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Institutional NamingUA-06


Vice Presidents, Provost, Chancellors, Vice Provosts, Vice Chancellors, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, Development Officers, Finance and Facilities Staff.

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Policy Statement

1. Applicability

a) This policy applies to the naming of all permanent physical facilities and permanently established organizations of Indiana University for the purpose of commemorating persons, for administrative description, and for temporary or working use.

b) This policy does not apply to (i) the designation or announcement of the availability of organizations or facilities for naming (that is, naming opportunities); (ii) organizations or facilities that are intended to be temporary; or (iii) forms of individual recognition, such as faculty chairs, professorships, scholarships, fellowships, awards, and other individual honors.

c) This policy supersedes the Naming Policy for Buildings and Grounds dated June 2, 2006, and any amendments thereto.

2. Definitions

a) Objects of naming:

Facilities: all permanent physical structures, in whole or in part, including interior spaces of structures and exterior spaces, whether or not connected with a particular structure.

Organizations: all permanent units of organization, including schools, colleges, academic and non-academic departments, centers, institutes, offices, academic programs, and administrative and auxiliary units.

b) Types of facilities and organizations:

Major facility: any large or prominent facility. Examples include large or well known structures, academic buildings, facilities that receive frequent visits by the general public; prominent interior spaces, such as a main atrium or entrance, auditorium, library, the floor of a building, a playing surface; and prominent exterior spaces, such as a street, plaza, park, quadrangle, or open atrium. In case of doubt, a facility should be considered major.

Minor facility: a facility to which this policy applies and which is not major. Examples include small structures; facilities designed for service or incidental purposes or that are rarely visited by the general public; most interior spaces, including classrooms, offices, lounges, laboratories' physical space, and work spaces.

Major organization: any formally established, prominent academic unit of the University, including schools and colleges. Any organizational unit that must be approved by the Board of Trustees or by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a major organization. In case of doubt, an organization should be considered major.

Minor organization: a permanently established organization to which this policy applies and which is not major. Examples include most departments, centers, institutes, clinics, laboratories (as organizations), divisions, and administrative and auxiliary units.

c) Types of names:

Working name: a temporary name which will be replaced by a permanent administrative or commemorative name. Working names are typically used in the planning, development, and construction phases of a facility or organization.

Administrative name: a permanent name for a facility or organization, which is primarily descriptive or decorative. The name of an individual or corporate entity may not be considered an administrative name.

Commemorative name: the name of an individual person or persons which is assigned as a permanent name for a facility or organization.

Memorial name: a commemorative name for a facility or organization that recognizes an individual (or individuals) who has made extraordinary contributions to Indiana University, the state, the nation, or the world.

Benefactor name: a commemorative name for a facility or organization that recognizes substantial financial contributions by a donor or donors to the University.

d) Other definitions:

Permanent: expected to continue in existence for at least ten years or indefinitely. An administrative name is considered permanent even if it is hoped or expected that it will be replaced by a commemorative name.

Temporary: not permanent.

3. Authority for Naming

a) Authority for the naming of organizations and facilities within Indiana University rests with the Trustees of Indiana University upon the recommendation of the President of Indiana University, except for the areas specifically delegated to the President or other officers for final approval.

b) Final approval authority for the naming of organizations and facilities shall be assigned as follows:

Objects of Naming / Types of Names

Facility Major

Facility Minor

Organization Major

Organization Minor





Dean (or administrative head)






Commemorative Memorial





Commemorative Benefactor





Initial and intermediate approvals are stated elsewhere in this policy.

c) The officers (other than the President) who have approval authority or other responsibilities under this policy are those in existence as of the date of the original approval of this policy. The President may reassign the responsibilities of officers in the event of a reorganization.

d) The Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities shall annually provide to the Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees a list of all complete naming proposals received during the preceding year, the classification of each proposal (as major, administrative, etc.), and the current status of each proposal in the approval process. The first report will be submitted six months after adoption of this policy, and annually thereafter.

e) The criteria for naming in this policy constitute minimum standards that is, the criteria are necessary but not sufficient for approval. The Naming Committee, President, designated officers, and Board of Trustees retain full discretion to decline to recommend or adopt a naming proposal that otherwise appears to meet the criteria.

4. Working Names

a) Working names are temporary and will be replaced either upon the formal dedication of a facility or organization, or if there is no formal dedication, upon commencement of the operations of an organization or completion of a building.

b) Working names should be unique, short, and descriptive of the facility or organization being named.

c) The use of multiple working names for a single facility or organization is strictly to be avoided.

