Our college brand is all about how we present ourselves to the world, and part of that brand is our writing style. In general, all communications from the veterinary college will follow Virginia Tech’s University Style Guide, maintained by the Office of University Relations; however, several rules and usages common at VMCVM are not directly covered by the University Style Guide. In addition, some rules and usages covered by the University Style Guide bear repeating here because of their frequent use.


  • Our full name is Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, but in all but the most formal uses, we use Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • In news stories, use the college’s full name on first reference and “veterinary college” or “college” in subsequent references.
  • The informal abbreviation for the college, “VA-MD Vet Med” or "VMCVM" is also acceptable.
  • Never use “VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine” or “Virginia Tech College of Veterinary Medicine.”
  • “Virginia Tech veterinary college” is acceptable in some headlines for stories distributed by Virginia Tech News.


Academic titles

Titles preceding a personal name are capitalized. The title is lowercased when it stands alone or follows a personal name. As an exception, “University Distinguished Professor” is always capitalized in accordance with university style.
→ Right: Janet Testudo, associate professor of aquatic medicine, conducts research in College Park, Maryland.
→ Wrong: Steve Terrapin, Professor of Internal Medicine, is leading the research team.

Alumni degrees

When referencing Virginia Tech alumni and/or VMCVM alumni do not use parentheses and do not specify the undergraduate degree.
→ Right: Jeff Alexander '94, DVM '98, Ph.D. '15
→ Wrong:  Jeff Alexander (BS '94, DVM '98, Ph.D. '15)

Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center

The correct reference for the college’s campus in College Park, Maryland.

Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences

Capitalize in reference to the graduate program.


A hyphen is required only when used as a modifier.
→ Example: Jane Terrapin, who joined the college faculty in May, is board certified in radiology.
→ Example: A board-certified anesthesiologist, Joe Hokie is an alumnus of the Class of 1990.


Use the full name on first reference for the Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition and the Infectious Disease Research Facility. For subsequent mentions, abbreviate the names as “VMIA” and “IDRF,” respectively. Do not refer to building phases in communication with external audiences. 

comparative medicine

Refers to the study of human and animal medicine, especially diseases affecting different species; also see translational medicine, which is a distinct discipline.

Dean M. Daniel Givens

The dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is M. Daniel Givens. Less formal usage is Dan Givens. Never use Daniel Givens.


Used to refer to a doctor certified as a specialist by a board of examiners. The term is lowercased except when used as a title  preceding a personal name.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Capitalize in reference both to the program and to the degree, in keeping with “The AP Stylebook.” Although “DVM” is acceptable on subsequent references, it should only follow a name on business cards, email signatures, and letters.
→ Right: Joe Hokie earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
→ Right: Students in the college’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program receive a world-class education.
→ Wrong: Jane Williams, DVM, also spoke at the conference.

Duck Pond Drive

Do not use “Duckpond.”


In keeping with university style and in a departure from AP Style, the veterinary college does not use “Dr.” in reference to veterinarians, medical doctors, or other advanced degree holders.

Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center

Use the center’s full name on first reference. “Equine Medical Center” and “center” are acceptable on subsequent references.

Master of Public Health

Capitalize the full name in reference both to the program and to the degree. Although “MPH” is acceptable in subsequent references, it should only follow a name on business cards, email signatures, and letters.

One Health

Capitalize this term that refers to the collaborative movement of multiple disciplines to improve health for people, animals, and the environment. Do not use quotation marks, and do not hyphenate when used as an adjective.
→ Example: The veterinary college takes a One Health approach to veterinary education.

preventive medicine

Do not use “preventative” as an adjective.

student names

In articles and press releases, use name, hometown, and year for veterinary students, and name, hometown, and program/department for other graduate students. When identifying a student, lowercase the program name. Refer to veterinary students as first-, second-, third-, or fourth-year students, not freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
→ Example: Joe Hokie, of Blacksburg, Virginia, a second-year veterinary student
→ Example: Jane Terrapin, of College Park, Maryland, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical and veterinary sciences

translational medicine

Refers to efforts to turn life sciences discoveries in the laboratory into clinical solutions for animal or human patients; also see comparative medicine, which is a distinct discipline.


Only use when it clearly refers to a veterinarian, not a veteran. Due to the potential for confusion, its use should generally be avoided.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Use “teaching hospital” or “hospital” on subsequent references. Do not use “VTH” for external audiences. Please refer to “small animal services” and “large animal services” to describe the Small Animal Hospital and the Large Animal Hospital, respectively.
→ Example: The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s small animal services recently earned accreditation through the American Animal Hospital Association.

white coat ceremony

Refers to the college’s annual matriculation ceremony held at the beginning of the academic year. Do not capitalize or use quotation marks.

X.J. Meng

Do not spell out “Xiang-Jin.”
→ Example: University Distinguished Professor of Virology X.J. Meng