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UTB Style Guide 



The Office of Marketing and Communications developed the following style guidelines to ensure consistency for official communications, and it was later approved for use in all public campus communications by the UTB Executive Council.

This style guide helps the university present itself in a comprehensive and coordinated fashion, creating a unified message to all of our target audiences. Everything we write, publish and broadcast on behalf of the university affects the public perception of UTB. We must have consistency in our message and our image. The following guide provides us all with a common standard to follow.

This style guide was created by looking at historical usage at the university, UT System style, Associated Press style, local media style and examples at other UT System institutions. For questions on words and styles not addressed in this guide, please refer to the Merriam-Webster’s New World College Dictionary and the AP Stylebook.



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abbreviations and acronyms Abbreviations of degrees, time expressions and countries’ names take periods with no space between the elements: M.F.A., p.m., U.K., U.S. Acronyms for job titles and names of most organizations, centers, buildings, forms, tests and other objects are generally spelled without periods: CEO, CIA, SAT, TAAS, etc. Plural forms of acronyms receive an s and no apostrophe: She ordered two BLTs with avocado. Acronyms that spell out a word may be spelled with periods in special cases where it is essential for clarity, for example, C.A.M.P. in the all-caps headline GO TO C.A.M.P. FOR HELP.

academic degrees Use:

  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Doctorate
  • Doctoral degree
  • B.A., B.A.T., B.A.A.S., M.A., Ph.D., LL.D., M.D., Ed.D., etc.

Note: There’s no apostrophe for Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science. Official names of degrees and certificates are capitalized, but informal uses, such as a bachelor’s degree in physics and bachelor’s in physics, are lowercase. Bachelor of Arts in Physics would also be correct. English, Spanish and other languages are always uppercase, such as bachelor’s in English.

academic departments Capitalize if referring to a specific department or other academic unit by its full, proper name. Examples: the Department of History, the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Nursing. Otherwise, lowercase: the department, the college, the nursing school.

academic titles Capitalize official, academic titles whether before or after a name. Before a name, give a person only one title. Do not use phrases such as Dean of Liberal Arts and Professor of English Joe Smart. (A better alternative: Dean of Liberal Arts Joe Smart, who is also a Professor of English.) Do not use German academic style, Dr. Prof. Smartz.

Long titles are more readable when placed after a name: Dr. Joe Smart, Dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business. For Associate and Assistant Professors, Professor is acceptable for informal use, but the full, proper title is preferred.

addresses Only street, avenue and boulevard can be abbreviated but only with a specific numbered address. For example, 33 Oneway Ave., 666 Deadend St., 245 Boca Chica Blvd., but the 200 block of Boca Chica Boulevard. Never abbreviate drive, road, circle or court, even with a specific address. Abbreviate East (E.), West (W.), North (N.) and South (S.) with numbered addresses. For instance, 45 E. Chaparral St., but If you want to find the ice cream parlor, take a left on East Chaparral Street. (See states.)

adjunct Lowercase.

admission/admissions Use admissions to refer to the department or process: The Office of Admissions and Recruitment seeks applicants. The committee will review the admissions process. Use admission for other cases: He seeks admission to the university. Submit the admission form by March 1.

advisor The exception is for releases to news media. For those, use adviser.

affect, effect Affect, as a verb, means to influence: The game will affect the standings.

Affect, as a noun, is best avoided. It occasionally is used in psychology to describe an emotion, but there is no need for it in everyday language.

Effect, as a verb, means to cause: He will effect many changes in the company.

Effect, as a noun, means result: The effect was overwhelming. He miscalculated the effect of his actions. It was a law of little effect.

alumni This word construction is taken directly from its Latin origins. Therefore, the noun forms are gender specific:

  • Alumna: one woman
  • Alumnae: a group of women
  • Alumnus: one man
  • Alumni: a group of men or a group of men and women

It is rare to see the feminine plural form, alumnae. Most often the form alumni is used for any group of graduates.

The slang form of alumnus and alumna, alum, should not be used.

ampersand (&) (See symbols.) Use the ampersand when it is part of a company’s formal name: Procter & Gamble, Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway.

The ampersand should not otherwise be used in place of and.

The Art Gallery in Rusteberg Hall

associate degree (See academic degrees.)

athletic/athletics. Use athletics as the adjective or noun when referring to a program or field of study, athletic when referring prowess as an athlete. UTB has an excellent athletics program. Joe Power is an athletics instructor. He is an athletic person with well-developed muscles. 

audiovisual Not audio-visual.




bachelor’s degree (See academic degrees.)

Barnes & Noble The company that runs the university bookstore.

between/among Use between to show a relationship between two objects only. Use among when it’s more than two. 

bi- The rules in prefixes apply, but in general no hyphen. For example:

  • Bicultural
  • Bifocal
  • Bilateral
  • Bilingual
  • Bimonthly
  • Binational
  • Bipartisan

biannual/biennial Biannual is twice a year. Biennial is every two years.

