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Naming University Facilities and Programs


To describe the process, guidelines, procedures and criteria for naming university facilities and programs, and any related groundbreaking and/or dedication ceremonies.

Applies to: 

This policy covers all University buildings, auditoria, rooms, other structures, streets and public areas and University programs at the University of Kansas, Lawrence Campus.

Policy Statement: 

General policy for naming facilities is established by the Kansas Board of Regents (See the Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, II.E.12.) It is as follows:

  1. Naming of Buildings
    1. Authority for Naming

      The naming of any state university building is the province of the Board of Regents. The authority to re-name or remove the name of any state university building also resides in the Board. Any documentation used by any state university or affiliate corporation of any state university for fundraising purposes shall clearly state that proposed names are subject to Board action, and shall reserve to the Board the right to remove any name bestowed upon a facility. Possible reasons for removal of a name include, but are not limited to, circumstances causing damage to the reputation of the university, change of law regarding naming authority, or if the building is razed or given over to a new use.

    2. Criteria
      1. Generally, buildings are named for distinguished individuals who have made extraordinary contributions of a scholarly, professional, or public service nature related to the university’s mission.
      2. In some cases, buildings may be named for major donors to the construction of the building.
      3. Before forwarding a name to the Board for consideration, the state university shall undertake a thorough degree of due diligence to avoid commercial influence or conflict of interest.
      4. Buildings will not be named for sitting presidents, chancellors or Board members.
    3. Process

      The chief executive officer of the state university shall recommend an appropriate name to the Board for consideration. At the time the agenda item is submitted, the name shall not be included; however, the state university shall send the proposed name and a brief narrative individually to Regents and the President and CEO at the same time the state university sends its agenda material requests to the Board office for the Board meeting at which the name is to be considered. No public communication of a proposed name shall be made until the name is presented for consideration to the open meeting of the Board.

  2. Naming of Academic Units

    Schools, Colleges, Institutes, Bureaus, Centers or other academic units shall be named for an individual, individuals or business entity by the Board upon the recommendation of the chief executive officer of the Regents institution and the committee of the whole considering items related to academic affairs. No public communication of a proposed name shall be made until the name is presented for consideration to the open meeting of the Committee on Academic Affairs.

  3. Policy for University of Kansas, Lawrence campus

    On the Lawrence campus of the University of Kansas, a Chancellor's advisory committee (the Building Names Committee) reviews suggestions and makes recommendations to the Chancellor. Members of the advisory committee are the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor (chair), the Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, the Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Edwards Campus, the Vice Chancellor for Research, the President of the Alumni Association, the President of the Endowment Association, the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and the University Architect.

    The University of Kansas, Lawrence, follows Board of Regents policy and has adopted the additional criteria and procedures that appear below. The University forwards to the Board of Regents suggestions for names of buildings, building additions, or academic units. Regents' approval is not required when streets, auditoria, rooms, courtyards, or similar areas are to be named in honor of individuals. However, the recommendations of the naming committees described below and the Chancellor’s approval are required. Additionally, in Lawrence, names for University streets must be submitted to the City of Lawrence for inclusion on the city map.

    Because the final authority for approving names rests with the Board of Regents and/or the Chancellor, no public announcement of the naming may be made until Regents' approval has been granted, or in instances where the Regents approval is not necessary, the Chancellor has granted written approval.

    The following process and guidelines will be used for naming buildings, structures, streets, or other areas.

    1. Process Overview
      1. All recommendations must be reviewed by the Building Names Committee.
      2. Recommendations may be forwarded through administrative channels or may be submitted directly to the committee by individuals or groups.
      3. In the latter case, the committee will seek additional information or recommendations from appropriate affected University units.
      4. The committee will make recommendations to the Chancellor.
      5. If the Chancellor concurs, the Chancellor will forward the recommendations to the Board of Regents, if the Regents' policy so requires. Street names, once approved by the Chancellor, will be submitted to the City.
      6. No public announcement of the naming may be made until Regents' approval has been granted, or in instances where the Regents approval is not necessary, the Chancellor has granted written approval.
    2. Guidelines

      The following guidelines shall apply. See also the "Procedures and Criteria" section below.

