This policy applies to the naming of facilities, buildings, and land owned or otherwise controlled by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
The purpose of this policy is to protect the assets and reputation of the UW System by providing criteria to be applied when naming a building, a facility that constitutes less than a building, and land within the campus boundaries. In addition, the policy clarifies expectations as related to the continued recognition for previously named buildings, facilities, and land.
It is the preference of the Board of Regents to commemorate contributions to academic excellence through the naming of scholarships, programs, professorships, and other similar actions. However, the Board recognizes that, from time to time, there may be a desire to name university facilities or portions of the university’s buildings or land after an individual, corporation, or other legal entity. It is expected that UW institutions negotiate naming rights as one facet of a development strategy to leverage private support for the benefit of the university.
Facilities, buildings, and land covered by this policy may be named for individuals, corporations, or other legal entities. For the purposes of this policy, other legal entities include any for-profit business or non-profit organization, foundation, trust, or any similar non-university organization.
Naming an entire building is subject to prior approval by the Board of Regents. A request to name or dedicate a building shall be made by the chancellor of the institution. A chancellor shall submit support for such a request, demonstrating consideration of the factors below, to the UW System Office of Capital Planning and Budget for review. Any proposed naming agreement for an entire building shall also be reviewed by the UW System Office of General Counsel to ensure compliance with this policy and any applicable laws.
The chancellor of each institution is delegated the authority to name:
- facilities involving less than an entire building, such as rooms, wings, or exterior amenities; and
- parcels of land.
For any namings under this policy, including those delegated to Chancellors, the following factors shall be considered:
- Whether the individual, corporation or other legal entity has promoted the purpose and mission of the UW System as expressed in s. 36.01, Wis. Stats.;
- Whether the reputation of the individual, corporation or other legal entity may reflect negatively or adversely upon the UW System or a UW System institution;
- Whether the individual, corporation or other legal entity is in compliance with all agreements with the UW System or a particular UW System institution;
- Whether any existing agreement prohibits changing or adding a facility name;
- Whether there is a plan for continued recognition of the individual, corporation or other legal entity for whom a building, facility, or land was previously named. A plan for continued recognition is required unless an institution can demonstrate why such recognition is no longer needed. Examples of continued recognition include such methods as a plaque, an appropriately placed monument, or incorporation of a cornerstone;
- Whether the naming represents a potential conflict of interest, appearance of commercial influence, or could compromise the institution’s academic or research autonomy; and
- Whether the naming is compliant with applicable laws if the naming will occur in a building financed with tax-exempt governmental bonds.
A naming for an individual shall consider whether the individual was employed by the UW System or has served as an elected or appointed public official. Normally, a waiting period of at least five years must have elapsed from the time the individual’s UW employment ended or the individual left public office. Exceptions may be considered under certain circumstances, including when the individual is no longer living or a gift requests the naming.
Use of Logos and Branding
Any individual, corporation or other legal entity for which a UW facility, building or parcel of land is named is prohibited from using the name, logo, or other component of branding of the UW System or any UW institution as a commercial endorsement or for advertising. University exterior or way-finding signage shall not include the logo or other components of branding, with the exception of the corporation or legal entity’s name.
Duration of Naming
Names shall be for a specified number of years. The term of the agreement shall be determined on a case-by-case basis, which may vary depending on the level of private support received by the UW institution from a donor.
Removing or Changing a Name
In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to remove or change a name assigned to a facility, building, or parcel of land. The UW System Board of Regents retains the authority to remove or change a name of a facility, building, or parcel of land if the name presents a risk to the institution’s reputation, if the donor or sponsor fails to meet the financial obligations of the naming agreement, or as otherwise deemed necessary by the Board. The Board delegates authority to the UW Chancellor of the institution to remove or change the name of a portion of a facility, building or parcel of land if the name presents a risk to the institution’s reputation, if the donor or sponsor fails to meet the financial obligations of the naming, or as otherwise deemed necessary by the Chancellor.
If the name of a corporation or other legal entity changes during the term of a naming agreement for a building, the Board of Regents may exercise its discretion to maintain, change, or remove the name.
Any naming agreement between the UW System and an individual, corporation, or other legal entity shall include provisions describing the Board or Chancellor’s authority to remove or change a name.
Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities
The Board of Regents is responsible for the physical assets of the UW System and for considering requests to name an entire facility or building, as well as for naming portions of facilities or buildings or parcels of land named except where delegated to chancellors.
The UW System Office of General Counsel and the Office of Capital Planning and Budget shall ensure all of the requirements of this policy are met prior to submitting an institutional request to the Board of Regents for consideration of a naming of a facility, building or parcel of land as required under this policy.
UW Chancellors shall ensure all of the requirements of this policy are met prior to naming facilities involving less than an entire building, such as rooms, wings, or exterior amenities, or parcels of land.
Related Regent Policies and Applicable Laws
- Regent Policy Document 4-19, “Naming of University Academic Units”
- Regent Policy Document 19-5, “Authorization to Remove Unneeded Structures”
History: Res. 53, adopted 12/17/1971, created Regent Policy Document 71-6; Res. 674, adopted 02/08/1974, created Regent Policy Document 74-1; Res. 2112, adopted 03/07/1980, revised Regent Policy Document 71-6 and created Regent Policy Document 80-1; Res. 5205, adopted 04/07/1989, amended Regent Policy Document 80-1; Res. 5415, adopted 02/02/1990, rescinded Regent Policy Documents 74-1 and 80-1, and created Regent Policy Document 90-1; Res. 7166, adopted 03/08/1996, rescinded Regent Policy Document 90-1 and created Regent Policy Document 96-1; subsequently renumbered 19-14; Res. 9154, adopted 03/10/2006, amended Regent Policy Document 19-14; Res. 10686, adopted 06/10/2016, amended and renamed Regent Policy Document 19-14, “Naming of University Facilities and Lands.” Res. 11394, adopted 02/07/2020, amended Regent Policy Document 19-14.