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Accepted Word Styles

The following word styles apply to William & Mary websites. A broader editorial guide for all communication platforms is available in the university brand guidelines.

When Referencing William & Mary
  • William & Mary (required first reference)
  • the university (preferred second reference)
  • W&M (most informal, use as second reference)
Do Not Use
  • WM
  • the College
  • William and Mary
  • College of William and Mary
  • College of William & Mary
  • The College of William and Mary
  • The College of William & Mary
Other W&M Accepted Word Styles
Arts & Sciences

Capitalize when referring to the group of academic units (also known as the Faculty of Arts & Sciences)

Class Year

Include a student’s or alumnus’ class year after their name.

  • Jon Stewart ’84
  • Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06

Capitalize departments when their proper names are used; do not capitalize when they are referred to informally.

  • example: Department of History, but history department
  • example: Office of Undergraduate Admission, but admission office
  • example: W&M Police, but police department
Historic Campus

Refers to the section of campus that includes the Wren Building, President’s House and Brafferton. Some refer to this area as Ancient Campus, but Historic Campus is preferred.

Public Ivy

Capitalized and in quotes on first reference (“Public Ivy”); lowercase, not in quotes on second references (public ivy).

  • Raymond A. Mason School of Business 
    • the business school is acceptable on second reference
    • housed in Alan B. Miller Hall (or Miller Hall on second reference)
  • William & Mary Law School
    • the law school is acceptable on second reference
    • avoid using Marshall-Wythe School of Law except in formal documents
  • William & Mary School of Education
    • the school of education is acceptable on second reference
  • William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science
    • VIMS is acceptable on second reference
    • the William & Mary School of Marine Science at VIMS is an acceptable first reference for internal audiences and some external stories when clear the subject of the article involves a connection to the School of Marine Science
    • always include "William & Mary" as part of first reference for either
Sunken Garden

Never plural.

Wren Building, the

Appropriate first-reference form used for all but the most formal references to the Sir Christopher Wren Building. The Wren is the oldest college building still standing in the United States.

General Styles
Avoid the Serial (or Oxford) Comma

The serial comma is not used unless preceded by a compound construct, or clarity demands it.

  • Example: red, white and blue
  • Example: pastrami, peanut butter and jelly, and turkey
Italicized Items
  • book titles
  • journal names
  • titles of movies
  • titles of television shows
Phone Numbers

When writing phone numbers, use the following style: 757-555-5555.

State vs. Commonwealth

The word state can be used when referring to Virginia (even though Virginia is a commonwealth).

Web Terminology

The words website, webpage and homepage are each one word, no capital (unless they are the first word in a sentence).