Naming Policy for Facilities, Buildings, Spaces, Programs and other Properties and Functions

Date Approved:5-1-1986
Last Revision:5-1-1986
Last Reviewed:5-1-1986
Approved By:Board of Trustees
Oversight Unit:PRESIDENT, OFFICE OF THE
Purpose

Naming of buildings, facilities, spaces, program, and other properties and functions on campus.

Policy

Naming buildings, facilities, spaces, centers, institutes, programs and other properties and functions of Northern Michigan University has become increasingly significant due to the growing importance of private giving and the value of naming gifts for institutional advancement. For this reason, and because of the longevity of named buildings, facilities, spaces, programs and functions, and the need to maintain the integrity of NMU’s values and public image, a relatively predictable, published process for considering such gifts is advantageous. At the same time, each naming opportunity and gift has a different context, and the University must remain flexible enough to accommodate special funding opportunities. Therefore, though it is expected that these naming guidelines will serve as generally used standards for naming opportunities, they are not intended as a set of rigid policies that permits no occasional, well-justified exception.

Principal responsibility for soliciting and arranging for naming opportunities resides with the President of Northern Michigan University and the NMU Foundation chief executive officer. They will adhere to the funding minimums defined in this set of guidelines in their preliminary negotiations, but they are also granted the discretion, in consultation with each other and subject to final NMU Board of Trustees’ approval, to consider other funding arrangements that will best serve the wishes of the donor and the interests of the University. Gifts to name facilities, property, endowments, awards and other programs and functions established must be irrevocable and meet the minimum present day dollar value requirements set by the NMU Board of Trustees. Generally, naming opportunities will not be recognized through a planned or deferred gift until the resources are accessible.

The NMU Board of Trustees is the final authority for the naming of buildings, facilities, spaces, programs and other properties and functions of Northern Michigan University.

 

Naming Honors

When a proposal is made to name a building, facility, space, program or function at Northern after an individual, that individual should be a person whose life, work or activities exemplify values for which Northern Michigan stands. The following criteria are suggested:

  • Buildings, facilities, spaces, programs, properties and functions may be named in honor of extraordinary faculty, staff or alumni who: a) have been deceased for two years or longer, b) over a long and illustrious career, exemplified values for which Northern Michigan stands, and c) brought great credit to the University through major scholarly, professional or public service contributions that have stood the test of time. It should be noted that faculty, staff and alumni, living or deceased, who are worthy of recognition for exceptional University service, but who are not qualified donors or their designees (as noted below), are eligible for commemoration in a variety of significant ways other than having buildings or facilities named in their honor.
  • Buildings, facilities, spaces, programs, functions and properties may be named in honor of living persons, if such persons are: a) major donors who exemplify values for which Northern Michigan University stands and who satisfy conditions for major donors as outlined in these guidelines, or b) persons who exemplify values for which Northern Michigan University stands and who are designated by a major donor who satisfies conditions for major donors as outlined in these guidelines.
  • Buildings, facilities, spaces, programs, functions and properties may be named in honor of living persons, if such persons are individuals who have served the community, state or nation in an elected or appointed position once the person have been out of the elected or appointed position for five years.
  • In the case of donations for buildings, facilities, spaces, programs, properties and functions, the items designated with the name of a donor or designee shall be consistent with the donor’s wishes and commensurate with the magnitude of the gift. Except in unusual circumstances, it is expected that naming a building, facility, space, program or property for a donor or designee will not be considered unless the gift covers:
     
    • In the case of a new building or facility, approximately 50% of the private support portion of the costs of the new building or facility. Naming gifts for new buildings or facilities that are substantially State financed will be handled on a case-by-case basis;
    • In the case of an existing building or facility, approximately 25% of the building’s or facility’s replacement costs, as determined by the University;
    • In the case of an addition to, or a substantial renovation of, an existing building or facility, approximately 50% of the cost of the addition or renovation.

