New Brand, New Look: Universities of Wisconsin

We have launched a new “Universities of Wisconsin” brand in place of “University of Wisconsin System” as the preferred way to describe our universities. This new brand reinforces the role our Universities of Wisconsin have in providing a network of opportunities to make a difference.

We have provided new Visual Identity elements (including a logo, mark, map, and fonts), as well as an updated Writing Style Guide, to support this new brand. Additional changes will be released as they are approved, and these pages will change frequently.

If you have questions, please email the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.


In addition to using the Brand Style Guide to provide a consistent look and feel of a website, document, or other communication tool, our Writing Guide will help you write with our unique voice and tone. You will find usage guidelines, such as correct capitalization, spelling, and abbreviations.

We generally follow the Associated Press (AP) Style for all written materials, with the following notable exception:

  • Oxford Comma – We use the Oxford comma (AP Style does not).

Voice and Tone

  • Write in a direct, conversational style.
  • Tailor your words to the intended audience.
  • Use crisp, active sentences to give more life to the written word; avoid using passive voice.
  • Spell out acronyms on first use. Don’t overuse acronyms.
  • Use short, simple words rather than large, complex ones.
  • Use the second-person voice rather than the third-person whenever possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

See answers to frequently asked questions related to the Universities of Wisconsin branding project, including the revised name for UW System Administration.

Read FAQ

Usage Guidelines

University Names

  • UW-Eau Claire
  • UW-Green Bay
  • UW-La Crosse
  • UW-Madison
  • UW-Milwaukee
  • UW Oshkosh (no hyphen)
  • UW-Parkside
  • UW-Platteville
  • UW-River Falls
  • UW-Stevens Point
  • UW-Stout
  • UW-Superior
  • UW-Whitewater

Full University Names

Use en-dash (–) instead a hyphen (-) or em-dash (—)

  • Correct: University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
  • Incorrect: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Incorrect: University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire

Word Choice

  • 13 public universities with campuses across the state (Use 13 universities rather than 13 campuses; some UW universities have multiple campuses)
  • Preferred language in most cases: universities (or UW universities) rather than institutions (or UW institutions)

Branch Campus Names

  • UW-Eau Claire – Barron County
  • UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus
  • UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus
  • UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus
  • UW-Milwaukee at Washington County
  • UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha
  • UW Oshkosh, Fond du Lac Campus
  • UW Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus
  • UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County
  • UW-Platteville Richland
  • UW-Stevens Point at Marshfield
  • UW-Stevens Point at Wausau (formerly UW-Marathon County)
  • UW-Whitewater at Rock County

Other UW Entities

  • UW Extended Campus
  • UW Flexible Option
  • UW-Shared Services (uses hyphen)
  • Universities of Wisconsin (formerly referred to as University of Wisconsin System or UW System)
  • Universities of Wisconsin Administration (formerly University of Wisconsin System Administration)

Universities of Wisconsin

Preferred first reference – use in the first reference of the collective of the 13 UW universities, what previously was called the University of Wisconsin System.

  • The Universities of Wisconsin offer countless opportunities.

Use in the formal titles of programs and initiatives.

  • Universities of Wisconsin PK-20 Initiative

UW universities, UWs, UWs’

Preferred second reference/abbreviation.

  • The Universities of Wisconsin initiative relies on many partners. Those partners include the UW universities that prepare teachers, administrators, and pupil services personnel.
  • The Universities of Wisconsin are promoting a new enrollment initiative. The UWs will begin their marketing and outreach this summer.
  • The Universities of Wisconsin have placed a special emphasis on student behavioral health. The UWs’ counseling and student health services and centers are at the forefront of prevention, early intervention, and treatment and care.

UW system (lower case ‘s’)

An acceptable use to describe the collective of the UW universities.

  • These Universities of Wisconsin initiatives inform strategic policies and programs throughout the UW system.

Universities of Wisconsin Administration (UWSA)

Use when referring to the organization of employees and offices. Previously known as University of Wisconsin System Administration.

  • The Universities of Wisconsin Administration Human Resources office is offering webinars on new benefits.
  • The UWSA Human Resources office will announce a new payroll schedule.

Legal Name: University of Wisconsin System

Our legal name remains “University of Wisconsin System.”

Circumstances in which the University of Wisconsin System should continue to be used include local, state, and federal court and administrative hearing filings and communications, all real estate documents, all contracts (including federal and state grants), Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), legal signature or other relevant delegations of authority, and formal correspondence with state and federal regulatory bodies.

Official documents such as diplomas will continue to use the official University of Wisconsin System name.

NOTE: The Office of Public Affairs & Communications will work with the Office of General Counsel to develop more comprehensive and detailed guidelines related to the legally required use of the University of Wisconsin System name.

Legal Name: Board of Regents

The Board of Regents will continue to use “University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.”

  • Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
  • University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
  • Karen Walsh, President of the University of Wisconsin System (or UW System) Board of Regents


First reference:

  • Jay Rothman, President of the Universities of Wisconsin
  • Jay Rothman, President, Universities of Wisconsin
  • Jay Rothman, Universities of Wisconsin President
  • Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman
  • Exception: Jay Rothman, President of the University of Wisconsin System, will be used where legally required by statute, rule, or policy.

Subject-Verb Agreement

  • The Universities of Wisconsin are…
  • The UWs are…
  • The UWs’ focus on…
  • The focus of the Universities of Wisconsin… (or the UWs)
  • The Universities of Wisconsin’s focus… (acceptable but not preferred)
  • The UW universities’ focus…


Capitalize Universities of Wisconsin and Universities of Wisconsin Administration (but, in most cases, do not capitalize “system” alone, “systemwide,” “university,” or “university system”)

Capitalize Board of Regents (but, in most cases, do not capitalize “the board” or “the regents”)

Capitalize schools within universities when using their proper names:

  • the School of Journalism & Mass Communication
  • the School of Nursing
  • the School of Engineering

But do not capitalize journalism (or journalism school), nursing, engineering, law, allied health, etc.

Capitalize departments within schools when using their proper names:

  • Department of Geography
  • Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Department of Biochemistry

But do not capitalize geography (or geography department), agricultural economics, biochemistry, history, linguistics, etc.

Capitalize divisions, offices, and departments within System Administration (Division of Finance & Administration, Office of Capital Planning & Budget, etc.)

  • Capitalize titles when used specifically in front of a name:
    • Acting President Katharine Lyall
    • Professor Howard Temin
    • Chancellor Karl Meyer
  • Or when followed by the full name of the institution: She is President of Radcliffe College.

But do not capitalize when these titles follow the name or stand alone within the text:

  • Katharine Lyall, acting president

Exception: In bylines to articles and in lists, capitalize titles whether or not they precede a person’s name.

  • By Edward M. Penson, Chancellor


Numbers one through nine are spelled out, while 10 and above are written as numerals.


When writing dates in text, do not use a superscript:

  • Correct: March 20, 2024
    Incorrect: March 20th, 2024
  • Correct: April 3, 2023
    Incorrect: April 3rd, 2023

When writing just the month and year, do not place a comma between them:

  • Correct: June 2020
    Incorrect: June, 2020


Use one space between sentences and after a colon within a sentence.

Common Word Usage & Spellings

  • 21st century (hyphenate if used as an adjective: 21st-century jobs)
  • campuswide
  • coursework
  • degrees: PhD, MA, MS, MD, associate degree
  • DoIT
  • EApp (as in EApp electronic application)
  • email
  • Internet
  • online
  • startup
  • statewide
  • systemwide
  • underrepresented
  • web page
  • website

Refer to the Associated Press Stylebook for additional guidance.