It is a tricky enterprise to establish an official editorial style for a college because an academic community generates such a bewilderment of publications—everything from admissions brochures to Web profiles to Commencement programs. And each publication makes its own distinctive demands of grammar, punctuation and overall style on the persons whose job it is to produce it.

The Editorial Style Guide is a resource for Calvin College faculty and staff, a navigational aid through the many style issues they face when producing their various publications, whether these be created with ink or pixels. For the person who has wondered, “Do we capitalize that?” the answer is here. To the person who has queried her or his co-worker thus, “Do we use the serial comma?” herein lies closure. To the individual who asks the question (either silently or aloud), “Is there an official Calvin College style guide?” this is it.

The Editorial Style Guide is not meant to be an authoritative source for style issues pertaining to academic publications. To resolve issues for academic papers, dissertations, journal articles and the like, please consult the latest edition of the MLA Handbook. And to resolve issues not covered in the Editorial Style Guide, please refer to the latest editions of The Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press Stylebook.

The Editorial Style Guide is not a document carved in stone. It is, rather, a living document, one that will require updates. As the college grows and its communications functions become more integrated, the style guide will be revisited—both in paper and online form—to improve its usability. We welcome queries and thoughts about revisions to the Editorial Style Guide. Please e-mail any questions or suggestions to

We hope this guide is a valuable resource for you as you work at communicating the Calvin story to a larger world.

Editorial Style Guide
Written by Myrna Anderson
Edited by Cara Kissling
Designed by Steve Barkema
Organized by Rachel Vandenbroek
2009 Calvin College office of communications and marketing