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People's names and titles


Dr. and Professor

Don't use these in writing before people's names, as a rule. Not all faculty members hold a doctoral degree, and not all hold the rank of full professor. Instead, use the styles below:

Jane Smith, Ph.D., biology

Jane Smith, biology faculty      Jane Smith (biology)

To authoritatively confirm a faculty member's official title and degree(s), contact that faculty member directly, or Cathy Thiele, assistant to the provost and academic dean. (The GO site [people tab] is a handy reference for current faculty job titles, but occasionally a posted title is out of date.)

Formal College communications occasionally use Dr. before a person's name—particularly when referring to speakers visiting the campus. We also occasionally use "Professor" (never "Prof.") as a courtesy title before the name of an established faculty member who does not have a Ph.D.

Our goal is to be courteous and appropriate, and these guidelines are flexible. They apply to the College's more formal written communications. They don't apply to the many forms of less formal writing that occur in the course of College life—departmental newsletters, on-campus posters, et al. When speaking, many of us routinely use "Dr." and "Professor" as titles, and these guidelines are not intended to criticize this.

First and second references

In a formal first reference to a faculty or staff member, use the person's formal first name and last name followed by degree (if applicable) and lowercased job title. If the individual routinely uses his or her middle name, include it. If the individual is widely known by a shortened name or nickname, include it in parentheses.

Valerie Gin, Ed.D., professor of kinesiology

If the faculty member holds an endowed chair, include and capitalize all honorifics.

Bruce Herman, M.F.A., Lothlórien Distinguished Chair of Visual Arts

In formal and informational College communications, use the person's last name only in references that follow. However, it's fine to use first names when that style better suits the tone of a feature article.

Spelling out and abbreviating academic degrees

When writing about one of the seven degrees the College grants, spell out the name of the degree on first reference and use the abbreviation thereafter. Lowercase the name of the academic program (e.g. Bachelor of Arts in psychology) Spell, space and abbreviate like this:

Bachelor of Arts / B.A.     Bachelor of Music / B.M.      Bachelor of Science / B.S.

Master of Arts / M.A.     Master of Education / M.Ed.    

Master of Music Education / M.M.E.     Master of Science / M.S.

In general reference to a type of degree, lowercase the name/level of the degree, and in some cases, use the possessive (not plural) form.

doctorate      master's degree      bachelor's degree    bachelor's in music  

In a sentence that mentions a degree earned by an individual, spell out and lowercase the name of the degree on first reference; abbreviate it thereafter.

Dr. Bird earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Auckland University, a Bachelor of Divinity from London University, a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, and a master's and doctorate from Harvard University. 


Some publications omit periods from the abbreviations of academic degrees. It is Gordon College style to include periods.

Capitalize the first letter of the abbreviation for each word the abbreviation represents, and follow each with a period. Don't space between them. Common abbreviations appear below; find others on the Internet, and adjust the style to match the guidelines above.









Emeritus versus retired

Refer to retired faculty in one of two ways. Sequence the words as shown below; do not capitalize or italicize.

Niles Logue, retired professor of economics and business
Russell Bishop, professor emeritus of history and Stephen Phillips Chair of History

Emeritus is the masculine form, emerita is the feminine form, and emeriti is the plural form of an official honorific. At Gordon the trustees confer these titles on faculty members who retire after 10 or more years of service at Gordon College. This occurs one year after the individual retires. A list of professors emeriti appears near the end of the academic catalog as the last subsection of the list of faculty; use the boldfaced Latin words above only in reference to individuals listed there.

Always refer to former members of the Board of Trustees as emeritus, emerita or emeriti.

James H. Roberts '66B, trustee emeritus


Capitalize and spell out in their entirety Gordon College job titles that precede names. If you wish to make an exception to the rule of thumb above and use "Professor" before a faculty member's name, spell it out, and omit the name of the academic department.

President Michael D. Hammond

Vice President for External Relations Rick Sweeney

Professor Elaine Phillips

Lowercase and spell out job titles that follow names or stand alone.

Michael D. Hammond, president of Gordon College

Rick Sweeney, vice president for external relations

Elaine Phillips, professor of biblical studies

An admissions counselor will present an overview of the application process.

