumna/alum - Singular for a self-identified female graduate. 

alumnae - Plural of alumna.

alumnus/alum - Singular for a self-identified male graduate.


associate degree - Not capitalized and no apostrophe with an “s”; however, capitalized when full designation is used, such as Associate of Arts or Associate of Science.


bachelor’s degree - Not capitalized, however, capitalized when using full designation i.e., Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Note the use of the apostrophe.


Black - Capitalized when referring to the descendents of the African diaspora. Updated in the AP Stylebook June 19, 2020.


data - While normally used as a collective noun in journalism, however, pluralizing the term is highly encouraged in science and academia. “Data point” is an acceptable alternative.


dean’s list - Not capitalized.


dining hall - Preferred term over “cafeteria” or “caf.”


doctorate/doctoral - The noun has neither an apostrophe nor an “s.” Doctoral is an adjective. The following are doctoral designations including medical degrees. Each designation is “Doctor of.”


Audiology | Au.D.

Arts | Art.D. or D.A.

Business Administration | D.B.A.

Chiropractic | D.C.

Dental Medicine or Medical Dentistry | D.M.D.

Dental Surgery | D.D.S.

Divinity | D.D.

Education | Ed.D.

Health Administration | D.H.A.

Health Science | D.H.Sc.

Humane Letters | L.H.D.

Jurisprudence | J.D.

Laws | LL.D.

Library Science | D.L.S.

Medicine | M.D.

Music | Mus.D. or D.M.

Musical Arts | D.M.A.

Naturopathic Medicine | N.D.

Nursing (Science in) | D.S.N.

Nursing Practice | D.N.P.

Optometry | O.D.

Osteopathic Medicine | D.O.

Pharmacy | Pharm.D.

Philosophy | Ph.D.

Physical Therapy | D.P.T.

Public Administration | D.P.A.

Public Health | D.P.H.

Science | D.Sc. or S.D.

Social Science | S.Sc.D.

Social Work | D.S.W.

Strategic Leadership | D.S.L.

Theology | Th.D.

Veterinary Medicine | D.V.M.


email - Only capitalize “e” at the beginning of a sentence, in a heading or on a form where other entries such as “Address” or “Phone” are capitalized; not hyphenated.


emeritus - Honorary title for a retired faculty member or administrator or a self-identified male professor.

emerita - Self-identified female professor or administrator.

emeriti - Plural for all professors or administrators.


faculty - Collective noun referring to the University’s entire teaching staff. For an individual, use faculty member.


full time - Only hyphenated when used as an adjective.


fundraising - One word, no hyphen, including “fundraise” and “fundraiser.”


homecoming - Not capitalized unless referring to a specific event i.e., the Dillard Homecoming 2020.


internet - No longer capitalized.


login/log in, log off - One word when used as a noun or adjective, two words when used as a verb.


Louisiana Board of Regents - Full name is used in first reference and following references may be noted as the board (singular) or the regents (plural). 


master's - Not capitalized, however, capitalized when using full designation such as Master of Science or Master of Arts. Note the apostrophe.


men’s - Preferred term when referring to male athletic teams; not “boys.”


part time - Only hyphenate when used as an adjective.


QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) - Establish by writing full name first, then use acronym.


residence halls - Preferred term over “dorms.”


theater - Spelling used except used as a proper noun, such as Dillard University Theatre.


web/webpage/website - Not capitalized, one word.


women’s - Preferred term when referring to female athletic teams; not “girls.”


work-study - Always hyphenate.




Bleu Devils - Dillard’s nickname or mascot mainly used for athletics, always capitalized. Women’s teams are the Lady Bleu Devils.


City of New Orleans - Capitalized when referring to the operational center, however, “city” is not capitalized when referring to a geographic location.


Commencement/commencement or Commencement Weekend - Capitalized when referring to the actual event or a specific year i.e., Commencement 2020; however, not capitalized in other instances.


Courtbouillon - The campus newspaper, no quotation marks.


Dillard Today - The University magazine, no quotation marks.


Founders Day - Used as a descriptive term as opposed to a possessive term, so Dillard does not require an apostrophe.


Gulf Coast Athletic Conference/conference - The athletic conference to which Dillard belongs. When referring to a conference, in general, do not capitalize.


Historically Black College or University/HBCU - Capitalization of each word is encouraged as the term is often used as a proper noun. 


Oaks, The - Shortened version of Avenue of the Oaks. 