 

Because a naming forges a permanent link in the public mind between the University and designated name, the University must exercise discretion and perform due diligence based upon all the facts and circumstances associated with a proposed gift. Care should be taken that the naming is appropriate and desirable whether the proposed name is the name of an individual donor or is a corporate name or other descriptive words.

 

Definitions

University Properties, Facilities and Spaces – includes, but is not limited to,  buildings, rooms, interior spaces and architecture, major objects (such as artwork, trees, benches and other furniture, bleachers, bike racks, fountains, Smart Boards for classrooms, musical instruments, performance risers, sound systems and other items), streets, parking structures and lots, pathways, courts, athletic fields, parks, gardens, bodies of water, beaches, forests, open spaces and unimproved land.

Academic and Non-academic Programs – includes, but is  not limited to, colleges, divisions, departments, schools, institutes, centers, positions, ongoing programs and projects, and other units and ongoing activities associated with university functions.

 

Procedure Description

Any time a Northern Michigan University property, space, program or function is to be named, the following procedure shall be followed:

  1. A name proposal will be brought first to the person’s unit leader (department head, director), who will bring the name forward to the appropriate approval levels (dean of college, associate dean of school, director, etc.) until it reaches the division leader. There may be situations when members of the university community are invited to propose names in a more open forum without needing specific unit approval.  There may situations when the president convenes a small work group for the purpose of developing name proposals for a specific facility, space, program or function.
  2. The division leader or, in the case of a university-wide call for proposals the designated project coordinator, will present the name proposal(s) to the Executive Council.
  3. If approved by the Executive Council, the Council will request due diligence research of the naming proposal be done by NMU Foundation staff.
  4. All due deliberation by the university community will be presented to the Executive Council. Executive Council will make a final recommendation on the naming proposal to the President.
  5. The President shall make his/her recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
  6. Except in unusual circumstances, and then subject to appropriate consultation, namings should not be announced publicly prior to consideration by the NMU Board of Trustees. The preferences of donors regarding confidentiality of proposed naming gifts should be given careful consideration.
  7. Once deliberated by the Board of Trustees, the university community will have a designated period of time to provide comment before the Board of Trustees formally votes on the naming recommendation.

 

To protect the University’s interests and traditions, NMU Board of Trustee approval is required for all naming opportunities.

The NMU Foundation CEO shall be responsible for maintaining a master list of facility naming opportunities, both donor and honorary, and shall share this list periodically with the NMU Board of Trustees, the Executive Council, and the University Engineering and Planning Office.

The NMU Foundation and university president shall be informed early in the process regarding potential naming opportunity or opportunities.  Ideally, tentative naming opportunities would be identified as early in the architectural design phase as possible, preferably before designs are brought to the NMU Board of Trustees for approval.

A new construction, renovation or new program or function naming shall not be conferred in recognition of unrealized deferred gifts. An existing property, facility, space, program or function naming conferred in recognition of a pledge is contingent on fulfillment of that pledge.

To avoid any appearance of commercial influence or conflict of interest, additional due diligence should be taken before recommending the naming of a University property, facility, space, program, position or function that involves the name of a corporation or a corporate foundation. The naming for an individual associated with a corporation should be handled as any naming for an individual.

An agreement between a donor and the University to name a facility must be incorporated into the gift agreement and must be signed by both parties, as well as any third party or its representatives, if the naming is on the third party’s behalf.

 

Building Naming Criteria

New Construction: New facilities may be named for a donor or donors for contributions of 50% or more of the fundraising goal for the facility or 33% or more of the anticipated project cost. When the project cost exceeds $75 million dollars, or under other special circumstances, the Executive Council may recommend an alternative threshold for naming a specific facility, taking into consideration the capacity of the prospect pool, and setting a naming threshold that will maximize the fundraising potential for the project.

Existing Facilities: An existing facility may be named for a donor if a gift equals 25% of replacement value, as determined by the executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Building Additions and Renovations -- Not less than 50% of project costs.

