Executive Policy Manual
EP09 – Facility Naming Policy
Revision Approved December 14, 2022
1.0 Policy and Purpose
4.0 Naming Principles and Criteria
5.0 Denial of Naming Request
6.0 Procedure for Requesting Named Facility
7.0 Temporary Names and Names to Indicate Function for Major and Minor Facilities
8.0 Name Change, Removal, or Revocation
10.0 Related Policies
11.0 Responsible Offices and Contact Information
Washington State University (WSU, University) acknowledges the importance of facilities naming in creating opportunities for philanthropy and corporate sponsorship, as well as honoring distinguished individuals who have contributed meaningfully to WSU. Naming must undergo a high level of consideration and due diligence to ensure the name is in the best interests of the University and comports with its mission, vision, and values.
This document sets forth the policy and procedures for requesting that a University facility be named after an individual, group of individuals, or organization. This policy also includes principles and criteria for naming WSU facilities, the process for assigning temporary names and names to indicate function, and the criteria and process for renaming or name removal.
This policy applies to the naming of University facilities (see definitions of major and minor facilities, below).
The policy does not apply to naming of academic programs and units, including colleges and departments, which are within the purview of the Office of the Provost; however, the Office of the Provost may utilize these procedures to assist with due diligence or additional process related to naming. All naming of major facilities, colleges, academic departments, and other major organizational units requires WSU Board of Regents approval (Board of Regents Policy Manual BOR2), except that the President or designee has authority to assign temporary names and names to indicate function.
Facility Names Committee (FNC). The presidential committee with exclusive authority under this policy to review proposals for naming a WSU facility and make recommendations to the President and the Board of Regents. The FNC is also available to provide information and guidance regarding the facility naming process and this policy.
Major Facilities. Buildings, building additions, roads, and significant open spaces and structures, including athletic facilities.
Minor Facilities. Spaces within major facilities, such as individual rooms, courtyards, or designated areas, or any facility that does not constitute a major facility, such as a gazebo, patio, or small structure. If it is unclear whether a facility is major or minor, the FNC decides.
Organization. An organized body with a particular purpose, such as a business, society, association, legal entity, or commercial or nonprofit venture.
To be eligible for naming a major or minor facility after an individual, group of individuals, or organization, one of the following criteria must be met:
- Service or Impact – Exceptional service and substantial positive impact upon WSU as member(s) of its faculty, staff, administration, or Board of Regents;
- Personal Achievement – Personal achievement of alumni or honorary alumni of highest distinction in an academic, professional, or public service role, including in the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion, while maintaining close ties with and providing significant support to the University;
- Charitable Gift – In the case of prospective naming arising from a charitable gift:
- Compliance with WSU Foundation protocols regarding named gifts, including meeting any minimum financial contribution levels; and
- An acceptable gift use agreement that subjects the gift to this policy and provides the criteria for name change, removal, or revocation, in accordance with section 8.1 below;
- Corporate Sponsorship – In the case of prospective naming arising from a corporate sponsorship:
- Compliance with WSU Office of Corporate Engagement protocols regarding naming, including meeting any minimum financial sponsorship levels; and
- Execution of a corporate sponsorship agreement that specifically incorporates this policy by reference.
A qualified corporate sponsorship involving only a naming opportunity is generally treated as a charitable gift and coordinated and led by the WSU Foundation, in consultation with WSU’s Office of Corporate Engagement. When it is unclear whether prospective naming is to be administered as a sponsorship or a gift, the Office of Corporate Engagement and the WSU Foundation confer to identify the primary office/entity responsible. If these efforts are unable to resolve the matter, then the University President decides.
Important! No discussion with prospective donors or sponsors regarding naming opportunities is to occur without prior consultation and agreement of the Vice President for Advancement, the Executive Director for Corporate Engagement (if corporate sponsorship is involved), the relevant campus chancellor, and the WSU President.