      1. Major facilities may be named to honor
        1. outstanding university service (faculty, administrators, and others),
        2. exemplary service to the greater community (statesmen, scientists, humanists),
        3. distinguished alumni,
        4. donors.
      2. Unless a decision is made to name a new facility in honor of someone, a generic or descriptive name shall be assigned initially, e.g., Art and Design Building.
      3. Normally, facilities will not be named in honor of political figures while they are in public office.
      4. Upon recommendation of the committee and with the approval of the Chancellor, plaques or tablets may be installed in buildings in recognition of distinguished members of the University faculty or staff whose services were identified with the functions of those buildings. (For example, several plaques in the rotunda of Strong Hall commemorate the contributions of faculty members, most of whom served the University in its early years.)
      5. Persons with records of honorable and long service to the University, a school, or a department may be recognized by the naming of auditoria, reading rooms, laboratories, observatories, lounges, theatres, conference rooms, walks, gardens, plazas, quadrangles, and similar interior and exterior spaces. The University may solicit suitable donations from the advocates of such recognition, particularly if the request comes from other than a family member.
      6. Academic Programs: To name a college, school, department or program generally will require a significant endowment that will generate resources to strengthen and build excellence in academic and research programs. All such naming requests require approval by the Chancellor and the Board of Regents.
    3. Procedures and Criteria
      1. Procedures and criteria for considering a proposal to honor an individual in recognition of a gift.
        1. Final approval of a proposal to name a facility in honor of a donor must come from the Kansas Board of Regents; however, in order to enhance negotiations with a prospective donor, tentative approval may be obtained from the Chancellor, who will recommend final approval to the Board of Regents.
        2. In reviewing requests for approval of naming a project for a donor or for a person whose name is proposed by a donor, consideration shall be given to:
          1. the significance of the proposed gift as it relates to the realization and/or success of the project or to the enhancement of the project's usefulness to the University.
          2. the urgency of need for the project or for support funds for the project;
          3. the eminence of the individual whose name is proposed; and
          4. the individual's relationship, if any, to the University.
      2. Procedures and criteria for considering a proposal to honor an individual when no gift is involved
        1. A proposed honoree shall have achieved great distinction in one or more of the following ways:
          1. while serving the University in an academic capacity, demonstrated such high scholarly distinction as to have earned a national or international reputation in the individual's field(s) of specialization (example: Higuchi Biosciences Center);
          2. while serving the University in an important administrative capacity, rendered distinguished service to the University warranting recognition of the individual's exceptional contributions to the welfare of the University (examples: facilities named after former chancellors);
          3. although not having served the University as an academician or administrator, contributed in truly exceptional ways to the welfare of the institution or achieved such unique distinction as to warrant recognition (example: Dolph Simons Center for Bioscience Research).
        2. If an individual has served the University in an academic or important administrative capacity, a proposal normally shall not be made for naming a major facility or project in honor of the individual;
          1. prior to or less than five years after retirement, nor while the individual is still involved with the University in a decision-making capacity; or
          2. within three years after the person's death.
      3. Procedures and criteria for considering a proposal to name a facility in honor of a commercial donor
        1. No unit shall approach any individual, corporate, or commercial entity when receipt of a contribution might be contingent upon naming a facility unless the Building Names Committee has been consulted, has made a recommendation to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor has tentatively approved the recommendation.
        2. Any proposal to name a facility in honor of an individual, corporate, or commercial entity must be in keeping with University policy and practice.
    4. Groundbreaking and Dedication Ceremonies
      1. Groundbreaking

        Groundbreaking ceremonies take place after the Board of Regents has formally approved the project, usually just before the contractor takes over the site. A ceremonial 'ground breaking' at an indoor site may be planned if the event must be scheduled after the contractor already has begun work, if inclement weather is anticipated, or if an indoor ceremony would be more comfortable for the honoree(s) and guests. A public reception usually follows; a private luncheon or dinner for the honoree and special guests also may be planned.

      2. Dedication ceremonies

        Dedication ceremonies usually are scheduled after the facility is complete and has been occupied. They are held on site and may include tours or demonstrations. As in the case of groundbreaking ceremonies, there is a public reception and usually a luncheon or dinner for special guests.

      3. Guest lists and scheduling

        In selecting a date and time, the University calendar and calendars of the honoree and principal participants should be consulted. Once a date has been chosen, all principal participants should be informed so that they can reserve the date. Formal invitations should be sent to off-campus guests one month before the ceremony; invitation cards to the University community should go out two to three weeks before the event.

        Invited guests usually include the honoree(s) and families and close friends, the Board of Regents, the President and Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Facilities of the Board, the Chancellor and other representatives of the University (including the Endowment and Alumni Association, and student leaders), representatives of the State Architect's Office and the project architect, the general contractor, and other major contractors. The staff in the Office of Design and Construction Management will provide a list of project architects, contractors, consultants, and others who should be invited. Other specially invited guests may include faculty and staff who will be housed in the facility.

        If the facility was financed with state funds, the Governor usually is invited, as are key members of the legislature (appropriations chairpersons, members of the local delegation, and others who played a role in securing the appropriation). In some cases, it may be appropriate to invite individuals who are no longer in office but who played instrumental roles in securing funding. The Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs should be consulted in developing the guest list.

        If the facility is funded from private sources, in addition to the donor(s) and family members, the guest list should include the Endowment Association Executive Committee and Endowment staff who have been involved in the project. Representatives of the Endowment Association and the Alumni Association should be consulted.


Linda Luckey
Chief of Staff
Dean's Office College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
University of Kansas
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., 200 Strong Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Monday, July 8, 1996
Effective on: 
Monday, July 8, 1996
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
naming, authority for naming, naming buildings, building naming, naming academic units, academic unit naming, groundbreaking, ground breaking, dedication, groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies, Board of Regents
Change History: 

05/03/2018: Updated contact information.
09/13/2016: Updated contact information.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
02/19/2016: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
12/17/2014: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
11/24/2014: Added link to Board of Regents Policy Manual (II.E.12).
07/10/2014: Technical edits - policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing); selected Lawrence for campus field; updated references to the Office of Research to reflect accurate title.
05/20/2013: Updated contact information.
05/09/2012: Updated Building Naming Committee membership titles.
06/28/2010: Updated to reflect a change in Board of Regents policy.
04/24/2008: Updated.
03/06/2003: Updated.
11/25/1996: Updated.
07/08/1996: Approved by the Chancellor July 8, 1996.

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