Bravo Opera Company

Brownsville City Commission

Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau

Brownsville Navigation District The public entity that manages the Port of Brownsville. BND is acceptable on second reference.

Brownsville Urban System The city of Brownsville’s public transportation system. B.U.S. is acceptable on second reference.

building names See the official list of building names.

bullets (See lists.)

business cards Official business cards are available from Printing Services. Exceptions to the default business card style should be negotiated with the Office of Creative Services.

Only official university titles may be used. Official academic titles are composed of the person’s rank (Associate Professor) and specific discipline so as to read: Associate Professor of History. If they so choose, faculty and staff members may have their degree or certification listed next to their name (Henry Jones, Ph.D.).




Camille Lightner Center Named for Camille Lightner. Lightner Center is acceptable on second reference.

campus (See also, institutions

Cameron County Commissioners Court


capitalization Avoid using ALL CAPS in text because it connotes shouting.

Official names are capitalized; unofficial, informal, shortened or generic names are not. This rule applies to offices, buildings, schools, departments, programs, institutes, centers, etc. So, phrases such as the center, the institute or the new museum are not capitalized:

  • Office of Admissions and Office of the Registrar, admissions office, the registrar’s office
  • School of Business, the business school, the school
  • Center for Civic Engagement, the center
  • Criminal Justice Institute, the institute
  • UT System Board of Regents, the board of regents, the board

Lowercase university unless it is used as part of a formal name, even when referring specifically to The University of Texas at Brownsville. An exception is in the Handbook of Operating Procedures. When compiling H.O.P. documents, capitalize university.

Capitalize official names of bulletins, forms, conventions, conferences, symposia and the like:

  • Class Schedule, the Democratic National Convention

Capitalize the letters used for grades, as well as official grade names; do not put quotation marks around grades: A, B, C, D, F, S/F, I, Incomplete, Pass, a grade of B.

Names of official policies such as Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity should be capitalized; if the concept, rather than the official name, is being discussed, lowercase is appropriate.

Names of holidays other than recurring celebrations are usually capitalized; names of seasons, academic periods and onetime celebrations generally are not:

  • Thanksgiving, Commencement, Arts Week


  • registration, fall 2013, summer session, spring semester

For historical or documentary accuracy, follow the capitalization style of the original texts:

  • “I am happy that I may continue my own education during the Summer Session,” wrote a student in 1919.

Titles of individuals are only capitalized before names. (See titles.)

capital/Capitol Capitalize capitol when referring to a specific building housing a state’s government. Using Capitol building is redundant. The committee met in the Capitol to discuss capital expenditures. The Capitol is in Austin, but the capital of Texas is Austin.

Center of Excellence UT System-recognized centers of research at UTB. Plural Centers of Excellence. See the Centers of Excellence webpage for a complete list and descriptions.

century Lowercase when used with a number: 20th century, 21st century. Avoid using superscript letters.

Certificate of Proficiency (See academic degrees.)

Chess Team The proper name of the university chess team. Also, Chess Program.

chess titles The World Chess Federation recognizes the following titles and abbreviations:

  • Grandmaster (GM)
  • International Master (IM)
  • FIDE Master (FM)
  • Candidate Master (CM)

In writing about the Chess Team members, use the full titles in most cases rather than the abbreviations because the general public is not familiar with them. (See titles for other rules about title usage.)

citizens/residents Do not confuse citizens with residents. An individual can be a citizen of the United States or a citizen of Mexico but cannot be a citizen of Brownsville. Instead, they are Brownsville residents.

City Commission/City Council When used in reference to a specific city’s governing body, they are capitalized. Note: Brownsville’s form of government is referred to as a City Commission. 

colleges and schools. (See logos for the official shields.)


  • College of Applied Technology and General Studies
    (This is a historical name that is no longer active as of Jan. 2011.)
  • College of Biomedical Sciences and Health Professions
  • College of Education
    (This was formerly the School of Education.)
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Science, Mathematics and Technology
    (Always spell out mathematics.)
  • School of Business

The Collegian The university’s student newspaper.

colors The university’s official colors are orange, white and blue. The specific values for orange and blue are: 

PROCESS (c) 0 (m) 0 (y) 0 (k) 0
WEB (r) 225 (g) 225 (b) 225 #ffffff
PMS 1605
PROCESS (c) 0 (m) 56 (y) 100 (k) 30
WEB (r) 182 (g) 102 (b) 18 #b76712
PMS 2965
PROCESS (c) 100 (m) 38 (y) 0 (k) 64
WEB (r) 0 (g) 58 (b) 99 #002244

Please note that RGB values are only for web and screen viewing. For web design applications, use Hex values. For printing purposes, use Pantone or CMYK.

Commandant’s Quarters

commas Do not use the serial comma in a list of three or more items (the final comma before and, or, nor) unless the use of a comma prevents confusion or an element within the list requires its own conjunction:

  • Courses are offered in the spring, summer and fall semesters.


