University at Buffalo Crest.

Policy Information

Date Established: 5/25/2021
Date Last Updated:
Category:
Administration and Governance
Responsible Office:
Vice President for University Advancement

Responsible Executive:
Vice President for University Advancement

Policy Contents

Naming University Properties, Facilities, and Academic and Non-Academic Programs

Summary

This policy provides for an orderly, coordinated, and informed practice of naming UB facilities and entities; a strong, consistent application of university nomenclature and brand identity; and appropriate recognition of the traditions of the institution, including the opportunity to honor and recognize donors for their philanthropic support.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) has a long-standing tradition of naming university properties, academic and non-academic programs, and facilities to honor persons or entities that have made important contributions to enable the teaching, research, and public service mission of the university.

All naming opportunities are valuable university assets, and, as such, naming is generally considered only with a significant philanthropic commitment. Rare exceptions are allowed, at the discretion of the president upon recommendation from the vice president for university advancement, to honor individuals for exceptional contributions shaping the university or to commemorate university history and traditions.

The naming process (other than stated minimums detailed in the Guidelines for Naming Opportunities), is one of negotiation and partnership between the university and the donor. However, the following principles guide this process:

  • Because a naming forges a permanent link in the public mind between the university and the designated name, the university must exercise discretion and perform appropriate due diligence, based upon all the facts and circumstances associated with a proposed naming opportunity. The naming must be appropriate and desirable, whether the proposed name is the name of an individual donor, corporate name, term name, or other descriptive words. The vice president for university advancement will undertake due diligence for all donor-designated names.
  • A naming must withstand the test of time. Therefore, each proposal for naming must be considered on its merits and not solely because a gift meets a predetermined goal or stated minimum. Attention must be given to both the long-term and short-term appropriateness of the naming.
  • The naming of any physical facility, space, or academic program must be determined by weighing the needs of the university and the appropriate campus entity and must not conflict with or diminish any existing naming.
  • All naming must take into account the purpose to be served, so that adequate funds will be available to achieve the gifting objective.
  • Functional names for buildings must be recommended by university units and reviewed and approved by the Building and Landscape Committee if a donor or honorific name has not been assigned to the facility. A functional name may later be replaced by an honorific or donor name in accordance with this policy. Functional names for other landscapes and programs must be determined in accordance with the Institutional Unit and Program Naming Standards.
  • Buildings, campus grounds, or other physical facilities will not be named for individuals currently employed by the university or the State of New York, unless a donor other than the honoree provides a gift in accordance with this policy and in honor of that individual. Under certain circumstances a building or landscape may be named to honor an individual who has had extraordinary, university-wide influence, or the individual has made exceptional contributions to the nation or world.
  • Each naming opportunity must be reviewed for compliance with university and State University of New York (SUNY) policy, and applicable law, including laws related to prohibited gifts and ethical principles, especially where there is a direct or indirect business or other continuing relationship between the donor and the university or SUNY, its officers, or employees.

Naming Review and Approval

The vice president for university advancement will coordinate the naming approval process. Each proposal for naming must be made in writing and reviewed and approved in accordance with this policy.

   Properties and Facilities

  • The vice president for university advancement will maintain a master list of all facilities and grounds naming opportunities and share this list with the Building and Landscape Committee and the Campus Planning Office to determine that naming minimums are appropriate and align with the physical plant needs of the university.
  • Consult the Building and Landscape Committee if naming of a space within a facility appears unusually prominent, sensitive, or subject to heightened public interest. Additional approval requirements may be imposed at the discretion of the committee or the president.
  • Prior to the formal acceptance of any gift or written commitment, the vice president for university advancement will vet all specific naming opportunities with the Building and Landscape Committee and the Capital Planning Committee. The vice president will obtain pre-approval on naming from SUNY for any opportunity that involves a gift of $1 million or more.
  • Once a signed gift commitment is received by the university and before a final naming decision can be made, the vice president for university advancement presents all formal naming requests for final approvals as noted below. Formal requests for naming will articulate the justification for the naming as well as any special circumstances.
  • Namings that involve gifts less than $100,000 require no further approval as long as the minimum thresholds outlined in the Guidelines for Naming Opportunities are met.
  • Namings that involve gifts of $100,000-$999,999 must be approved by the president and UB Council.
  • Namings that involve gifts of $1 million or more must be approved by the president, UB Council, SUNY Chancellor, and the SUNY Board of Trustees.
  • The vice president for finance and administration will maintain a central repository of all named buildings, spaces, and physical assets.

