Penn State - Administrative
Policy AD05 NAMING UNIVERSITY FACILITIES
Policy Steward: Vice President for Administration
To state the University's policy on naming University facilities
and academic units.
It is the policy of the University to name certain of its facilities (buildings,
parts of buildings, roads, and plazas)
and academic units (campuses, colleges, schools,
departments, centers and institutes), in honor of benefactors
(individuals, corporations, and private foundations), and persons
or other parties who
have made substantial contributions to the University or to education
The following guidelines apply:
- Ordinarily, University
facilities and academic units will not
be named for persons who are actively involved in or related to University
operations. This includes members of the faculty and staff, board of
trustees, advisory boards, legislators, and governmental officials.
facilities may be named for persons who have retired
from active employment with the University after a sufficient time
has elapsed from the date of the individual's retirement. This date
should be determined by the Facilities Naming Committee.
- When naming
University facilities for
corporations, the appropriateness of the corporate name in a public
context should be taken into consideration. If the name of a corporation
changes after a University facility is named for the corporation, the
name of the University facility would remain the same unless a change
is recommended by the Facilities Naming Committee in accordance with
this policy. Corporate names may not be used for academic units.
- When possible, building names should include
a designation of their primary function:
- Student living and dining quarters are designated as "halls" or
- Buildings occupied by laboratories are designated as
- Buildings primarily occupied by offices and classrooms are to be
- Special-use buildings may bear the name of that use separately or
in combination with a person's name; for example, McCoy Natatorium or Pattee
- Parts of a building or area may be named separately to recognize
benefactors who wish to underwrite the cost of the sub-unit or portion thereof,
or persons who have made substantial contributions to the University or to
education in general. In such cases, an appropriate plaque may be installed to
acknowledge the naming. In such cases where the actual naming of the sub-unit
may not be appropriate (individual faculty or staff office), an appropriate
plaque may be installed outside of the office to acknowledge the contribution
by the benefactor.
- A uniform system of external marking of buildings is to be used
University wide. These external markings should be approved by the Office of
Physical Plant. In instances where buildings are named for benefactors or
others, a plaque may be located in the lobby or other appropriate area of the
building giving the full name and brief identification of those honored.
- It is the general University policy to name buildings for benefactors
(or parties benefactors are seeking to honor) only with the required
minimum gift commitment of 50 percent of the cost of the funding needed
for new construction or major renovations. Such a gift commitment must be
payable over a five-year pledge term. This requirement
should be viewed as a guideline. The University President has authority
to make exceptions and recommend the naming action to the Board of Trustees
- Gifts made through an irrevocable deferred gift technique --
including, but not limited to a charitable remainder trust, pooled income fund,
charitable gift annuity, deferred pledge agreement (estate note), or contract
to make a will -- have special considerations as follows:
- Such gifts generally will not be accepted for the purpose of
naming new University buildings or parts of new buildings for which
contributions from private sources are needed for construction
- Ordinarily, such gifts may be accepted for the purpose of naming
existing University buildings, or parts of buildings, provided there is
no current need of funds for building renovations or expansion and that the
face value of the gift is at least 75 percent of the replacement value of the
- Such gifts shall be accepted for the purpose of naming existing
buildings, or parts of buildings, only if they are unrestricted.
When received, the gift may be used by the then current college/campus
chancellor for worthy priorities of the college/campus.
- It is the general policy of the University that roads, plazas, parts
of buildings, and other appropriate areas named after benefactors will
require the benefactor to contribute a predominant portion of the cost
of the road, plaza, or sub-unit. The amount required for such naming
will be determined by the President of the University upon the recommendation
of the Facilities Naming Committee.
- The duration of the benefactor's name association with any
building, or part of a building, be that benefactor an individual
or an organization, shall remain in place for the useful life of that
building, or part thereof so designated, subject to conditions set forth
in the Authority to Name section of this Policy. In the event that a building,
or any part thereof, named for a benefactor is removed or replaced
at the expiration of its useful life, the University shall not be obligated
to continue the name, nor shall it be obligated to name any new construction
intended to replace the building, or any part thereof, after the
benefactor. The University may seek other means to recognize the benefactor
after the useful life of the building.
- For substantial contributions, the University may, following
internal consultation and with the prior approval of the Board of
Trustees, name a University academic unit in honor of an individual.