  • She’s taking classes in consumer health, nutrition and health, and human sexuality.

When the items in the series contain commas themselves, use semicolons between all of the items:

  • The letters in question are dated Aug. 7, 1991; June 20, 1992; and Nov. 1, 1995.
  • The company has plants in Naples, Fla.; Bellingham, Wash.; and Santa Rosa, Calif.

For numbers larger than 999, use a comma to mark off the thousands, millions, etc.:

  • 1,001 nights; 93,000 students

When they follow a person’s name, qualifiers such as Ph.D. and C.P.A. are preceded by a comma; a second comma follows the qualifier in running copy:

  • The opening remarks by Beth Michaels, M.A., set the tone.

However, do not set off Jr., Sr. or III with commas:

  • John Kennedy Jr.

Set off a geographical unit’s name with commas on both sides when it follows the name of a smaller geographical unit found within its borders:

  • Paris, Texas, is a small community.

The same holds true for a year, if a day of the month precedes it:

  • April 1, 2008, is not an official holiday.


  • She knew that April 2008 was the deadline for contest submissions.

Always set off a parenthetical (nonrestrictive) expression on both sides. In the following example, George W. Bush is parenthetical because it does not actually narrow down the meaning of U.S. president (the United States only has one president):

  • The U.S. President, George W. Bush, will be there.

When president is used as a personal title, no comma is called for:

  • President George W. Bush will be there.

The abbreviations e.g. and i.e. are always followed by a comma and are usually used in a parenthetical remark.

Commas appear after, not before, an expression in parentheses (like this), and they always go inside quotation marks:

  • “It’s time to leave,” he said.

Commencement This is the official graduation ceremony for a university. All references to this university’s ceremony should be capitalized, but when used in a generic way or referencing another university, lowercase is preferred. UTB's Commencement is Saturday. Most commencements have keynote speakers.

committee names Capitalize the names of committees. The Hurricane Committee will meet on Thursday.

components (See campus or institution.). This term is no longer acceptable. Use institution instead.

composition titles In general, composition titles should be in quotation marks. However, italics may be used instead with discretion, with special care used in web publications for readability.

Apply the guidelines listed here to book titles, computer game titles, movie titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, song titles, television program titles and the titles of lectures, speeches, and works of arts.

The guidelines, followed by a block of examples:

  • Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
  • Capitalize an article – the, a, an – or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
  • Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference material. In addition to catalogs, this category includes almanacs, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, gazetteers, handbooks and similar publications.
  • Do not use quotation marks around such software titles as WordPerfect or Windows.
  • Translate a foreign title into English unless a work is known to the American public by its foreign name. This is often the case in classical music programs.

Examples: “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Of Mice and Men,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Time After Time,” the NBC-TV “Today” program, the “CBS Evening News,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Reference Works: Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, Encyclopedia Britannica, Webster’s New World Dictionary, Handbook of Operating Procedures, UTB Style Guide.

Newspapers and Magazines: The Brownsville Herald, The Collegian, Texas Monthly, Orange & White

Foreign Works: Rousseau’s “War,” not Rousseau’s “La Guerre.” But: Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” and “The Magic Flute.” But: “Die Walkuere” and “Gotterdammerung” from Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelungen.”

continuous(ly)/continual(ly) Continuously means without interruption, unbroken; continual(ly) means again and again.

copyright Reproducing another person or organization’s written, visual, musical or other works without permission is prohibited by U.S. law. Reproducing trademarks or logos without permission is similarly prohibited. Any works created by a person or organization are automatically copyrighted, even without advertising them as such or filing a copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office. (This very style guide, for example, is “de facto copyrighted by UTB.)  “Fair use” of copyrighted material is far more restrictive than many believe. Therefore, to protect the university from legal action or loss of reputation, any writings, photos, logos or other materials by non-UTB people or organizations used in university publications, including the website, should have written permission from the creators obtained and kept on file. For legal clarification, contact Business Affairs. An excellent overview of copyright law is Stanford University's Copyright and Fair Use website.

Cortez Hall Named for Narciso Cortez.

courtesy titles (See academic titles and titles.) Refer to both men and women by first and last name: Eddie Woodard or Julie Smith. Use the courtesy titles Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. only in direct quotations or in this special situation: When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name, as in married couples or brothers and sisters, use the first and last name.

In cases where a person’s gender is not clear from the first name or from the story’s context, indicate the gender by using he or she in subsequent reference.

cross (See dagger.)




dagger () Used in lists for programs, for example, and denotes that the person is deceased: John Smith .

data This is a plural noun and normally takes plural verbs and pronouns.

Example: The data have been gathered. This sentence is referring to individual pieces of data.

