Naming University Facilities and Programs
To describe the process, guidelines, procedures, and criteria for naming or renaming university facilities, academic units, and programs, and any related groundbreaking and/or dedication ceremonies.
This policy covers all University buildings, auditoria, rooms, other structures, streets and public areas and University programs and academic programs at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Edwards, and Yoder Campuses and all of the University of Kansas Medical Center.
General policy for naming facilities is established by the Kansas Board of Regents (Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, II.E.13.).
General policy for naming academic units is established by the Kansas Board of Regents (Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, II.A.9.).
General policy for naming academic units and programs is established by the Kansas Board of Regents (Regents Policy and Procedures Manual, II.A.7.).
The authority to name other academic programs for an individual, individuals, or a business entity is the province of the Chancellor. The authority to re-name or remove the name of other academic programs also resides with the Chancellor. Any documentation used by the university or affiliate corporation for fund raising purposes shall clearly state that proposed names are subject to Chancellor approval and shall reserve to the Chancellor the right to remove any name bestowed upon the academic program. 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 the dissolution or merging of the academic unit.
1. Academic programs may be named for distinguished individuals who have made extraordinary contributions of a scholarly, professional, or public service nature related to the academic program, or for major donors to the unit.
2. Before forwarding a name to the Board or Chancellor for consideration, the university shall undertake a thorough degree of due diligence to avoid commercial influence, conflict of interest, and reputational and/or social justice concerns.
1. To name a degree, the Chancellor shall recommend an appropriate name to the Board’s Council of Chief Academic Officers (COCAO) for consideration after review by the Chancellor's Naming Advisory Committee (i.e., the entity established to oversee this policy). Upon approval, COCAO will forward the name to the Board’s President & CEO for approval. No public communication of a proposed nomination shall be made until the name is presented on a COCAO agenda.
2.To name other academic programs, the Chancellor makes a determination about the naming after review by the Chancellor's Naming Advisory Committee.
For all campuses of the University of Kansas, the Chancellor's Naming Advisory Committee reviews suggestions and makes recommendations to the Chancellor. Members of the Chancellor's Naming Advisory Committee are: the Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Economic Development (chair), the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs (KUMC), the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equirty and Inclusion (KUMC), the Director of Communications (KUMC), the Dean of the Edwards Campus, the Vice Chancellor for Research (KUL), the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, the President of the Alumni Association, the President of the Endowment Association, the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Executive Director of Jayhawk Community Partners, the University Architect, as well as one (1) faculty representative and one (1) student representative who are appointed annually by the chair.
On the University of Kansas Medical Center campuses, requests for the naming of buildings, facilities and programs may be submitted by faculty and staff members or academic units to the Faculty Assembly Steering Committee (FASC); or by students to the Student Governing Council Executive Committee (SGCEC) using the Naming University Facilities, Academic Units, and Programs Form. FASC/SGCEC recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive Vice Chancellor (EVC) for consideration. If deemed appropriate to bring forward for University naming consideration the EVC, as a member of the Naming Advisory Committee, will present the proposal to the Committee in accordance with the KU process.
The University of Kansas, 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 or renaming 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 nor is Board approval required to name academic programs other than degrees. However, the recommendations of the Chancellor's Naming Advisory Committee described in this policy 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 or renaming rests with the Board of Regents and/or the Chancellor, no public announcement of the naming/renaming 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 or renaming buildings, structures, streets, or other areas as well as naming academic units and programs.
1. All recommendations must be reviewed by the Naming Advisory Committee.
2. For the Lawrence, Edwards, and Yoder campuses, recommendations may be submitted to the committee using the Naming University Facilities, Academic Units, and Programs Form. KUMC recommendations will be submitted to the committee by the Executive Vice Chancellor using the same form.
3. The committee will seek additional information or recommendations from affected University units, as appropriate.
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 or renaming 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.
1. The following guidelines shall apply. See also the "Procedures and Criteria" section below.
- Major facilities may be named to honor:
- outstanding university service (faculty, administrators, and others),
- exemplary service to the greater community (statesmen, scientists, humanists),
- distinguished alumni,
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 Naming Advisory 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 someone other than a family member.
6. Academic Units and 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 requests to name academic units and degrees required approval by the Naming Advisory Committee, Chancellor, and Board of Regents. Requests to name academic programs other than degrees requrie approval by the Naming Advisory Committee and Chancellor.
7. Courses for academic credit may not be named after an individual, individuals, or an entity for any reason.
1. Procedures and criteria for considering a proposal to honor an individual in recognition of a gift
a. Final approval of a proposal to name a facility, academic unit, or degree program 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.
b. 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:
- 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/academic unit's/academic program's usefulness to the University.
- the urgency of need for the project, program, or unit for support funds for the project;
- the eminence of the individual whose name is proposed;
- the individual's history concerning issues of diversity, equity, inlcusion and belonging, and;
- 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
a. A proposed honoree shall have achieved great distinction in one or more of the following ways:
- 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);
- 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);
- 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).
b. 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;
- 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 within three years after the person's death.
3. Procedures and criteria for considering a proposal to name a facility, unit, or program in honor of a commercial donor
a. No unit shall approach any individual, corporate, or commercial entity when receipt of a contribution might be contingent upon naming a facility unless the Naming Advisory Committee has been consulted, has made a recommendation to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor has tentatively approved the recommendation.
b. Any proposal to name or re-name a facility, unit, or program in honor of an individual, corporate, or commercial entity must be in keeping with University policy and practice.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for projects and facilities 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 for facilities and projects are usually scheduled after the facility or project is complete. 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. Dedication ceremonies for the naming of academic units and programs are optional and held after formal approval has been granted by the Chancellor and the Board, where Board approval is required.
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 or emails) to the University community should go out two to three weeks before the event.
a. For facilities and projects, 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 Office of Facilities Planning and Development 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 and Economic Development 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.
b. For academic units and programs, invited guests usually include the honoree(s) and families and close friends, the Chancellor, the campus’ Executive Vice Chancellor, the dean or vice provost that houses the academic unit or program, and other representatives of the University (including the Endowment and Alumni Association, and student leaders). Other specially invited guests may include faculty and staff who are assigned to the academic unit or program. The Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Economic Development and the campus’ Executive Vice Chancellor should be consulted in developing the guest list.
Office of Public Affairs
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Room 230, Strong Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
11/30/2022: Corrected typo.
09/10/2021: Updated policy.
05/06/2021: Updated to include KU Medical Center and campuses.
11/09/2020: Revised to clarify practices and update titles, committee composition, and contact information.
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.
07/08/1996: Approved by the Chancellor July 8, 1996.