University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Board of Regents Governance

Regent Policy

No. 6




Facilities and Spaces Naming Policy



1.  General Guidelines for Naming Opportunities

The University of Washington recognizes the importance of naming opportunities for its buildings, outdoor and interior areas, spaces, features, and objects, and this document sets forth the University's naming guidelines. Naming actions shall not detract from the institution's values, dignity, integrity, or reputation, nor shall any such actions create a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, or confer special privileges.

2.  Buildings or Outdoor Areas or Spaces Naming Guidelines Final Approval by the Board of Regents

  A. Buildings or outdoor areas or spaces may be named for a person, or family, associated with the University community who has rendered distinguished service to the University or who has made a significant contribution to society, or for a donor to the University whose gifts represent a "substantial contribution" toward the project cost, provided that the individual or family or donor has a prominent relationship with the University and/or the region, with a positive image and demonstrated integrity. In the event of changed circumstances, the University reserves the right, on reasonable grounds, to revise the form of or withdraw recognition.

  B. Corporations or organizations are encouraged to be major donors to the University by recognizing with naming opportunities a person or family important to their success. Only in rare, exceptional situations will a building or outdoor area or space be named for a corporation or organization whose gifts represent a "substantial contribution" toward the project cost. The corporation or organization must have a prominent relationship with the University and/or the region, with a positive image and demonstrated integrity. In the event of changed circumstances, the University reserves the right, on reasonable grounds, to revise the form of or withdraw recognition.

  C. A "substantial contribution" is the target gift amount for naming that is set for each project as part of the Project Budget approved by the Board of Regents in the early stages of project development.

  D. Pledges for naming should be paid in full within five years of the commitment.

  E. Buildings named for an individual or family generally will either be termed "______ Hall"  (e.g. "William H. Gates Hall") or "______ Building" (e.g. "William H. Foege Building").

  F. The name will generally remain on the building or outdoor area or space for the life of the building, area, or space. If at some future time the building or outdoor area or space is replaced (which may include a major reconstruction that substantially changes the function or appearance of a building's interior and/or exterior), the use of the existing or a new name for the replacement facility will be subject to the approval of the Board of Regents pursuant to Section 4 below.

  G. In cases where a corporation or organization name is used, the number of years during which the building or outdoor area or space will be named may be limited, normally to a period not to exceed 25 years. The proposed number of years for naming the project will be identified when it is presented to the Board of Regents for approval. The gift agreement will specify the number of years during which the building or outdoor area or space will be named and it will include the clause that any name changes during that period will be at the University’s sole discretion, subject to approval by the Board of Regents.

  H. The name will appear on the building, appropriate signage as determined by the University, and University maps and other documents in University approved lettering.  No corporate logos will be permitted, except pursuant to Section 5 below.

3.  Interior Areas, Features, Objects or Spaces Final Approval by the President

  A. Interior areas, features, objects or spaces may be named for a person or family associated with the University community who has rendered distinguished service to the University or who has made a significant contribution to society, or for a major donor to the University whose gifts represent a substantial contribution toward the project cost or the purchase of the object, provided that the individual or family or benefactor has a prominent relationship with the University and/or the region, and he or she has a positive image and demonstrated integrity. 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.

  B. An interior area, feature, object or space may also be named for a corporation or organization whose gifts represent a "substantial contribution" toward the project cost or the purchase of the object. The corporation/organization must have a prominent relationship with the University and/or the region, with a positive image and demonstrated integrity. In the event of changed circumstances, the University reserves the right, on reasonable grounds, to revise the form of or withdraw recognition.

  C. Naming for a person, family, or benefactor of the University whose gift amounts to a "substantial contribution" to the project cost or purchase of an object must meet the following:
  • While the desired goal for a naming gift is the cost to provide and equip the area, feature, object or space (which may include an operating endowment), the target gift amount for naming will be set for each project in advance of soliciting donors in coordination with the Vice President for Advancement, who will obtain written authorization from the President on amounts specified. Interior areas, features, objects or spaces that are part of a total building fundraising campaign should be included as part of the Project Budget approved by the Board of Regents in the early stages of project development.

  • Pledges for naming should be paid in full within five years of the commitment.
  D. Approved names for interior areas, features, objects or spaces will generally not be exhibited on external building walls; the names will be located as close as possible to (and otherwise affiliated with) the funded interior areas, features, objects or spaces.