Exception: When data is referred to as a unit, it becomes a collective noun and takes singular verbs and pronouns. The data is accurate.

dates (See months and year.) Always use Arabic figures without st, nd, rd or th.

day care Hyphenate when used as an adjective.

directions (north, south, east, west) If a region is commonly known, it is capitalized. Tyler is in East Texas. The UTB Campus is located in South Brownsville. Otherwise, do not capitalize. Austin is north of San Antonio. Drive south on Expressway 77/83 to get to the international bridge.

divisions Do not abbreviate any of these names:

  • Academic Affairs
  • Business Affairs
  • Information Technology Services
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Student Affairs

doctoral degree Doctorate is preferred as more succinct, and doctorate degree is not normally acceptable since doctorate is not a recognize adjective. (See academic degrees.)

Dr. (See titles.)




Education and Business Complex  Or EDBC on second reference is now named Main.

e.g., i.e. The abbreviation e.g. means for example. The abbreviation i.e. means that is or in other words. Always follow e.g. and i.e. with a comma. These abbreviations are sometimes not considered acceptable in formal writing, in which cases spelling out that is and for example is preferred

If used in a nonparenthetical situation, they are always spelled out:

  • List your favorite design programs (e.g., Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat).
  • The editor discouraged use of the serial comma, that is, the final comma in a series of objects.

email Has no hyphen. Capitalize when first word of sentence or bullet. Type out email addresses in lowercase: not

Enrollment Center @ The Tower The at symbol is part of the name. 

ensure/insure/assure Ensure means to guarantee. Insure means to establish a contract for insurance of some type. Assure means to convince. Ensure, insure and assure are interchangeable in many contexts where they indicate the making certain or inevitableness of an outcome, but insure sometimes stresses the taking of necessary measures beforehand, and assure distinctively implies the removal of doubt and suspense from a person’s mind.

ethnic designations Only hyphenate the following when used as adjectives: African American, Asian American, Mexican American, Cuban American, etc. Use non-Hispanic white rather than white in contexts in which there are also references to Hispanics, Latinos, etc. Note: Anglo is not a preferred term when referring to a non-Hispanic white. The term Anglo refers to people of English decent and is not inclusive of people of other European descent with ancestry from Spain, France, Poland, Netherlands, etc. (See nationalities.)




faculty Plural when referring to more than one teacher or professor. Many faculty were present. Faculty member is preferred for individuals. Dr. Jones is a faculty member. The policy was approved by a vote of the faculty.

figures When a text refers to numbered graphs or tables, capitalize and italicize in the text: Figure 1, Table 2b, etc.

fiscal year Abbreviated FY. Use FY only once when referring to a range of years. Example: FY 1996-2001 and not FY 1996-FY 2001.

flags They are lowered to half-staff, not half-mast.

fonts For printed university marketing materials, Vonnes is the approved university font, and Helvetica is the approved second choice. For general printed materials, university staff and faculty members may use any font, but keep in mind readability.

For web publications, refer to the web standards published by the Office of Web Communications.

foreign words, spellings As a general rule for proper nouns, transliterate into the English alphabet and use common English spellings where appropriate, such as Tecnológico de Monterrey to Tecnologico de Monterrey and Aleksandr to Alexander. Where it will aid the reader, consider translating proper nouns, such as Orquestra Simfònica del México to the Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. However, certain university buildings and groups have long-standing spellings using Spanish letters, such as El Gran Salón and Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán. Personal names should be spelled according to the preference of the individual.

Keep in mind that while people from this region usually understand Spanish letters, readers outside the region may not, and Americans as a whole may not understand accented Latin characters from other languages that use different sound rules.

Nonproper words should either be translated or given a translation on first use. The university has many "resacas," or oxbow lakes. As shown, they should also be placed in quotes or italicized as appropriate for the publication.

Spellings in non-Latin alphabets, such as Cyrillic or Kanji, should never be used.

freshman/freshmen The word, freshmen, is only used for the noun form when referring multiple students. For individuals and when used as an adjective, use freshman. More freshmen than ever are registered this spring. Joel Garcia is a freshman. Are you going to the freshman orientation.

full time/full-time Hyphenate as an adjective. Otherwise, two words. He is a full-time faculty member. He teaches full time. (See hyphens.)

fundraiser/fundraising Do not hyphenate.




Garza Gymnasium Acceptable for Manuel B. Garza Gymnasium.

gender-neutral language. Use plural form to both avoid awkward he or she constructions and preserve gender neutrality.

general revenue Lowercase. The budget includes general revenue appropriations.

Go-Green Assistance Center

Grammy The Recording Academy often spells the word GRAMMY on their marketing materials, but it is not an acronym, and most news agencies spell it Grammy.

Gran Salón/El Gran Salón A ballroom in the Student Union.

Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán




Hazlewood A Texas act that provides U.S. military veterans free tuition. Note the unconventional spelling.

headlines University press releases should have headlines in initial-cap title style.

health care Two words. Hyphenate as an adjective.

homepage One word, lowercase. This is an exception to Associated Press style.