WSU reserves the right to deny a naming request when granting the request would be in violation of law or University policy. WSU also may deny a request for any reason when doing so is in the best interests of the University, including but not limited to when University, in its sole discretion, determines that the individual or organization has engaged in a pattern of behavior or has policies or practices that conflict with WSU’s mission, vision, and values, including values related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Failure to fulfill the terms of the applicable gift use agreement or sponsorship agreement also may result in denial of a naming request.The process for reversal or revocation of an established facility name is set forth in section 8.0 below.
6.1 Naming Requests–Contents
All facility naming requests are directed to the chair of the FNC. For temporary names and names to indicate function, see section 7.0. For all others, the request is to include the following:
- A cover memorandum setting forth the particulars of the naming request that includes the rationale for the naming, referring to principles and criteria in section 4.0 above;
- Supporting information about the individual(s) or organization for which the facility is to be named;
- For requests arising from a charitable gift, endorsement and certification from the Vice President for Advancement that the request complies with WSU Foundation protocols for named gifts, along with a copy of the proposed gift use agreement (draft is acceptable);
- For requests arising from a corporate sponsorship, endorsement and certification from the executive director for corporate engagement that the request complies with any naming protocols required by the WSU Office of Corporate Engagement, along with a copy of the proposed corporate sponsorship agreement (draft is acceptable);
- A letter of approval from the administrator of the unit responsible for the facility to be named or renamed;
- A letter of approval from the relevant campus chancellor; and
- Any other information that may be relevant to the request, including letters of support from faculty, staff, students, or alumni as appropriate. For honorific naming, a minimum of two letters of support is required.
6.2 FNC Action upon Receipt of Naming Request
Within 14 calendar days of receiving a request the chair of the FNC convenes the committee to consider the request. The committee then makes a recommendation to the President. The FNC may:
- Request additional information;
- Conduct additional due diligence as needed; and
- Take into consideration other factors, including but not limited to the equitable balance of facility names on the particular campus or system wide.
Requests may be handled by the FNC via e-mail, conference call, or other electronic means.
If more than 14 calendar days are needed to convene the committee, the FNC chair notifies the requester. Expedited processing may be requested from the FNC for good cause; however, all requests under this section (Section 6.0) require written approval of the President and, for major facilities, the Board of Regents.
6.3 Minor Facility
The FNC forwards its recommendation regarding a minor facility to the President. The FNC’s memorandum includes a brief explanation for its recommendation, proposed full name of the facility, proposed signage, and other supporting information. The President makes the decision and informs the FNC chair, who informs the requester, campus chancellor or designee, Vice President for Advancement, Executive Director for Corporate Engagement (if corporate sponsorship is involved), and other relevant University offices and officials.
6.4 Major Facility
The FNC’s recommendation regarding a major facility is forwarded to the President, who decides whether to accept the recommendation. When the FNC recommends accepting a name for a major facility, the memorandum includes a brief explanation for the recommendation with relevant supporting documentation, the proposed full name, and proposed signage. When the FNC recommends denial of a naming request, the FNC includes an explanation of the reason for the denial.
- If the President decides to deny the naming request, the President must inform the committee chair who in turn informs the requester, campus chancellor or designee, Vice President for Advancement, Executive Director for Corporate Engagement (if corporate sponsorship is involved), and other relevant University offices and officials.
If the President determines the naming request should be granted, the President forwards the recommendation and supporting materials to the WSU Board of Regents for approval, with notice to the FNC chair. The FNC chair in turn informs the requester, campus chancellor or designee, Vice President for Advancement, Executive Director for Corporate Engagement (if corporate sponsorship is involved), and other relevant University offices and officials.
If circumstances require the immediate closing of a gift or corporate sponsorship transaction, the President, after consultation with the chair of the Board of Regents, may authorize the gift use or corporate sponsorship agreement to reflect that the naming request has been approved conditioned on Board of Regents approval.
- If the Board of Regents approves the request, the President’s Office acknowledges the Regents’ action with a letter to the FNC chair, who informs the requester, campus chancellor or designee, Vice President for Advancement, Executive Director for Corporate Engagement (if corporate sponsorship is involved), and other relevant University offices and officials.