Lowercase words that identify jobs, but are not official job titles.

groundskeeper      member of the design staff      librarian      lecturer    


Use a person's full name on first reference. Thereafter, in formal and informational College communications use the last name only. However, it's fine to use first names when that style better suits the tone of a feature article.


Use the style above, and on first reference, follow the name with the person's abbreviated class year, spaced, punctuated and abbreviated as shown below. For a Barrington alumnus, follow the year with a capital B (no space in between). To refer to an individual who spent just one year at Gordon or Barrington, follow the name with an abbreviation of that academic year, and precede it with a lowercase x. For graduates of Gordon's master's programs, use a capital M before the apostrophe and graduate year, with no spaces in between.

On this web page, the apostrophe before the class year appears as a "straight quote," but for other media type an apostrophe that is a "smart quote" —a curved single closing quotation mark that points to the left.

If an alumna's last name is different than it was at the time she attended Gordon, use the style shown below: position the class year after the person's "Gordon era last name" and then follow it with the last name she uses now. If a couple's names appear together in sequence, put parentheses around the wife's Gordon-era last name to make it clear this is not the name she uses at present as her surname; place their common last name after the husband's name only.

For Jessica Hansmeier '07, serving and working are wrapped in one package. Hansmeier moved to Palestine in August without a return ticket.

Odell Grooms '78B

Ruth-Marie Bratt x'49 Goff

Sasha (Massand) '01 and Dan Moen '04

Richard Smith M'15

Jordan Heckelmann ’15 M’18

Exception: In STILLPOINT Alumni Notes and in some Alumni Office communications, use first names on second/subsequent reference.


Daughter Hannah Charin to Sasha (Massand) '01 and Dan Moen '04, November 8, 2011. Dan is an active duty chaplain serving at Fort Drum, NY in the 10th Mountain Division.

When an alumnus also is the parent of a Gordon student (or more recent alumnus), add a capital P and the son or daughter's class year, in this format: 

Jon Tymann '83, P'12


Conventions for how to refer to a member of the clergy differ among denominations. If written communication from the individual is on hand or can be viewed online, let that be your guide. Consult on-campus sponsors about the correct title to use when writing about a member of the clergy who will be participating in a campus event.

Some denominations still use phrases such as the Most Reverend in clerical titles. On this point it is the College's policy to err on the side of respectfulness. Use the when the honorific is spelled out and the individual's full name is used; with abbreviations, or on second reference with the person's last name only,  it is not necessary. Consult the Chicago Manual of Style 8.29, 15.18, and 15.22 for additional style points regarding abbreviation, capitalization and word sequence.

Abbreviate some clergy titles before names; spell others out.

Rev.      Dr.      Pastor      Rabbi      Sister      Father 


The rules above apply. Capitalize Coach or Assistant Coach before a name (and any other major words in the coach's official job title if you wish to state it in full). Lowercase them when they follow a name. On subsequent references, use the person's last name only in College communications for a broad audience. Never refer to a person just as "Coach," except in a direct quotation. As a rule, Gordon communications do not include degrees after coaches' names.

Coach Peter Amadon      Peter Amadon, tennis coach       Amadon

Exception: In Gordon Athletics communications, second references may include the title.

Jr., Sr., III, IV

Don't use a comma between a name and Jr., Sr., III, and so on.

James Bartos Jr.

Mr., Ms. and other personal titles

In some formal College communications, it is appropriate to use a title before an individual's last name on second and subsequent references. Use abbreviations: Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss, Dr., Rev.

Ms. works for married and unmarried women. Some women prefer it; if possible, ask. If it’s not feasible to inquire about a woman’s preference, use Ms. It is the safest term to use when marital status is unknown (in the same way Mr. is used).


As a rule, trustee(s) is lowercased and Board of Trustees (Board on second reference) is capitalized. Use standard job title rules (see above) when listing a trustee’s specific role on the board. When referring to someone as a general member of the Board, do not use the word “trustee” itself as a title (e.g. Trustee Forkner). Use trustee members’ full names on first reference, and do not list degrees after trustee unless specified. 

trustee member Lisa Forkner     Board Chair Herman Smith

Herman Smith, chair of the Board of Trustees

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