Hopwood Italicize when referring to the court case.

hyphens Do not hyphenate adverbial phrases: Proofreaders are culturally elite people. Do hyphenate compounds used as adjectives before a noun: a far-reaching decision, a much-needed vacation, a thought-provoking article, a university-related program. Do not use two hyphens together as a dash (--).




institutions Always use the institution’s complete name on first reference and its official abbreviation (below) on second reference. In general, when referencing the 15 UT institutions collectively, use the term institutions and not components nor campuses. Second references can also be the university, the institution, the health science center, the medical branch, the health center, etc. (See also campus.)


(Less-formal abbreviations are in parenthesis.)

The University of Texas at Arlington

UT Arlington (UTA)

The University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin (never UTA)

The University of Texas at Brownsville

UT Brownsville (UTB)

The University of Texas at Dallas

UT Dallas (UTD)

The University of Texas at El Paso

UT El Paso (UTEP)

The University of Texas at San Antonio

UT San Antonio (UTSA)

The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler (also UTT)

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

UT Health Science Center-Houston (UTHSC-H or UTHSC-Houston). Never use UT Houston.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

UT Health Science Center-San Antonio (UTHSCSA, UTHSC-SA or UTHSC-San Antonio)

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler

UT Health Science Center-Tyler (UTHSCT, UTHSC-T or UTHSC-Tyler)

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (M. D. Anderson, UTMDA, Cancer Center or UTMDACC)

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

UT Medical Branch-Galveston (Medical Branch or UTMB)

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

UT Permian Basin (UTPB)

The University of Texas School of Public Health

UT School of Public Health (UTSPH)

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

UT Southwestern Medical Center-Dallas (Southwestern or UTSWMC)

The University of Texas System

UT System

The University of Texas System Board of Regents

UT System Board of Regents

The University of Texas-Pan American

UT Pan American (UTPA)


Internet Always capitalize.




judgment Not judgement.





Latin Jazz Ensemble

legislation Refer to bills as House Bill 1 or Senate Bill 1, or as H.B. 1 or S.B. 1 (periods but no space between the letters, then a space between the letters and the number). Use codifications after the legislative session, for example, Texas Government Code Section 41.44.

legislative Do not capitalize this adjective. That is a legislative matter.

Legislature Capitalize this noun in all references to a particular legislative body, such as the Texas Legislature, which can also be referred to as the Legislature. Do not capitalize legislature when it is used in a generic way: The lawmaking body in a democracy is called a legislature.

Life and Health Sciences Building LHSB is acceptable on second reference.


lists Use bullets for lists unless there is a sequence. Do not use ending punctuation unless the line is a complete sentence by itself. Begin all lines with a capital. Use a parallel structure in writing bullets.


We bought:

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears


There are many reasons to join:

  • You want to lose weight.
  • You want to look good.
  • You want to tone up.


Each semester, follow these steps:

  1. See your Advisor.
  2. Select your courses on UTB Online.
  3. Pay your tuition and fees at the Business Office.
  4. Buy your books.
  5. Go to class.

Logos The official logos shown below are for official institutional purposes only. Generally, the official logos are used on more formal publications, such as business cards and stationary. The promotional logos are generally preferred for most marketing publications, such as departmental brochures and posters. All of the following logos are copyrighted and licensed as official institutional trademarks by The University of Texas System. No other institutional graphic elements should be used except for those shown below. High-resolution digital copies of the files can be obtained from the Office of Creative Services website with a valid Scorpion domain login and password.

UTB Logos 

UTB College and School Banners  

In 1981, The University of Texas System Board of Regents adopted a policy that requires any person, group or corporation desiring to use UT trademarks to obtain approval for the proposed use and to sign a formal license agreement. For more information about trademarks or formal license agreements, visit the UT System webpage regarding trademarks.

Only those vendors who have license agreements with The University of Texas System may use the institution’s logos. The color logos should be used for web pages or full-color publications; the black-and-white logo should be used for black-and-white publications.

Do not modify these logos in any way! When sizing them to a smaller scale, use the grabber tool on any corner, not on any side!

Note: University logos are subject to approval by the board of regents because of the need to control representations of these marks in external publications and products. Control is exercised legally under copyright and trademarking statutes through the UT System Office of General Counsel’s Trademarking and Licensing division.

The Office of Marketing and Communication oversees the development of any logo or logo modifications of these marks by offices, colleges or other administrative units or individuals at UTB.

UTB Spirit Elements 

UTB Athletics Logos 


lowercase One word (noun, verb, adjective) when referring to the absence of capital letters. Originally from printers’ practice.

Lozano Banco Resaca




Main Previously known as the Education and Business Complex or EDBC. Do not use Main Hall or Main Building

maquiladora A foreign-owned manufacturing plant that assembles components for export. Maquila on second reference.

mariachi Name for both the group of musicians and the musicians themselves. Mariachi is the singular and plural form of the word to mean musicians but use mariachi groups to signify several groups of musicians.

Mariachi Ocelotetlán University mariachi group.

Mariachi Femenil Luna Azteca University mariachi group.

marshal/marshaled/marshaling/Marshall Marshal is the spelling for both the verb and the noun: Marilyn will marshal her forces. Erwin Rommel was a field marshal.