The leadership of academic units may forward recommendations for
naming of such units to the University President for consideration and
subsequent recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
The administrative committee on naming University facilities advises and
makes recommendations to the President of the University on appropriate names
for specific buildings, parts of buildings, roads, and plazas at all University
locations. The committee is composed of the following members:
- Vice President for Administration, Chair of the Committee.
- Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.
- Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses
- Chair-Elect of the Council of Academic Deans.
- Chair of the University Faculty Senate.
- Associate Vice President for Physical Plant.
Communications with the committee should be through the Office
of the Senior Vice
President for Development and Alumni Relations.
Recommendations for naming a facility assigned to a specific academic
or administrative unit will normally originate from the administrative
officer of that particular unit. The committee will work closely with
the dean or administrative officer to ensure that recommendations reflect
University policy. In the case of facilities not assigned to specific units,
the committee may generate the initial recommendations, based on available
Committee recommendations to the President should conform to the
objectives outlined above. The committee shall keep a current list of
all existing buildings that are appropriate for naming, if accompanied
by a gift, deferred gift, or pledge commitment. This list should be reviewed
annually by the Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations
and other appropriate University officials.
After receiving the committee recommendation for naming parts of
buildings and plazas, the President of the University has the authority to
make the final decision on the naming opportunity and apprise the Board of
Trustees of his/her action.
In situations where parts of buildings and plazas may be funded by
gifts, final negotiation with potential benefactors should not take place
without first seeking the approval of the Facilities Naming Committee and the
President of the University. The President, through the committee, will charge
the appropriate administrative officer to negotiate with potential benefactors.
After receiving the committee's recommendations for naming buildings
and roads, the President makes final recommendations to the Board of
Trustees for consideration and action.
Under no circumstances should final negotiations take place between an
administrative officer of the University and a potential donor in naming a
building or road without first seeking the approval of the Facilities Naming
Committee and the President of the University.
If a building name is not forthcoming at the time the building has been
completed, and a name is needed for identification purposes, only a generic
name should be used, thus reserving the prerogative to bring forward a name
that meets the established criteria at a later date. Examples of such generic
names are: Oak Hall, Electrical Engineering East, Research West Building, North
Hall, University Library, Music Building, etc. Generic names may appear on the Board of Trustees consent agenda for approval.
In situations where a naming opportunity exists for an academic
unit, the President has the authority to make final recommendations
to the Board of Trustees for consideration and action.
The Board of Trustees shall have the authority to revoke the name
of a University facility or academic unit in the event that the benefactor
for whom the facility or academic unit was named:
- is later convicted of a felony; or
- engages in conduct which, in the sole discretion of the Board
of Trustees, is significantly detrimental to the reputation of the
benefactor, such that continued name association between such individual
and a University facility or academic unit would be contrary to the best
interests of the University.
If the benefactor is a corporation, the authority
to revoke the name of a University facility bearing such corporation's
name shall be exercisable by the Board of Trustees, upon recommendation
of the President, in the event that any of the officers or directors of
such corporation are later convicted of a felony or incur civil sanctions
in their capacity as officers or directors of such corporation, which crimes
or sanctions, in the sole discretion of the Board of Trustees, are significantly
detrimental to the reputation of the corporation, such that continued name
association between such corporation and a University facility would be
contrary to the best interests of the University. Prior to the approval
of a name revocation by the Board of Trustees as provided in this paragraph,
the University shall provide the benefactor, or a representative of the
benefactor, the opportunity to voluntarily relinquish the name from the
University facility or academic unit, as the case may be.
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.
Other Policies in this manual may also apply, especially;
FN03 - Substantiation, Disclosure, and
Accountability for the Receipt of Contributions from Non-Governmental Sources,
and the related Guideline,
FNG01 - Flow and Accountability of
Gifts and Grants from Non-Governmental Sources.
Effective Date: May 5, 2008
Date Approved: March 21, 2008
Date Published: May 2, 2008 (Editorial change- February 17, 2015)
Most recent changes:
- February 17, 2015 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- May 11, 2012 - Editorial change
in AUTHORITY TO NAME section, 5th paragraph; added last sentence to clarify particulars about the use of generic names on the Board of Trustees agenda.
- July 1, 2009 - Editorial change;
In POLICY IMPLEMENTATION section, "Associate to the President for Administration, Chair of the Committee” has been changed TO “Vice President for Administration, Chair of the Committee.”