   Academic and Non-Academic Programs

  • The vice president for university advancement will maintain a master list of all academic and non-academic program naming opportunities and share this list with the provost and president to determine that naming minimums are appropriate and align with the academic and administrative needs of the university.
  • Prior to the formal acceptance of any gift or written commitment of $1 million or more, the vice president for university advancement will obtain pre-approval on naming from SUNY.
  • Once a signed gift commitment is received by the university and before a final naming decision can be made, the vice president for university advancement presents all formal naming requests for final approvals as noted below. Formal requests for naming must articulate the justification for the naming as well as any special circumstances.
  • Namings that involve gifts less than $1 million require no further approval as long as the minimum thresholds outlined in the Guidelines for Naming Opportunities are met.
  • Namings that involve gifts of $1 million or more must be approved by the provost, president, UB Council, SUNY Chancellor, and SUNY Board of Trustees.

   Endowments and Annual (Term) Funds

  • The vice president for university advancement will maintain a master list of naming opportunities for endowed and term funds and share this list with the provost and president to determine that naming minimums are appropriate and align with the academic and administrative needs of the university.
  • Prior to the formal acceptance of any gift and or written commitment of $1 million or more, the vice president for university advancement will obtain pre-approval on naming from SUNY.
  • Once a signed gift commitment is received by the university and before a final naming decision can be made, the vice president for university advancement presents all formal naming requests for final approvals as noted below. Formal requests for naming will articulate the justification for the naming as well as any special circumstances.
  • Namings that involve gifts less than $1 million require no further approval as long as the minimum thresholds outlined in the Guidelines for Naming Opportunities are met.
  • Namings that involve gifts of $1 million or more must be approved by the president, UB Council, SUNY Chancellor, and the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Funding of Naming Gift Commitments

Generally any combination of gift, pledge, and irrevocable deferred gift arrangement may be acceptable for naming commitments. All naming commitments must be rendered in writing. All pledges other than deferred gifts (e.g., bequests) must be paid in full within five to seven years of the initial commitment.

For long deferred gifts (e.g., bequests, life income gifts) it is appropriate to consider potential increased costs that may develop during the deferral period; therefore, the required funding amount may be set higher because of the delay in acquiring access to the naming funds. Consult with University Advancement regarding appropriate gift minimums. Naming associated with long deferred gift commitments is effective at the time the funds are received.

For life income gifts, naming is granted based only upon the charitable value of the gift at the time the contribution is received.

Under certain circumstances, matching gifts from employers may be considered as part of a naming arrangement.

Other Naming Considerations

All proposed names must be held in strict confidence during the review and approval process. There will be no general communication, public discussion, or commitment made with regard to the proposed naming before approvals are granted.

The naming of space or university funds in recognition of a donor or honoree implies a promise to that donor or honoree that the specific space, site, facility, endowed fund, and other forms of tangible recognition will be maintained for the life of the facility, or for the duration of the stated term. If a change is unavoidable, then an alternative means of recognizing the donor or honoree will be found. Approval of this alternative naming will follow the approval processes defined in this policy.

Donor Recognition and Signage

Numerous factors must be considered when developing plans for donor recognition, including: the value of each particular gift or commitment, scope of giving levels within a particular project or program, location of signage, and design and aesthetics of the space. The Guidelines for Donor Recognition and Signage provide guidance for consistent and equitable donor recognition.