Marshall is used in proper names: George C. Marshall, John Marshall, the Marshall Islands.

Marimbalacrán A UTB musical ensemble dedicated to performing the traditional and popular marimba-band music of Mexico, Guatemala and the United States.

Master Chorale Capitalize when referring to the university’s group.

master’s degree (See academic degrees.)

master class These are classes taught by master musicians to less-experienced musicians or students of music. This unhyphenated spelling is from The Oxford Dictionary of Music.

mayor pro tem Does not include a hyphen. Capitalize before a name.

media In the sense of mass communication, such as magazines, newspapers, the news services, radio and television, the word is plural: The news media are resisting attempts to limit their freedom.

M.D. (See academic degrees.)

Mexican national Used to describe a citizen of Mexico.

Mexican states Always spell out names of Mexican states.

Mission Statement The official UTB mission statement is as follows:

The University of Texas at Brownsville draws upon the intersection of cultures and languages at the southern border and Gulf Coast of the United States to develop knowledgeable citizens and emerging leaders who are engaged in the civic life of their community. It embraces teaching excellence, active inquiry, lifelong learning, rigorous scholarship, and research in service to the common good. The University promotes the interdisciplinary search for new knowledge that advances social and physical well-being and economic development through commercialization, while honoring the creative and environmental heritage of its region.

months (See dates and years.) Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone or with a year alone.

When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.

Examples: January 2006 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8. Feb. 14, 2005, was the target date.

In tabular material, use these three-letter forms without a period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss (See courtesy titles.) Do not use, except in a quotation.

multicultural Do not hyphenate.

MyUTB The UTB online course environment. It is sometimes referred to as Blackboard, but this is a misnomer: Blackboard is the application platform, analogous to Word or PowerPoint.




names In general, use last names only on second reference.

When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name, as in married couples or brothers and sisters, use the first and last name. (See courtesy titles.)

In stories involving youngsters, generally refer to them by first name on second reference if they are 15 or younger. 

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics The national organization UTB athletics belongs to. Use on first reference; use NAIA on following references.

National Merit Scholarship, National Merit Scholars The National Merit Scholarship Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

nationalities (See ethnic designations.) Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, race, tribes, etc.: Arab, Arabic, African, American, Caucasian, Cherokee, Chinese (both singular and plural), Eskimo, (plural Eskimos), French Canadian, Gypsy (Gypsies), Hispanic, Japanese (singular and plural), Jew, Jewish, Latin, Mexican, Negro (Negroes), Nordic, Sioux, Swede, etc.

Lowercase black (noun or adjective), white, red, mulatto, etc.

NCO Quarters Formerly the Art Annex

No. Abbreviate and capitalize and use Arabic figures to indicate a position. No. 1, No. 10.

nonprofit Do not hyphenate.

North American Free Trade Agreement The full title on first reference. NAFTA is acceptable for second reference and after.




ocelot The official mascot of UTB. 

Officers’ Quarters

Old Cotton Compress 

on Often unnecessary. Not needed: The meeting is on Wednesday. Better: The meeting is Wednesday. But, use to separate proper nouns when appropriate: the Parade of Lights on Wednesday night.

One O’Clock Jazz Band (See Two O’Clock Jazz Band.)

online Do not hyphenate.

Orange & White Italicize the name of this official university publication.

Ozzie The official name of the university's mascot.




part time/part-time Hyphenate when used as an adjective. Sam has a part-time job. Sam works part time.

Patron of the Arts

percent Always use Arabic figures. 1 percent, 55 percent. Spell out the word and avoid using the symbol %. 

person/people Use person only in the singular form. Use people rather than persons for more than one.

Ph.D. (See academic degrees.)

phone numbers Use the last four digits (the desk extensions) with internal communications. Use the full phone number for external communications. Use hyphens rather than parentheses throughout the phone number. For example: 956-882-8231. This is a break from earlier style at the university to become consistent with web Accessibility standards.

postal permit University’s postal permit number is 333. 

postdoctoral Do not hyphenate.

postsecondary Do not hyphenate.

pre- Use hyphen with pre-law. But, generally, do not hyphenate unless there are two consecutive e’s in the word: pre-enrollment, preregistration.

Professor Emeritus, Professor Emerita Professor Emeritus is used for a retired male professor and Professor Emerita for a retired female professor.

Use Emeriti for a group made of both sexes.




Quran The preferred spelling for the Muslim holy book. Use the spelling Koran only if preferred by a specific organization or in a specific title or name.




Rancho del Cielo Field Station

Red River Athletic Conference The conference in which the UTB athletics program is a member. It is affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Use full name on first reference; use conference or the conference on following references.

regard No s is used. In regard to your letter dated Dec. 12.

Regional Academic Health Center RAHC is acceptable on second reference.

resaca Local term for an oxbow or finger lake, which is common to a river delta. Italicize or place in quotes as a non-English word. It is not known in the United States outside the Rio Grande Valley.

resident advisors Students who work in campus housing. RA is acceptable on second reference.