State of Louisiana - Capitalized when referring to the operational center, however, state is not capitalized when referring to the geographic location. 


University - Capitalized when referring directly to Dillard, otherwise not capitalized.




Campus Facilities


Albert W. Dent Hall or Dent Hall

Alumni House

Camphor Hall

Campus Bookstore

General Plant Building

Gentilly Gardens

Hartzell Hall

Henson Hall

Howard House

Kearny Hall

Lawless Memorial Chapel

Michael & Shaun Jones Hall or Jones Hall (formerly DUICEF)

Professional Schools and Science Building or PSB

Rosenwald Hall

Samuel DuBois Cook Fine Arts Center or the Cook Center

Stern Hall

Student Union and Health Center or the Student Union

Will W. Alexander Library

Williams Hall


Colleges, Schools, Academic Programs, Centers and Co-Curricular Programs


Centers and Co-Curricular Programs

Center for Racial Justice

Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center

Pre-Health Program (may also be referred to as Dillard Pre-Health)

Pre-Law Program (may also be referred to as Dillard Pre-Law)

Ray Charles Program for African-American Material Culture


College of Arts and Sciences

School of Health and Wellness (formerly School of Public Health)

Health Science, B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Public Health, B.S.


School of Humanities

English, B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Film Studies, B.A.

Food Studies (minor)

Mass Communication, B.A.

Music, B.A.

Theatre Arts, B.A.

Visual Arts, B.A.


School of Social Sciences

Criminal Justice, B.A.

Political Science, B.A.

Psychology, B.A.

Social Work, B.A.

Urban Studies and Public Policy, B.A.


School of STEM (although not necessary, can be referred to as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

Biology, B.S.

Chemistry, B.S.

Computer Science, B.S.

Environmental Science (minor)

Mathematics and Actuarial Science, B.S.

Physics, B.S.


College of Business

School of Accounting and Financial Economics

Accounting, B.S.

Financial Economics, B.S.


School of Business Administration

Business Administration, B.S.


College of Nursing

Nursing, B.S.N. (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)


* Shortened versions of the academic programs may be presented as the following proper nouns:

Dillard Accounting

Dillard Biology

Dillard Business

Dillard Chemistry

Dillard Computer Science

Dillard Criminal Justice

Dillard English

Dillard Environmental Science

Dillard Film

Dillard Finance

Dillard Food Studies

Dillard Health Science

Dillard Mass Comm

Dillard Math

Dillard Music

Dillard Nursing

Dillard Physics

Dillard Poli Sci

Dillard Psychology

Dillard Public Health

Dillard Social Work

Dillard Theatre

Dillard Urban Studies or Dillard Public Policy

Dillard Visual Arts


University College


Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)

Daniel C. Thompson/Samuel DuBois Cook Honors Program

First-Year Experience (FYE)

Melton Foundation Fellows

Military Science (Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC)

Study Abroad Program


Editorial Calendar


Part of maintaining a strong brand is being topical. The following list consists of both observances that may be relevant to Dillard as well as University events in order of the fiscal/academic year.



National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month



Cross country season begins

Volleyball season begins

Black Philanthropy Month

Black Business Month



Gospel Music Heritage Month

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Preparedness Month

National Prostate Health Month



Basketball season begins

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Miscarriage Awareness Month

National Arts & Humanities Month

National Bullying Prevention Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Work and Family Month

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month



Founders Day Convocation


Academic Writing Month

COPD Awareness Month


National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

National Family Caregivers Month

National Prematurity Awareness Month



Holiday Choir Concert


Human Rights Day



Tennis season begins

Track and field season begins

Bleu Devil Classic (pending the GCAC schedule)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

National Mentoring Month

Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month



Bleu Devil Classic (pending the GCAC schedule)

American Heart Month

Black History Month



Honors Convocation

Spring Choir Concert

Women’s History Month

Youth Art Month



HBCU Day at the Capitol

Financial Literacy Month

Jazz Appreciation Month

Mathematics Awareness Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

National Poetry Month

National Volunteer Month

School Library Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month



Alumni Reunion Weekend


National Nurses Week (May 6-12)

National Nurses Day (May 6)

International Nurses Day (May 12)

GiveNOLA Day

ALS Awareness Month

Haitian Heritage Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Foster Care Month

National Stroke Awareness Month



Black Music Month

LGBT Pride Month

National Safety Month


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New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

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