Tone Words

These five words should inform the tone and examples you select when creating content to promote the University.

Two students smile for a photo in front of the HB Crouse Hall mural

They are a distillation of more than 7,000 responses to the University’s branding survey, and help us communicate in a consistent manner that differentiates us from competitors and resonates with University stakeholders and external publics alike.

Skip toImpressiveConfidentMotivatedApproachableSocially-Aware


Having the power to excite attention, awe, or admiration

Intent behind word choice:

  • Breadth and depth of academics and experiences
  • Intelligent
  • Well-rounded

Supporting lines from “Who We Are” statement:

  • “150 years of history”
  • “nearly half of our students take part in a learning experience overseas”
  • “choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors”


Having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

Intent behind word choice:

  • Bold
  • Assured

Supporting lines from “Who We Are” statement:

  • “proudly selective, we take a chance on people who dream big”
  • “we get them ready for the world”
  • “we are a university of national stature and international opportunity”


Inspired by a desire to achieve something occurring for the reason specified

Intent behind word choice:

  • Driven

Supporting lines from “Who We Are” statement:

  • “students can customize their own academic experience by blending the foundational power of the liberal arts with the intense focus of our professional programs”
  • “we are a university with a culture of high exceptions for everyone—and with a tenacious work ethic to match”
  • “Syracuse is about enriching your life. It is where you come to cheer, to grow, to become the person you want to be.”


Easy to talk to or deal with

Intent behind word choice:

  • Inclusive
  • Friendly
  • Conversational
  • Not Elite

Supporting lines from “Who We Are” statement:

  • “feel part of one community”


Of, relating to, or characteristic of the experience, behavior, and interaction of persons forming groups

Intent behind word choice:

  • Thoughtful
  • Culturally minded

Supporting lines from “Who We Are” statement:

  • “we admire their ambition and support their education”
  • “proud commitment to veterans and their families”
  • “classroom spans the globe”
  • “more than a quarter million alumni in 162 countries; a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries” you want to be.”