- May 5, 2008 - Significant changes to the GENERAL, GUIDELINES, POLICY IMPLEMENTATION and AUTHORITY TO NAME sections, as approved by the Board of Trustees.
- May 1, 2007- Changes made in the POLICY IMPLEMENTATION section. "Vice
President for University Relations," has been changed to "Associate
to the President for Administration," and "Vice President for Development
and Alumni Relations" has been changed to "Senior Vice President
for Development and Alumni Relations."
- July 1, 2005- Editorial change in the POLICY IMPLEMENTATION section; the
title "Dean of the Commonwealth College" has been changed to "Vice
President for Commonwealth Campuses" to reflect administrative reorganization
changes, effective July 1, 2005.
- October 1, 2002- Title changes for committee members listed under the
section POLICY IMPLEMENTATION: "Vice President for Administration" is now "Vice
President for University Relations," and the "Assistant Vice President for
Physical Plant" is now "Associate Vice President for Physical Plant" and
is no longer designated the Secretary of the committee.
- May 16, 2001 - Under the guideline "Gifts made through an irrevocable
deferred gift technique," added the special provision that such gifts shall be
accepted for the purpose of naming existing buildings, or parts of buildings,
only if they are unrestricted. When received, the gift may be used by the then
current college/campus dean or chief executive for worthy priorities of the
- November 11, 1999 - Title changes and allowance for naming parts of
buildings under Guideline 7.
- January 27, 1998 -
- Updated position titles.
- Added guideline dealing with naming buildings, parts of
buildings, roads and plazas for corporations.
- Editorial changes.
- January 17, 1997 - Revised the required gift commitment for naming
buildings for benefactors. Added 'Cross References' section.
- October 17, 1994 - Changed title of 'Vice President for
Administration' to ' Senior Vice President for Administration."
- August 30, 1993 - Changed title of 'Chair of the Council of Academic
Deans' to 'Chair-Elect of the Council of Academic Deans.' Removed Ritenour
Building from the list of examples of special-use buildings that bear a
- May 13, 1992 - Changed ' Facilities Naming Committee' to
'Administrative Committee on Naming University Facilities.' Other editorial
- January 21, 1992 - Substantial changes involving naming of University
facilities (buildings, roads, and plazas), naming of sub-units of buildings,
system of external building marking, policy implementation, and the authority
to name. Added guideline for gift commitment levels for building named for
- September 20, 1990 - Added guideline for gifts made through an
irrevocable deferred gift technique.
- December 7, 1989 - Regarding the naming of sub-units or areas of a
building - excluded individual faculty and staff offices, and provided for
plaques for offices constructed or furnished with gift money.
- September 5, 1989 - Title of ' Senior Vice President for
Administration' changed to 'Vice President for Administration.'
- May 11, 1989 - Added the use of metallic, non-corrosive letters to
the system for external building markings. Changed title of 'Vice President for
Business and Operations' to 'Assistant Vice President for Business, Housing and
Food Services.' Changed VP for Development to Senior SP. Changed VP for
Commonwealth Educational System to Senior VP. Removed Vice President and
provost from naming committee.
- May 1987 - Editorial changes such as "he" to "he/she." Removed 5-year
waiting period for naming buildings after University-related persons. Added
guideline to refrain from naming after living persons. Removed guideline for
naming particular college or campus buildings after person who distinguished
themselves in the related work of that college or campus. Added Vice President
and Provost to naming committee. Added provision for committee to keep a list
of buildings available for naming. Where donor relations are sensitive,
president may seek concurrence from President and VP of the Board.
- March 8, 1985 - Removed provision for President making final
recommendations to the Board regarding the naming of building dub-units. Added
section "Authority to Name.'
- August 1, 1984 - Added provision to contact VP for Development for
guidelines regarding naming building sub-units and commemorative plaques. Other
- September 14, 1983 - Changed title of ' Provost of the University' to
' Executive VP and Provost of the University.'
- October 27, 1982 - Changed title of 'Assistant to the VP and Dean for
the Commonwealth Educational System' to 'VP and Dean for the Commonwealth
- August 10, 1982 - Changed title of 'Executive Director of the Office
of Gifts and Endowments' to 'Vice President for Development.'
- December 8, 1980 - New policy.