Portions of Buildings -- Individual rooms or wings in new or existing buildings such as auditoriums, lecture halls and lobbies, need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Consideration will be given to such matters as type of usage, visibility and traffic flow.

Unnamed Existing Buildings -- Currently unnamed buildings may be named by the establishment of an endowment equivalent to 15% of the replacement value of the building.

Relocation -- The name on an existing facility will remain for the life of the building.

Replacement -- The name on a facility to be demolished will not be transferred to a new facility except when a useful facility is relocated to serve the greater interest of the university.

University-owned Streets and Drives – may only be named by the NMU Board of Trustees, on recommendation of the president, after former Board of Trustees members or former presidents of the University.

 

Duration of the Naming

If the university proposes to change the function of a named property, facility, space, program or function, it must notify the NMU Foundation to execute and document the review of related gift agreements to determine if the proposed use is consistent with the restrictions that may have been previously stipulated. If the proposal for change in use is inconsistent, University or Foundation counsel must be consulted.

Following the approval of a naming, should circumstances change substantially so that the continued use of that name may compromise the public trust, University and Foundation counsel must be consulted. If necessary, University and Foundation counsel will consult with the Michigan Attorney General. (See section “Renaming Due to Conflict)

The University reserves the right to enter into a naming agreement that is term limited as designated within the naming agreement signed by both the university and donor.  At the end of the term, the NMU Board of Trustees, based on the recommendation of the President, will determine what name the property, facility, space, program or function assumes.

 

Signage

All interior and exterior naming signage must conform to the design and material standards of the University. The text of all naming signage must be approved by Executive Council, NMU Foundation CEO and the University Engineering and Planning Office.

 

Renaming

A proposal to rename a property, facility, space, program, position, or function, or to add a second name, must adhere to the criteria outlined in this policy. In addition, these principles shall be followed:

  • Any proposal to rename a property, facility, space, program, position or function, or to add a second name, to an existing named property, facility, space, program, position or function in recognition of a gift must be reviewed by the Executive Council and the NMU Foundation. The review must include any gift documents pertaining to the original gift and related naming, as well as the gift documents pertaining to the subsequent gift and proposed renaming. If necessary, Foundation and/or University counsel must be consulted. The Executive Council and NMU Foundation will make recommendations to the President, who will make a recommendation to the NMU Board of Trustees.
  • When a property, facility, space, program, position or function that has been named in recognition of a gift or an individual has reached the end of its useful life, the replacement structure, program, position or function will no longer bear the former name and may be renamed.
  • When a property, facility, space, program, position or function named in recognition of a gift or in honor of an individual will be developed for another use, the redeveloped property, facility, space, program, position or function will no longer bear the former name and may be renamed.
  • Appropriate recognition of earlier donors must be included in or adjacent to new and renovated facilities, as well as in redeveloped areas.
  • When a property, facility, space, program, position or function is proposed for renaming, Foundation and/or University representatives will make all reasonable efforts to inform the original donors or honorees and their immediate family members in advance of the change, including emphasis on preservation of the relations.
  • If a named facility is razed at some future date, the University will recognize the honoree in an appropriate way, as approved by the Executive Council.

 

Renaming Due to Conflict

The University reserves the right to withdraw from a naming agreement if the name of an individual or organization, which has been bestowed upon a property, facility or program, comes into disrepute in the University or in the general community.

When conflicts arise related to an existing name, the president will convene a group to consider any proposal to remove a name. That group will collect information related to the decision to name the building, facility, space, program, position or function at the time it was named, the historical societal/legal changes since, the impact on relationships related to the name and/or removing/changing the name. Advice should be given on historical issues.  All of these principles shall be considered by the president, who will then make a recommendation to the NMU Board of Trustees.

 

Functional Naming

Functional namings shall be determined by the president 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 these guidelines.