Guidelines and Procedures for Naming of Buildings, Grounds and Schools
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President for Advancement
Policy Type: Facilities and Property
Policy Number: 406A
Last Date Revised: 1/22/19
The following criteria and procedures reflect SUNY Board of Trustees (BOT) and Binghamton University policies regarding the naming of all University buildings and grounds, identifiable portions of buildings/rooms and outdoor areas of the University campus, and of a school or program of the University.
1. The proposed name should advance the reputation as well as increase the understanding and public support for the University and its programs.
2.The proposed name should honor an individual, a group of individuals, an organization, a geographic area, or a political subdivision that has a definable and significant connection with Binghamton University's history, academic programs, research projects, public services, or development priorities. Facilities will generally not be named for individuals currently employed by the University system or State of New York, unless a donor other than the honoree provides a sufficient gift in honor of that individual; where the person to be honored is living, three years should have passed since any formal association with the University or employment of the State.
3. The proposed name should not confuse the public about the location or function of the designated building, area, or school; but rather enhance a visitor's ability to identify, locate, and use it.
4. A proposed additional name for a school shall incorporate a functionally related name (e.g., The Decker School of Nursing).
5. Buildings, grounds, or spaces may be named for living or deceased individuals or for organizations responsible for a substantial gift benefiting the University. The term "substantial gift" is deliberately not defined by arbitrary standards or a specific dollar amount. Its interpretation is meant to be flexible so that each situation may be judged on its own merits and may take into account significant contributions of personal services as well as monetary or in-kind gifts (from BOT exception clause to Resolution 80-8, see attached guidelines). Only under very special circumstances will a naming occur that is not linked to a substantial monetary contribution.
6. In the case of a gift (cash or in-kind), several factors should be taken into consideration, including: contributions previously made by the donor, the purpose for which the gift was made by the donor, and the proportional relationship of the gift to the project for which it was intended. A donor who has a record of several major gifts to a campus may be considered for an honor even though a particular gift may not be construed as "substantial". Further, a gift that may be considered substantial in the context of one project may not be in terms of a more costly one (from BOT exception clause to Resolution 80-8).
7. Naming an existing building after a donor implies a significant contribution of the donor both in terms of the size of the gift in relationship to the original cost of the building or facility, and significance of the gift to the future of the University campus.
8. Each naming opportunity should be reviewed carefully for compliance with applicable law, including law related to prohibited gifts and ethical principles, especially where there is some direct or indirect business or other continuing relationship between the donor and the State University of New York, its officers, or employees.
9. Forfeiture of a naming opportunity may occur when the Foundation's or the University's relationship with the donor or honoree is no longer positive, the donor does not fulfill the financial commitment, or the donor's/honoree's personal or business circumstances are such that affiliation with Binghamton University is deemed inappropriate.
1. A recommendation and justification for the proposed naming should be forwarded by the Dean or Director to the appropriate Vice President.
2. Upon concurrence of the Vice President, the recommendation will be:
a. The University President, Executive Committee of the Foundation and the Executive Director of the Foundation retain the right to deny any endowed naming opportunity.
b. After further consideration and any revisions, the proposal for naming will be forwarded to the President and his/her Senior Staff for review and endorsement.
3. Due to the sensitivity of the matters under consideration and their potential for creating misunderstanding, all stages of the proposal, review, and recommendation process are required to be conducted in confidence.
4. In accordance with SUNY Board of Trustees policy, Binghamton University will forward its recommendation on the renaming of the building, facility or school or other naming opportunities based on a gift of $1,000,000 or more to the Chancellor of the State University of New York for his/her consideration and submission to the State University Trustees for final approval. In the case of other naming opporunities based on a gift of less than $1,000,000, only Presidential approval is required. Many naming opportunities have been preapproved by the President. Please see the Vice President for Advancement for details.
5. The Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship will coordinate the design and installation of the recognition plaques - see separate Management Procedure Number 406Band associated recognition ceremonies.
GUIDELINES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A "SUBSTANTIAL GIFT", AS REFERRED TO IN THE EXCEPTION CLAUSE OF RESOLUTION 80-8 (NAMING OF BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS POLICY)
The State University Board of Trustees policy on the naming of buildings and grounds has been amended to provide that buildings or grounds may be named for living individuals or for organizations responsible for a "substantial gift" benefitting the State University.
"The term "substantial gift" in this context is deliberately not defined by arbitrary standards or a specific dollar amount. Its interpretation is meant to be flexible so that each situation may be judged on its own merits and may take into account significant contributions of personal services as well as monetary or in-kind gifts.
In determining whether to recommend that a facility be named for a person or organization responsible for a "substantial gift," a president and a local board or council should consider a number of factors in addition to an actual dollar amount. These include contributions previously made by the donor, the purpose for which the gift was made, and the proportional relationship of the gift to the project for which it is intended. A donor who has a record of several major gifts to a campus may be considered for an honor even though a particular gift may not be construed as "substantial". Further, a gift that may be considered substantial in the context of one project may not be in terms of a more costly one. "In-kind" contributions or long periods of dedicated service also may be considered in evaluating gifts.
The point to remember is that naming of buildings or grounds is not an automatic quid pro quo, no matter how substantial. Except in instances such as a major capital fund raising campaign where theater seats, rooms, or equipment may be named as inducements to donors of specific amounts, the naming of a SUNY facility has a permanency to it that must reflect both dignity and significance as well as an honor to a donor. Presidents and/or councils (the Board of Trustees in the case of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry) thus are cautioned to consider each proposal in terms of precedent that might be set and the long-term interests of the institution.
It must also be remembered that recommendations received from campuses will be subject to review and recommendation by the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Gifts, Bequests and Naming of Buildings and Grounds, and by the Chancellor prior to final action by the Board of Trustees. Therefore, no promise should be made or implied to a prospective donor that a gift will be followed by the naming of a facility. Campus-related foundations, which may be the recipients of gifts, should also be made aware of and guided by the caveats."