University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Board of Regents Governance

Regent Policy

No. 9

Endowment and Program Naming Policy

1.  Introduction

Significant gifts to support the University of Washington offer an opportunity to appropriately recognize donors. This recognition may include the creation of permanently named endowment funds and/or named programs.

An endowment is a permanent fund established for a specific purpose. The principal of an endowed fund is invested to grow over time while the distributions it produces are used to support the endowment's purpose. Gifts for endowment are extremely valuable in enhancing the quality of the University of Washington's teaching, research, facilities, and student experience, since endowments provide perpetual funding for their intended purpose. They need to be regularly expended, and donors need to be acknowledged on a regular (at least annual) basis.

Because of their permanent nature, named endowments must be established with great care and sensitivity to the goals and needs of both the donors and the University. The minimum may vary by college or discipline between two price levels and may also be adjusted from time to time in proportion to changing costs. The University reserves the right to make final determinations in specific cases.

The endowment agreement (a document signed by the donors and appropriate academic and administrative leadership) drafted for a particular gift outlines the use and administration of that gift. Endowment gifts shall be invested in the Consolidated Endowment Fund (CEF) administered by the University. The investment, management, and expenditure of funds shall be in accordance with University policies and procedures.

The purposes of these naming criteria are to:

  • Provide guidance to prospective donors and to University staff about the desired size of a gift to attain a particular naming opportunity.

  • Promote uniform naming levels in all UW schools, colleges, programs, and campuses.

  • Ensure that permanent endowments are at sufficiently high levels to appropriately support the desired purposes.

  • Provide a mechanism for evaluating proposed major naming gifts through the appropriate channels.

2.  Types of Endowed Support

  A. Endowed Funds

Endowed funds offer donors the opportunity to give the University and departments maximum flexibility in enhancing their respective programs. Purposes for these funds may include: unrestricted or broadly-defined support, library collections, student travel, publications series, etc.

The minimum outright gift for support is as follows:

  Tier 1 Tier 2
Endowed Fund for Program Support $25,000 $25,000
Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Student


Endowed Fund for Graduate or Professional
  Student Support


Endowed Fund for Faculty Support $50,000 $50,000
Endowed Fund for Research Acceleration $100,000 $100,000

    Endowed funds are available for use by the designated unit. The appropriate administrative or academic leader shall be responsible for administering expenditures from the fund, consistent with the stated uses as defined in the endowment agreement.

  B. Scholarships and Fellowships

Endowed scholarships and fellowships offer donors the opportunity to make possible a university education for deserving students. Endowment agreements provide the vehicle for identifying the criteria by which students are selected.

Donors do not directly participate in the selection process, but will be notified of the selection.

The minimum outright gifts for various levels of student support are as follows:

Undergraduate Student Support Tier 1 Tier 2
Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship $100,000 $100,000
Endowed Distinguished Undergraduate



Graduate Student Support Tier 1 Tier 2
Endowed Graduate Fellowship $100,000 $250,000
Endowed Professional Student Scholarship $100,000 $250,000
Distinguished Endowed Graduate Fellowship $250,000 $500,000
Distinguished Endowed Professional Student



    1) Appointments and Criteria

The selection of scholarship and fellowship recipients should be consistent with donor intent as articulated in the endowment agreement. In determining the language for these agreements, the selection criteria should reflect information about students that is readily available from University records.

    2) Administration

University-wide scholarships shall be approved and signed by the Vice President and Vice Provost for Student Life. University-wide fellowships shall be approved and signed by the Dean of the Graduate School. Chancellors, deans, and vice presidents shall approve and sign unit-based scholarship and fellowship endowment agreements pertinent to their areas. The University official signing the agreement is responsible for ensuring that the expenditures are consistent with the endowment agreement.

  C. Chairs, Professorships, and Fellowships

The University of Washington seeks support for the creation of endowed chairs and professorships, which provide significant benefits in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty at the University. These endowed gifts greatly enrich support for the teaching and research activities of distinguished faculty and bring public recognition of their status.

Both chairs and professorships may be used to supplement the base salaries of faculty members. They also may provide professional support for the activities of faculty members appointed to the endowed position, including, but not restricted to, research assistance, travel, and staff support.

The minimum outright gifts for various levels of faculty support are as follows:

  Tier 1 Tier 2
Endowed Faculty Fellowship $100,000 $250,000
Endowed Professorship $500,000 $1,000,000
Endowed Chair $2,000,000 $3,000,000
Deanship Market Price

In addition, the University offers an opportunity to support faculty via a non-endowed vehicle, Term Professorships, where current use gifts approximately equal to the the payout from an Endowed Professorship are made for a term of three to five years.

    1) Appointments and Criteria

The regents of the University of Washington have delegated the authority to establish named endowed professorships and chairs to the Vice President for University Advancement, unless there is something unusual or special about the gift that would benefit from regental review.

Appointments to professorships and chairs involve appropriate levels of faculty advice. The appropriate chancellor or dean shall recommend a candidate to the Provost, who shall in turn recommend the candidate to the President for approval by the regents.

Donors do not directly participate in the selection process, but in the endowment agreement they may specify an academic area where the endowment should be focused. Donors will be notified of the appointment.

Depending on the wishes of the donor and the concurrence of the appropriate chancellor or dean and the Provost, a professorship or chair may be filled by a recipient for an indefinite period, subject to review at least every five years, or it may be a rotating professorship or chair for a shorter period of time.

The President shall assign University-wide professorships and chairs to the various academic disciplines and units at his or her discretion.

    2) Administration

Chancellors and deans shall be responsible for administering expenditures related to endowed professorships and chairs in accordance with University policies and procedures to assure that administration is consistent with the endowment agreement.

The designated field for an endowed professorship or chair may be specified to include academic departments and major sub-disciplines within a department, school, or college.

Distributions from the endowment shall support positions within the academic discipline specified by the donor at the time of acceptance of the gift so long as that discipline or area of study continues at the University. The endowment agreement shall permit appropriate alternative use of the distributions by the regents, upon the recommendation of the President, should the subject area of the professorship or chair cease to be consistent with the University's mission or its academic plan. Such alternative distribution shall be as closely related to the donor's original intent as is feasible.

In years when a professorship or chair is vacant, the administrator, as provided in the endowment agreement, may elect to:

      a) Return the endowment's annual distributions to the principal, or

      b) Designate the distributions for support of faculty and/or students in the field supported by the endowment.

  D. Schools, Colleges, and Programs

For gift-related naming opportunities, endowing a school, college, or program offers donors a premier opportunity to substantially benefit a particular unit of the University. Because naming represents an important event in the history of the institution, it requires an extraordinary gift. The endowment should generate a distribution that provides significant support to the annual operating budget of the entity named.

All naming actions shall be by action of the Board of Regents upon recommendation of the President.

In naming a school, college, or program, the regents, University President, Provost, and other administrators and advancement staff must be involved prior to reaching final agreement with a donor. (For naming of facilities, refer to the Board of Regents Governance, Regent Policy No. 6, "Facilities and Spaces Naming Policy.")

Naming actions shall not detract from the institution's values, dignity, integrity, or reputation, nor shall any such action create a conflict of interest or confer special privileges. In the event of changed circumstances, the University reserves the right on reasonable grounds to revise the form of or withdraw recognition in consultation with the donor when possible.

BR, July 18, 2003; RC, March 24, 2011; BR, November 17, 2011 [Effective July 1, 2012].