Rhodes Scholarship, Rhodes Scholar, Rhodes Scholars Rhodes Scholars are funded by the Rhodes Trust and selected in the United States by state and district committees.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Use full name on first reference, ROTC on following references.

resident (See citizen.)

rooms/room numbers

RSVP Do not write Please RSVP as the acronym comes from French words that translate as “reply please,” which would be redundant. 

runoff Used to refer to a runoff election.

Rusteberg Hall Acceptable for Fred Rusteberg Hall.




sabbatical A sabbatical is a temporary leave from work duties. Sabbatical leave is redundant.

Sabal Hall ​Previously known as University Boulevard Classroom Building or UBCB. 

salon/salón The correct English spelling does not have the accent mark, but some proper names for rooms at the university use the latter, Spanish spelling. (See foreign words, spellings.)

scholarships Uppercase when used with the full name of a scholarship: Keith A. Ferguson Scholarship Endowment for Criminal Justice.

school Lowercase except as part of a full formal name. School of Business. Lowercase when used informally with an academic discipline: nursing school, veterinary school.

semesters, seasons Lowercase academic periods and seasons of the year. She will graduate in the spring semester.



Spanish, words, names (See foreign words, spellings.)

Spring Break A student holiday typically taken in March. Capitalize.

staff Plural when referring to employees. Staff were present at the opening. Staff are working hard. Staff member is preferred for individuals. She is a staff member in our department.

states Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when they stand alone: Texas, South Dakota.

But, the state does not have to be used when referring to Texas towns: San Antonio, Abilene, South Padre Island, etc.

Note: Publications that may go outside of Texas should make sure the state is clear.

Use Associated Press abbreviations when used with the name of a city: Tulsa, Okla. But Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah are not abbreviated.

Use the two-letter Postal Service abbreviation only with full addresses, including ZIP code: 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, TX 78520.

The other states and their AP abbreviations (ZIP code abbreviations in parentheses) are:

  • Alabama: Ala. (AL)
  • Arizona: Ariz. (AZ)
  • Arkansas: Ark. (AR)
  • California: Calif. (CA)
  • Colorado: Colo. (CO)
  • Connecticut: Conn. (CT)
  • Delaware: Del. (DE)
  • Florida: Fla. (FL)
  • Georgia: Ga. (GA)
  • Illinois: Ill. (IL)
  • Indiana: Ind. (IN)
  • Kansas: Kan. (KS)
  • Kentucky: Ky. (KY)
  • Louisiana: La. (LA)
  • Maryland: Md. (MD)
  • Massachusetts: Mass. (MA)
  • Michigan: Mich. (MI)
  • Minnesota: Minn. (MN)
  • Mississippi: Miss. (MS)
  • Missouri: Mo. (MO)
  • Montana: Mont. (MT)
  • Nebraska: Neb. (NE)
  • Nevada: Nev. (NV)
  • New Hampshire: N.H. (NH)
  • New Jersey: N.J. (NJ)
  • New Mexico: N.M. (NM)
  • New York: N.Y. (NY)
  • North Carolina: N.C. (NC)
  • North Dakota: N.D. (ND)
  • Oklahoma: Okla. (OK)
  • Oregon: Ore. (OR)
  • Pennsylvania: Pa. (PA)
  • Rhode Island: R.I. (RI)
  • South Carolina: S.C. (SC)
  • South Dakota: S.D. (SD)
  • Tennessee: Tenn. (TN)
  • Vermont: Vt. (VT)
  • Virginia: Va. (VA)
  • Washington: Wash. (WA)
  • West Virginia: W.Va. (WV)
  • Wisconsin: Wis. (WI)
  • Wyoming: Wyo. (WY)

These are the ZIP code abbreviations for the eight states that are not abbreviated in above text: AK (Alaska), HI (Hawaii), ID (Idaho), IA (Iowa), ME (Maine), OH (Ohio), TX (Texas), UT (Utah). (See addresses.)


stationery Approved flyer, letterhead and other templates are available on the Office of Creative Services website. Otherwise, approved stationary can be ordered from Printing Services.

student-athlete Hyphenate to clarify that it’s a student who is also an athlete, not a person studying to be an athlete.

Student Union

symbols (%, @, ^, #) (See ampersand.) With the exception of an e-mail address, do not use %, @, ^, # and other symbols instead of words in body text. Spell the symbols out instead: percent, at, number.




Three O’Clock Ensemble A jazz ensemble.

times Use noon and midnight. It is redundant to write 12 noon or 12 midnight.

Use 8 a.m. or 8 o’clock.

Do not use 8:00 a.m. or eight a.m.

The time goes before dates: 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, at Scorpion Field.

Omit the comma when only the day of the week or numeric day is used: The volleyball match is at 3 p.m. Friday in Garza Gym. The volleyball match is at 3 p.m. Jan. 24 in Garza Gym.