Background

Since its founding, the university has named academic and non-academic programs, properties, and facilities in honor of persons or entities that have made important contributions to enable the teaching, research, and service missions of the university. This policy and its accompanying guidance (Guidelines for Naming Opportunities, Institutional Unit and Program Naming Standards, Guidelines for Donor Recognition and Signage, and Calculating Space Values), direct how all naming proposals must be reviewed and approved and accommodates donor expectations for recognition of philanthropic activities while keeping the university mission, policies, and financial needs paramount.

Applicability

This policy applies to all naming in recognition of philanthropic or meritorious activities, regardless of originating unit.

Definitions

Bequest

A type of planned gift. The property or money that you promise in your will to give to another person or organization after you die.

Current Use Gift

A charitable donation that the donor intends for the university to fully expend within a finite period in support of current objectives.

Donor Name

Naming in recognition of philanthropic contributions to the university.

Endowed Fund

A philanthropy vehicle where a donor stipulates that the gift principal remains intact and invested for the purposes of producing a stream of income.

Functional Name

Naming that describes the use or purpose of an organization, facility, or exterior space (e.g., Botany Greenhouse, Department of English) or indicate a location (e.g., North Campus). Functional 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.

Gift

A charitable donation made to the university without the expectation of receiving goods or services (quid pro quo) in return.

Gift-in-Kind

Non-cash gift that becomes an inventoried, usable asset of the university (e.g., equipment, artwork, literary collection).

Honorific Name

Naming for unparalleled scholarly distinction or other exceptional non-monetary contributions to the university. Generally done only if the name being recognized will bring great honor to the university.

Irrevocable Deferred Gift

A type of planned gift where the donor gives up the right to change the commitment or beneficiary. A gift that an individual creates during their lifetime that will take affect at or after their passing.

Life Income Gift

A gift arrangement in which the donor makes an irrevocable transfer of property to a nonprofit or charity, and at the same time retains an income interest to their benefit.

Planned Gift, Planned Giving or Deferred Gift

Any charitable gift that requires more thought and planning to execute than the average donation. Planned giving has traditionally been defined as the gift that an individual creates during their lifetime that will take affect at or after their passing.

Pledge or Commitment

A contract between a donor and a charity in which the donor promises to make a contribution in the future.

Responsibility

Building and Landscape and Capital Planning Committees

  • Determine that naming minimums are appropriate and align with the physical plant needs of the university.
  • Review and approve functional names for buildings if a donor or honorific naming has not been assigned.
  • Review and approve proposed donor or honorific namings to comply with the Unit and Program Naming Standards.

Departments

  • Deposit all charitable contributions into an appropriate UB Foundation account.
  • Adhere to university naming and unnaming processes and donor recognition guidelines.

University at Buffalo Foundation

  • Receive and administer gifts and pledges made to the university.

President

  • Review and approve namings that involve gifts of $1 million or more.
  • Review and approve exceptions to this policy.

Vice President for Finance and Administration

  • Maintain a central repository of all named buildings, spaces, and physical assets.

Vice President for University Advancement

  • Review this policy annually and update as necessary.
  • Apply consistent and equitable donor recognition across the university.
  • Coordinate the university’s naming and unnaming approval processes.
  • Review all naming opportunities to comply with applicable law, SUNY policy, and university policy.
  • Maintain a master list of naming opportunities for academic and non-academic programs as well as endowed and term funds.
    • Share this list with the provost and president so that naming minimums are appropriate and align with the academic and administrative needs of the university.
  • Perform due diligence for all donor-designated names so that the naming is appropriate and desirable.
  • Secure pre-approval on naming from SUNY for any opportunity that involves a gift of $1 million or more.
  • Evaluate gift minimums for long deferred gifts.

Contact Information

Contact An Expert

Contact

Phone

Email

University Advancement
716-645-2925 donorrelations@buffalo.edu

Related Information

University Links

Forms

Related Links

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President

5/25/2021

Date