Editorial Style Guide

This guide answers questions specific to the University of Florida. Unless an exception is listed in the University of Florida style guide, the Associated Press Stylebook should be followed.

If there is an editorial question that is not addressed below, please contact the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing at brittany.alana@ufl.edu.

Our Name
The University of Florida is the institution’s official name and is used in all formal occasions and on first reference. On second and additional references, the use of  “Florida” is recommended. For further references for brevity and limitation of space, “UF” should be used. Do not capitalize common uses of university.

Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives. For example, the political science department or the Department of Political Science.
Avoid “of” when possible: the English department instead of the Department of English. Capitalize the full names of schools and major centers and institutes on first reference but not those of programs and curricula.

Addressing Academic Degrees
In a departure from AP style, do not use the term Dr. before a name. Instead, follow the name with degree abbreviations to establish academic credentials. Example: Mike Lauzardo, M.D., and Matthew LaVoie, Ph.D., were recognized for their accomplishments. Consult  “The Associated Press Stylebook” entry for how to properly use apostrophes (bachelor’s and master’s). For doctoral degrees, the preferred form is to say a person holds a doctorate and name the individual’s area of specialty. 

Academic Departments
Use lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives. For example, the political science department or the Department of Political Science. Avoid “of” when possible: the English department instead of the department of English. Capitalize the full names of schools and major centers and institutes on first reference but not those of programs and curricula. When using a list of schools or units together, lowercase. Example: Established with the schools of medicine, pharmacy and journalism and public health.

Academic Titles
As a standard, use The Associated Press Stylebook. Your college may have specific references to your college with regard to academic titles and use the AP Style Guide as a reference. Some helpful tips are:

  • Always check the accuracy of the academic title before publishing. This can easily be done with the college, department or unit’s communicator who will be able to share the most relevant information for that person. 
  • For example, a person teaching in a subject in contrast to a person who has knowledge of a subject: an instructor in mathematics versus a professor of computer science.
  • Do not assume any faculty member is a full professor. Check with the department if necessary. Sometimes titles reflecting recent appointments or promotions do not immediately appear in campus directories or websites.
  • Avoid preceding a name with a long title.

If formal titles are listed before the name, ensure that they are capitalized and spelled out preceding the name, such as President Kent Fuchs. Do capitalize and spell out formal titles when they come before a name, such as UF Mascot Albert Alligator. Be mindful to lowercase the title if it is after a name or used alone. See the AP Stylebook for a reference

Exceptions include the names of endowed professorships on first reference—preferably after the name of the faculty member. Capitalize all of the words in the proper title of the professorship. (Albert E. Gator, Abigail Adams Professor of Early American Studies)

Identify all alumni with the class year. Include graduate designations for alumni who did not earn undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida. Examples: Albert E. Gator ’70,  Alberta Gator ’84 (JD).

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 
Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on first reference. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on second reference.

Board of Governors
The Florida Board of Governors is a 17-member governing board that serves as the governing body for the State University System of Florida, which includes all public universities in the state of Florida. Use the full name on first reference; the board may be used on subsequent references.

Board of Trustees
The University of Florida Board of Trustees is the public body corporate of the university. It sets policy for the institution and serves as the institution’s legal owner and final authority. Use the full name on first reference; BOT may be used on subsequent references. 

Century Tower
Built in 1953 to honor UF alumni killed in the world wars, the tower takes its name from the fact that it was constructed during UF’s centennial year. The tower stands 156 feet tall.

Students who serve as official ambassadors for UF.

Classes, Courses
Lowercase when referring to courses and classes: I took a fine arts class and a business class. Uppercase if referring to a specific name of a class or the class uses a proper noun or numeral: I took Psychology 2000 and Spanish 1000.

On first reference, use the full name of all colleges or departments. Note colleges below who have donor names must retain their full names on all references unless noted otherwise. If the language becomes cumbersome, you can rephrase: “Their business classes” rather than “Their classes in the Warrington College of Business.”

  • Heavener School of Business 
  • Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
  • Fredric G. Levin College of Law — Second reference: law school or college, NOT Levin Law College, Holland Law Center or School of Law. Formerly College of Law. Note uncommon spelling of “Fredric.”
  • Warrington College of Business

UF’s colors are orange and blue.  It is acceptable to say “orange and blue.” It is not appropriate to reverse the order and say, “blue and orange.” 

This word often is added to formal titles to denote that individuals who have retired retain their rank or title. When used, place emeritus after the formal title, in keeping with the general practice of academic institutions: Professor Emeritus Samuel Eliot Morison, Dean Emeritus Ashanti Washington, or Samuel Eliot Morison, professor emeritus of history; Ashanti Washington, dean emeritus.