5. Administrative Names

a) Administrative names are intended to be permanent. They must be unique on the campus on
which the facility or organization is located, and where possible they should be unique within the
University. They should describe the use or purpose of an organization, facility, or exterior space
(e.g., Botany Greenhouse, Department of English); indicate a location (e.g., North Street Garage,
School of Law Indianapolis); or adopt some other neutral designation, such as the name of a
tree, flower, animal, or geographic or geologic feature (e.g., Meadow Lodge)

b) Administrative names should be dignified, appropriate for permanent use, suitable for the facility or organization, and where possible have some obvious relevance to the facility or organization.

6. Commemorative Names

a) The commemorative naming of organizations and facilities recognizes those who have made significant contributions in service, support, or honor of Indiana University. Such naming seeks to recognize the best Hoosier values and traditions, with a special emphasis on those who have been strong advocates of the pursuit of knowledge and the enhancement of higher education.

b) Major academic facilities and major academic organizations should be permanently named for individuals and not for corporate entities.

c) There are two categories of commemorative names:

i. Memorial Recognition

Memorial naming recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Indiana University, the state of Indiana, the nation, or the world, and whose lives and personal qualities deserve to be remembered and emulated. The individual or his or her contribution should usually have a relationship to the facility or organization being named.

To maintain the significance of the honor, the memorial naming of any facility or organization shall remain a rare method of honoring individuals. Other prestigious university honors should be considered before a memorial naming is proposed. Ordinarily, a memorial honoree would have previously received (including posthumously) such an honor, and there would be a compelling reason that the further recognition of a memorial naming is appropriate.

For memorial naming of major facilities and major organizations, a five-year waiting period shall be observed after the death of the individual before considering his or her name for such distinction, unless specifically approved by the Board of Trustees.

ii. Benefactor Recognition

Benefactor naming recognizes substantial financial contributions by donors to the university in accordance with applicable University and IU Foundation policies on the value of gifts. In determining the appropriateness of naming as benefactor recognition, the following factors may be considered, in addition to the personal qualities described above: the net present value of any and all gifts to Indiana University or the Indiana University Foundation from the donor to be honored, and, in particular, of the gift (if any) that motivates the naming; the appropriateness of associating the donor's name with Indiana University; and the donor's other contributions to the university, including volunteer activities, awards, assistance with other projects.

In no case will a benefactor naming be approved by the Trustees before the execution of a legally enforceable gift agreement.

A benefactor may ask the University to name a facility or organization for a person other than himself or herself or his or her immediate family, provided that the proposed individual exhibits the personal qualities described above, the individual's permission is obtained as required by this policy, and the individual is not otherwise disqualified from naming due paragraph (e) of this section.

d) A dossier (typically prepared by the proponent of the naming in the originating unit) which contains the information required by this section, appropriately verified, shall accompany all proposals for commemorative naming. The dossier shall also include the written permission of the individual to be named (or an appropriate representative, in the case of memorial naming) to use the name as proposed.

e) Major facilities and major organizations may not be named for public officials while they continue in office.

7. University Naming Committee and the Naming Advisory Council

a) As soon as practical after the adoption of this policy, the President shall appoint a University Naming Committee to advise the President concerning all names to which this policy applies. The President shall appoint a University vice president to chair the committee, and its membership shall include the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities, the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs, the President of the Indiana University Foundation, and others selected from among senior officers of the University with responsibility for legal, public affairs, facilities, financial, and academic affairs. The President may appoint additional members of the committee as needed to perform its duties.

b) The offices of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities and the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs shall jointly staff the committee and coordinate all aspects of the naming process.

c) All naming proposals that require approval by the President or the Board of Trustees must be presented first to the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities (for facilities) or the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (for organizations). If the appropriate vice president finds that the proposal and dossier are complete and appear to meet the relevant criteria, he or she may refer the proposal to the University Naming Committee. He or she may also seek additional information from the proponent of the naming or consult with the President or the chair of the University Naming Committee in determining whether to refer a proposal to the committee. The President, Provost, a chancellor, or a vice president may refer other naming proposals to the committee through this procedure.

d) The committee will be responsible for assuring that naming proposals have been thoroughly researched and that they meet the stated criteria, making recommendations to the President on naming proposals, and advising on naming policy and procedures, as needed. The committee may establish such subcommittees as it deems appropriate to carry out its duties and responsibilities. The committee will meet at the call of the chair.

e) The President may appoint a Naming Advisory Council to advise the President and the University Naming Committee concerning proposed naming requests and policies. The chair and members of the Council serve renewable one-year terms. The Council shall meet upon referral of a matter from the University Naming Committee or the President. The founding chair and members of the Naming Advisory Council will be the chair and membership of the All- University Committee on Names (as of the date of the adoption of this policy).