  E. In cases where the name of the corporation/organization is used, the gift agreement will specify the number of years for which the naming applies and will specify that any name changes during that period will be at the University's sole discretion. In cases where the name of an individual or family is used, the name will remain for the life of the area, feature, object or space with appropriate recognition as determined by the President if it is replaced.

4.  Approval Process

The President has final approval for naming interior areas, features, objects and spaces. Final decision to name buildings and outdoor areas and spaces rests with the Board of Regents, upon recommendation of the President. In situations in which a building may be named in recognition of a substantial contribution to the total project costs, the minimum contribution needed for naming and any limits imposed on the number of years it will be named will be specified as a part of the Project Budget approved or amended by the Board of Regents.

Each campus of the University of Washington, UW Bothell, UW Seattle, and UW Tacoma, is responsible for directly submitting to the Vice President for Advancement any request for approval of the naming of facilities, including but not limited to buildings, outdoor and indoor areas, features, objects or spaces, at their respective campuses. The UW Bothell and UW Tacoma will forward their recommendations through their respective chancellors to the Vice President for Advancement, who will forward them to the President. The UW Seattle will forward its recommendations from the Vice President for Advancement to the President.

Proposals for all naming opportunities will follow the approval process described in this Section 4 in order to obtain appropriate approvals before negotiating with a prospective donor for a naming gift and before offering recognition of an individual, family, corporation or organization. Discussions with individual, family, corporate, or other organizational donors who seek naming rights must be conducted with the understanding that the President (in the case of interior areas, features, objects or spaces) or the Board of Regents (in the case of buildings and outdoor areas or spaces) reserve final approval of the naming.

5.  Intercollegiate Athletics Facilities and Playing Fields Temporary Naming Rights Agreements

The University may enter into agreements with business entities to temporarily name intercollegiate athletics facilities or playing fields when the business entity makes a substantial contribution to the University's intercollegiate athletics program. A "substantial contribution" in this context means that facts and circumstances, including relevant market conditions, show that the business entity is making a substantial financial contribution to the University's intercollegiate athletics program. Any such agreements must be reviewed by Advancement working with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and will normally be for a fixed term of five years and not in excess of ten years. The term should be consistent with the contribution. Any agreement to temporarily name an interior feature, object or space must be approved by the President. An agreement to temporarily name an interior feature, object or space may include the right to place a sign or signs on the exterior of a building or an outdoor area; however, such right shall be approved by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the President. Any agreement to temporarily name buildings or outdoor spaces must be approved by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the President.

The logo of a business entity may be included on the name temporarily affixed to an interior feature, object, space, building or outdoor area if the logo is part of a unique design created in part for the purpose of acknowledging the relationship between the University and the business entity. Inclusion of a logo in a unique design on the name temporarily affixed to an interior feature, object or space shall be reviewed and approved by the President. Inclusion of a logo in a unique design on the name temporarily affixed to a building or outdoor area shall be approved by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the President.

This policy will apply to both new and existing interior areas, features, objects, spaces, buildings, and outdoor areas or spaces. No agreement shall detract from the institution's values, dignity, integrity, or reputation, nor shall it create a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, of interest or confer special privileges. The business entity shall have a prominent relationship with the University and/or the region, and have a positive image and demonstrated integrity. In the event of changed circumstances, the University reserves the right, on reasonable grounds, to revise the form of or withdraw recognition. In the event there are any inconsistencies or ambiguities between this policy and other University Naming Rights policies, this policy shall take precedence.

AI, March 1981; AI, September 14, 2000; BR, July 17, 2003; AI, April 26, 2006; BR, September 18, 2008; April 14, 2011; February 9, 2012.


For related information, see:

  • Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 1, Sections 8 and 9, "Gift Evaluation and Acceptance" and "Disposition of Gifts"
  • Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 3, "Gifts to the University"
  • Board of Regents Governance, Standing Orders, Chapter 4, "Advisory Committees, Commissions, and Boards"
  • Executive Order No. 37, "University of Washington Public Art Commission"
  • Executive Order No. 41, "Gifts to the University"
  • Administrative Order No. 5, "Delegated Authority for Gifts to the University"
  • Employment and Administrative Policies, Chapter 205, "Campus Art Policies"