Florida Blue Key
Never FBK (except in headlines). Florida Blue Key is a leadership and service honorary. It was formed in 1923 to help organize the annual Homecoming celebration.

Florida Gators
Informally used, Gators may stand alone – Go Gators! We refer to all sports teams at the University of Florida as the Florida Gators not the UF Gators or UF Florida Gators. Gator Nation can be used informally to refer to all University of Florida graduates, staff, faculty and fans. 

Florida Museum of Natural History
Formerly known as the Florida State Museum. Use “the museum” on second reference. One of Florida’s three state museums, The museum was moved to Powell Hall on the west side of campus in 1999.

Sports drink invented in the mid-1960s by James Robert Cade, a UF nephrologist.


Grade point average: UF grade point averages are based on 4.0 scale, write out for news releases, abbreviation accepted internally.

Lowercase in reference to the fraternity and sorority system. 

Capitalize when referring to UF’s annual event.

Inter-Residence Hall Association
Use association or IRHA on second reference for internal publications.

Don’t capitalize when preceding a name. Ex: said interim President Albert E. Gator.

Competitive teams from different universities.

Competitive units within the confines of a single community or institution.

Land Grant
A land grant institution and member of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), UF was established thanks to the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862. This law encouraged states to create agricultural and mechanical arts universities. Today the land-grant mission is characterized by a problem-solving approach to research-based education paired with the broad dissemination of knowledge directly to the public via extension services and outreach programs.

Majors, Programs
Do NOT capitalize majors, programs, specializations or concentrations of study in news releases when they are not part of a designated degree: She received a Bachelor of Arts in history. She majored in economics.

National Collegiate Athletic Association
NCAA on second reference.

P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School
Part of the College of Education, K-12.

President, President’s Office
Capitalize if used as a reference to an official title: President Kent Fuchs. The president said he would attend.

Orientation program for entering first-year students given each year during summer terms A & B.

Never abbreviate. Lowercase before a name, but capitalize Professor Emeritus as a conferred title before a name: Professor Emeritus Susan Johnson. Do not continue in second reference unless part of a quotation.

Reitz Union
Use Reitz Union. Do not use J. Wayne Reitz Union.

Acceptable on first reference for Reserve Officer Training Corps. No periods.

Semester Names
Fall 2021, Spring 2022 or Summer B are common and accepted in higher education environments.

State University System
SUS on second reference. The 12 universities included in the State University System are:

  • Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee (FAMU)
  • Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton (FAU)
  • Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers (FGCU)
  • Florida International University in Miami (FIU)
  • Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland
  • Florida State University in Tallahassee (FSU)
  • New College of Florida in Sarasota
  • University of Central Florida in Orlando (UCF)
  • University of Florida in Gainesville (UF)
  • University of North Florida in Jacksonville (UNF)
  • University of South Florida in Tampa (USF)
  • University of West Florida in Pensacola (UWF)

Stephen C. O’ Connell Center
The official name is Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, use this on first reference. O’Connell Center on second reference. 

Student Descriptors
The gender-neutral terms “first-year student,” “second-year student,”  “third-year student,” and “fourth-year student” are preferred by the university administration for freshman, sophomore, junior and senior, respectively,  in all uses. 

Student Housing
Do not refer to student housing as dorms or dormitories. Use the proper name of each building. The descriptor “Residence Halls” can  be used when referring to undergraduate, non-greek, on-campus housing.  For graduate and family housing,  use the term, “UF graduate student and family living options.” 

University Athletic Association
UAA or the association on second reference.

University Police Department
UPD or police department on second reference.

UF Health
UF Health exists first and foremost as a brand signature and reflects the academic health center, which is composed of six health-related colleges in addition to centers, institutes, hospitals, physician practices, and other clinical programs and services. When referencing the collective academic health center, UF Health may be used in copy. Never abbreviate UF Health to UFH. 

  1. UF Health should be spelled out as University of Florida Health on first reference in text or body copy, and may be written as UF Health on subsequent references.
  2. When written as text or body copy, there always should be a space between UF and Health. Correct: UF Health. Incorrect: UFHealth.

For more on UF Health brand, visit: creativeservices.ufhealth.org/identity-standards/marketing-style-guide/

UF/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) has a branding initiative designed to market UF/IFAS statewide and support all the work faculty and staff do every day. Having a consistent identity and unified presence makes the UF/IFAS brand strong and recognizable. For more on UF/IFAS brand, visit: branding.ifas.ufl.edu/brand-guidelines/ 

Websites and URLs
If you are listing a website address on a printed document or in a digital space, do not use http:// or www. in front of the address. Examples of appropriate uses: ufl.edu and college.ufl.edu. The recommendation is to not use the http, but please check if your url functions without this.