8. Removal of Names

a) When a facility or organization ceases to exist, the university will make every effort to continue to commemorate memorial or benefactor recognition in an appropriate way; however, the University will not usually transfer a name to another facility or organization.

b) The University reserves the right to withdraw a name under extraordinary circumstances when, based on information unavailable at the time of the naming, the continued use of the name would compromise the public trust and reflect adversely upon the University. In the case of a benefactor naming, the University may remove a name upon the failure of a financial commitment to be satisfied.

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Reason for Policy

The policy is established to provide for an orderly, coordinated, and informed practice of naming Indiana University facilities and organizations in such a manner as to ensure the appropriate recognition of the traditions of the institution, including the opportunity to honor and recognize its distinguished alumni, benefactors, and friends. Careful consideration must be given to associating any name with the excellence and reputation of Indiana University. Therefore, this policy is designed to ensure the proper vetting and consultation before making such decisions.

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1. Approval to Proceed for Commemorative Names

a) For the commemorative naming of major facilities and major organizations, all initial approaches to, or serious discussions with, a benefactor or representative of an individual to be memorialized must have the prior approval of the chief development officer of the University; the responsible provost, chancellor, or vice president; and the President.

b) The purpose of preliminary approval is to ensure that the contemplated naming is likely to be consistent with university and campus goals and priorities, with university and campus development plans, and with the terms of this policy. The approval to proceed permits the approach or discussions to begin and a proposal and dossier to be prepared; approval to proceed does not assure approval of the completed proposal and dossier.

c) Requests for the President's approval to proceed shall be routed through the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities (for facilities) or the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (for organizations). The request should contain sufficient information to reflect the approvals in paragraph (a) and address the purposes of paragraph (b).

2. Approval Process for Names Requiring Presidential or Trustee Approval

a) The University Naming Committee will only accept naming proposals from the provost, a chancellor, a vice president, the president of the IU Foundation, or the president of the university.

b) Proposals for benefactor naming will only be accepted from the chief development officer of the University.

c) A complete proposal includes a dossier that addresses and verifies all of the applicable criteria in this policy, including:

  • A precise description of the facility or organization to be named.

  • The exact name to be adopted.

  • The basis or reason for the naming; for commemorative names, why the proposed name is appropriate to the facility or organization.

  • A description of the due diligence that has been performed on an individual for whom the facility or organization is to be named.

  • For memorial naming, whether the five-year rule is applicable.

  • For commemorative names, whether the individual is currently a public official.

  • For benefactor names, analysis and approval by the IU Foundation. The Foundation's analysis should usually include consideration of the net present value of the gift, other contributions and activities of the donor, consistency with announced gift opportunity amounts, consistency with other IU gift amount policies, and other naming opportunities.

  • Approvals by the relevant department, school, and campus leadership (as appropriate).

  • If the naming is for someone other than a donor, formal permission of that person or his or her authorized representative.

d) In considering a naming proposal, the University Naming Committee may seek additional information, refer the proposal to the Naming Advisory Council, or recommend approval or disapproval to the President.

e) After receiving the recommendation of the University Naming Committee, the President may seek additional information, refer the proposal to the Naming Advisory Council, disapprove the recommendation, or approve the recommendation and, when appropriate, forward the recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The Board will consider proposals according to its normal operating procedures.

f) The Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities (for facilities) or the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (for organizations) should be notified of naming approvals that are covered by this policy but do not require action by the committee, President, or Trustees.

g) A dean, provost, chancellor, or vice president may seek the informal advice of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities or the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs on any question concerning a proposed name to which this policy applies or may potentially apply. Either may choose to refer such questions to the University Naming Committee.

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This policy is founded on the values and principles of the late University Chancellor Herman B Wells, who throughout his life repeated his conviction that every aspect of the environment of a university campus should provide an aesthetic and educational dimension. He believed that wherever the eye rested, it should see something beautiful, something uplifting. He also urged that the utmost care go into the selection of a name. Even though these sentiments often were associated with facilities, they apply equally to the excellence in programs and services across the university thus the naming of such units and activities deserve equal attention and diligence.

Approved by Board of Trustees, May 7, 2010.

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