Use hyphens in time ranges only when there is a numeral on either side of the hyphen: 8-10 a.m. but not 8 a.m.-10 p.m., rather 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

time element References to events should include the day of the week and date. Thursday, Jan. 3. Past events or those in the near future do not need the day of the week. Include the year if the date is different from the present.

titles (See also academic titles and Professor Emeritus, Professor Emerita.) Capitalize official, formal titles, even when not before a person's name, per common practice in academia. Note that this is not consistent with AP, APA, MLA and Chicago styles and most English grammars.

A formal title generally is one that denotes a scope of authority, professional activity or academic activity: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Pvt. Joe Jones.

See the courtesy titles entry for guidelines on when to use Miss, Mr., Mrs., Ms.

For formal copy, it is better to note a person's credential after their name rather than before, such as Juliet V. García, Ph.D., rather than Dr. Juliet V. García. Besides being more elegant, this helps the reader determine whether the person has a Ph.D., M.D. or Ed.D., for example. However, when a person has a doctorate or medical degree, it is acceptable to refer to that person with Dr. preceding the name on first reference. Dr. Juliet V. García, President of The University of Texas at Brownsville.

Note: Avoid using more than one title before a person’s name, such as President Dr. Juliet V. García.

Lowercase other titles that serve primarily as occupational descriptions: astronaut John Glenn, movie star John Wayne, peanut farmer Jimmy Carter.

The following titles are capitalized and abbreviated as shown when used before a name outside quotations: Dr., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., Sen. and military ranks. Spell out all except Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., when they are used in quotations.

toward No s is used in written American English.

Two O’Clock Ensemble High-level guitar ensemble.

Two O’Clock Jazz Band (See One O’Clock Jazz Band.)




undergraduate Undergraduates are freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Senior can be used for fourth- and fifth-year undergraduates.

under way Two words in virtually all uses: The project is under way. The naval maneuvers are under way.

One word only when used as an adjective before a noun in a nautical sense: an underway flotilla.

university Lowercase when not part of a proper name. This is a style rule of the university. (See capitalization.)

University Bell Uppercase when referring to the bell purchased at the establishment of the university as an autonomous institution. 

United States/U.S. United States is a proper noun; U.S. is an adjective.

We are U.S. citizens. I like living in the United States.

University Library Previously known as University Boulevard Library Building or UBLB. 

La Universidad de Texas en Brownsville Only use this name for the university in Spanish publications. UTB is acceptable on second reference. (See also The University of Texas at Brownsville.)

The University of Texas at Brownsville Use on full reference. Use UTB or the university on following references. (See also institutions and La Universidad de Texas en Brownsville for Spanish publications.)

For historical reference, the name of the institution has changed over the years:

  • From 1926-1931, it was The Junior College of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
  • From 1931-1949, it was Brownsville Junior College
  • From 1949-1992, it was Texas Southmost College
  • ​From 1992-2013, it was The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College
  • From 2013-present, it has been The University of Texas at Brownsville

The University of Texas System Use on first reference. Can use UT System on following references. (see institutions)

The University of Texas System Board of Regents Use on first reference. Can use board or regents on following references. (See institutions.)

University Scholars Program A UTB program for incoming Rio Grande Valley high school graduates who were in the top 10 percent of their class. Use full program name on first reference; the program or University Scholars can be used on following references.

university seal Use of university seals is reserved exclusively for official documents, such as resolutions, diplomas and transcripts. Individuals with questions about the use of the university seal should consult the Office of Creative Services. Final authority for decisions about the use of the university seal rests with the president or designee.

university-wide/campus-wide Hyphenate.

uppercase One word (noun, verb, adjective) when referring to the use of capital letters, in keeping with printers’ practice.

USA No periods in the abbreviated form for the United States of America. U.S. does have periods. The university’s World Wide Web address. Omit "www" on print publications.

UTB Online Separate the two words. Previously known as Scorpion Online.




Vice President Do not abbreviate. (See capitalization.)




web One word, lowercase. This is an exception to Associated Press style.

web addresses Can typically be put in their own paragraph at the end of writings to not bog down the writing and reading process. Do not use the http:// prefix with www. On second reference, web is acceptable. Use ending punctuation for sentences that end with web addresses.

web standards Visit the website for the Office of Web Communications for complete UTB web standards.

webpage One word, lowercase. This is an exception to Associated Press style.

website One word, lowercase. This is an exception to Associated Press style.


We'll Change Your Life The university's slogan for marketing material.

workforce, workplace





year (See dates and months.) Hyphenate first-year, second-year, third-year, fourth-year, etc. when used as an adjective. The first-year student went to the mall.

For years, use figure without commas: 1975. Use commas only with a month and day: Dec. 18, 1994, was a special day. Use an s without an apostrophe to indicate spans of decades or centuries: the 1890s, the 1800s.

Years are the lone exception to the general rule in numerals that a figure is not used to start a sentence: 1976 was a good year.


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