Proposals for temporary names and names to indicate function are forwarded to the FNC in the following situations:
- When a new facility is funded for design;
- When an existing facility with a functional name is assigned a new function;
- When a chancellor or designee or other University official is seeking Board of Regents approval for design or project budget for a new facility; and
- When an existing facility is vacated or assumes a new function.
The FNC also may also request that a campus chancellor or designee, or other University official, propose a temporary name or name to indicate function, if the FNC notes that a name assignment is needed.
Requests for temporary names or names to indicate function are accompanied by a letter of approval from the administrator responsible for the unit and the relevant campus chancellor. The FNC reviews the request and forwards its recommendation to the President. The FNC’s memorandum includes:
- A brief explanation;
- The proposed temporary name or name to indicate function;
- The anticipated duration of the name, if temporary (if known); and
- The proposed signage.
The President makes the decision and informs the FNC chair, who informs the requester, campus chancellor or designee, and other relevant University offices and officials.
Situations that may require renaming, name removal, or revocation include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The sponsorship or gift use agreement specifies a particular naming period that has expired;
- The donor or corporate sponsor has requested a change and the University agrees;
- The terms of the corporate sponsorship agreement or gift use agreement have not been fulfilled;
- The facility has been demolished, replaced, moved, sold, or substantially renovated. Naming rights do not usually extend beyond the normal life of the facility, and a new naming request must be submitted to the FNC for the replacement facility; or
- WSU has determined, in its sole discretion, that removing or revoking the name is in the best interests of the University, including but not limited to when the University determines that the individual or organization has engaged in a pattern of behavior or has policies or practices that constitute a significant breach of and conflict with WSU’s mission, vision, and values, including values related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. To consider removal of a name for these reasons, the circumstances must be exceptional, particularly when the individual or organization named is central to the University’s history.
Any request to rename a facility, or remove or revoke a name is to be directed to the FNC chair, with a copy to the campus chancellor, and include the following:
- Documentation pertaining to the original name, including the applicable gift use agreement or corporate sponsorship agreement, if available;
- A detailed explanation of the reason for removing the name, with reference to the criteria in section 8.1 above;
- Any other relevant information or documentation supporting the request;
- Explanation as to how the request complies with any naming protocols required by WSU’s Office of Corporate Engagement or the WSU Foundation, if applicable; and
- A proposal for a new name, if any, in accordance with section 6.0 above.
Upon receiving the request, within 14 calendar days the FNC chair convenes the committee to consider the request. The FNC may request any additional documentation needed to evaluate the request (e.g., written consent from interested third parties, or relevant court or corporate documents) and conduct additional due diligence. The committee then makes a recommendation to the President, with an explanation and supporting information. Requests may be handled by the committee via e-mail, conference call, or other electronic method. If more than 14 calendar days are needed to convene the committee, the FNC chair notifies the requester.
For minor facilities, the President has authority to grant or deny the request. For major facilities, the President has authority to deny the request; however, any renaming, or removal or revocation of a name of a major facility requires Board of Regents approval, except when the predetermined term of the name has expired or the named facility has been demolished, moved, sold, or substantially renovated.
If the University decides to rename a facility, WSU representatives make a good faith effort to inform, in advance, the original donor, corporate sponsor, honoree, and/or their immediate family, when reasonably possible. In its discretion, the University may recognize earlier donors, sponsors, or honorees through signage or otherwise in an appropriate alternative location.
Named colleges, departments, programs, centers, institutes, and other similar naming opportunities may be housed in facilities that are also named. In this case, the assigned name of the building appears on the building face and external sign, with named programs identified as dictated by the University’s signage standards.
- BPPM 20.42: Exterior Signage–WSU Pullman
- BPPM 20.43: Temporary Signage–WSU Pullman
- BPPM 30.73: WSU Pullman Campus Beautification and Recognition Program
- BPPM 30.74: Gift-Funded Capital Projects
For assistance regarding this policy, contact the following offices:
- Vice President for Finance and Administration; Contact Us
- WSU Foundation; telephone 509-335-6686; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office of Corporate Engagement; Contact Us