St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Naming Buildings, Sites and Common Areas Link☍

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Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Effective Date: 09/17/2012

Last Updated: 08/26/2019

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff

Responsible University Officer: President

Policy Owner: President, Vice President for University Advancement

Policy Contact: President, Vice President for University Advancement


St. Cloud State University understands the value of naming opportunities for buildings, sites, common areas, centers and programs on university property and seeks to establish consistent processes and guidelines for both donor recognition and non-donor related naming proposals.


Naming of physical spaces, whether related to donor recognition or not, shall be recommended by the President to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities chancellor. The Chancellor has authority delegated by the Board of Trustees to name physical spaces. The President has authority to name campus centers and programs. 


Procedures for Donor Recognition Naming

With approval of the President, donors may be offered the opportunity to be recognized by ascribing their name to physical places (buildings, facilities, and grounds), centers, programs, or other opportunities in appreciation of significant financial contributions in support of St. Cloud State University. No commitment to recognize a prospective donor through the naming of a physical space should be made until the internal approval process is complete.

Careful planning and coordination among the University, Foundation, and volunteers is essential in order to ensure a smooth process with the prospective donor.

  • When naming is being considered in connection with donor recognition, the approval process is initiated with a discussion among the Dean, Director, or other Administrator and the Office of University Advancement.
  • The Vice President for Advancement presents the donor recognition naming proposal to the President’s Cabinet for discussion.
  • The donor recognition naming proposal, along with summaries of the discussions is sent to the President for approval.

If the President determines that a donor recognition naming opportunity exists for a particular area, that area will be removed from the inventory of available spaces.  

Donor Recognition Naming Vs. Sponsorships

Naming that is done in recognition of a donor is distinguished from sponsorships in three important respects.  Donor recognition naming:

  • follows from tax deductible charitable contributions not from sponsorship or other contractual payments;
  • is long lasting (generally for the life of the named item) while sponsorships are temporary; and,
  • recognizes the name of the donor but does not convey promotional or advertising messages.

No Quid Pro Quo

The decision to name or not name an item is at the sole discretion of the University. Charitable contributions cannot be made contingent on a donor recognition naming because the quid pro quo would invalidate the charitable contribution deduction.  

Non-Donor Related Naming

Naming proposals that are not associated with charitable contributions shall be submitted in writing using the Naming Proposals Form (see Supporting Documents) to the Vice-President for Finance and Administration by December 15th of each year.  In the case of re-naming, the Vice-President shall consult with the Vice President of University Advancement. If a space is not currently or anticipated to be connected with donor recognition, the Vice-President will convene a meeting to include the AVP of Facilities, the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, the University Archivist, a historian, one representative from University Communications and each bargaining unit, and the Student Government to review the naming proposal against the five criteria found in Minnesota State Board Procedure 6.8.1 and to confirm facts surrounding the named individual. 

If the proposal meets one or more of the criteria, the Committee will develop a recommended consultation plan as required by Minnesota State Board Procedure 6.8.1 for the President’s consideration. These efforts may include, but are not limited to, personal email communications, broad based university email communications, surveys, open forums, social media campaigns, staff meetings, or other outreach initiatives.

Upon completion of opinion gathering and consultation endeavors, the Vice-President will consult with the Vice-Presidents to determine whether to move the proposal forward as a recommendation to the President. The President will determine whether to move the proposal forward as a recommendation to the Chancellor. 

Permanence of Naming

The naming of a physical space is intended to remain in place for the life of the space. If, in the future, circumstances change such that the purpose for which the space was established is significantly altered or if the space is no longer needed or habitable, the University, in consultation with appropriate academic and/or administrative leadership and the donor, if possible, may determine an appropriate alternate recognition of the donor. 

Spaces, centers and programs shall bear only the names of individuals or entities that exemplify attributes of integrity, character and leadership consistent with the values of the University. If, in the sole determination of the University, those attributes are not maintained, the University reserves the right to remove the name from the space at any time regardless of whether the naming was donor or non-donor driven. If the naming involved a gift, the Gift Instrument shall acknowledge these requirements. 


Philanthropic Naming Guidelines

Generally, when the naming opportunity concerns a new building or renovation of an existing space, a donor will be required to provide a charitable contribution equal to a substantial portion of the funds needed to complete the project. If the naming opportunity is a center or program, the charitable contribution should be sufficient to endow a significant portion of the annual cost of the center or program.

Appropriate naming opportunities and naming contribution thresholds may be established in advance and documented in a fundraising plan for a project. Contribution thresholds will be developed in consultation with the relevant Dean, Director or other leadership.

If contributed funds are for new construction or renovation, the contribution should be directed to the actual cost of the project.

If the naming opportunity is an existing building or space, the specific designation for the use of the contribution will be determined by the Dean, Director, or other appropriate leadership but will typically support the unit or department housed in the space.

Philanthropic naming requires a formal Gift Instrument and full receipt of cash or assets that can be readily converted to cash. Generally, items will not be named in return for charitable estate commitments or life insurance until the funds are actually received.

Supporting Documents (Forms, Instructions)

Nov 2 2017 8:24AM

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes


Responsible University Officer
   Wacker, Robbyn R.
   Andrew, Matthew J.
   Vice President for University Advancement
   Wacker, Robbyn R.
   Andrew, Matthew J.
   Vice President for University Advancement
   Wacker, Robbyn R.

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