I. Policy Statement and Purpose
This policy sets forth the criteria and procedures for the naming UNC Charlotte Facilities, Programs, and Funds in recognition of an individual or organization.
A. Facilities include buildings, rooms, exterior spaces, interior spaces, architectural features, streets, athletic courts, athletic fields, open spaces, as well as landscape materials or objects and associated exterior furnishings which may be marked by a tablet or plaque and all other areas owned, operated or controlled by UNC Charlotte, unless otherwise specified.
B. Funds include endowed and restricted funds established to support students, faculty/staff, Programs, and Facilities associated with UNC Charlotte.
C. Programs include colleges, schools, departments, degree programs, archives, collections, and other units associated with University functions.
III. Authority for Naming Facilities and Programs
A. Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees has the final authority to name UNC Charlotte colleges, schools, buildings, streets, and Facilities, other than those Facilities explicitly delegated to the Chancellor, based on donations of $1 million or greater, upon recommendation of the Chancellor. Any discussions by University officials regarding such naming proposals with donors, honorees, or benefactors should be clear that final naming approval rests with the Board of Trustees.
- The Chancellor has final authority to establish the naming of Programs (other than colleges and schools) and Facilities based on donations of less than $1 million. Any such proposals shall be submitted to the Chancellor as early as possible after they are presented to a University official. The Chancellor will report any such naming to the Board of Trustees at its next regular meeting.
- In reviewing naming opportunity proposals, the Chancellor has the responsibility to determine that the proposed action is consistent with the interests of the University, assure that the amount of any gift warrants the naming action proposed, and maintain equity in the relationship of gifts for similar naming actions.
- The Chancellor is responsible for participating in the initial review and recommendation of proposals for naming Facilities or Programs, i.e., colleges and schools, based on donations of $1 million or greater, and shall submit all such recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
- The Chancellor may recommend exceptions to the requirements of this Policy, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees, and after consultation with the Chancellor's Cabinet when appropriate.
C. Special Committee on Naming Standards
- The Special Committee on Naming Standards shall be appointed by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement. The Special Committee shall include, but is not limited to, representatives from University Development, Academic Affairs, Business Affairs, Athletics, University Operations, and Facilities Management.
- The Special Committee shall review at least annually the Named Gift Standards and update them as needed.
- In the rare event of an honorary naming of a Facility or Program (see Section V below), the Special Committee shall review proposals in recognition of an individual or an organization and shall make recommendations to the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement. The factors to be evaluated when considering an honorary naming of a Facility or Program include, but are not limited to: length and quality of service to the University; impact on and significance to the University; and professional and/or academic achievement. The Vice Chancellor for University Advancement will present any honorary naming recommendations to the Chancellor for approval or further recommendation to the Board of Trustees as outlined in the Named Gift Standards.
D. University Advancement
For Facilities and Programs, all naming opportunities shall be directed and managed through University Advancement.
E. University Facilities Management
Recognition naming signage approvals are managed through University Facilities Management, pursuant to Section XIII below.
IV. Criteria for Naming Facilities and Programs
A. For all Facility or Program naming opportunities, the donor, honoree, or benefactor must demonstrate integrity consistent with the values and mission of the University. The factors to be considered when naming a Facility or Program include, but are not limited to: length and quality of service to the University; impact on and significance to the University; and professional and/or academic achievement.
B. Honorary Naming Opportunities
- Honorary naming opportunities are intended to recognize individuals who have attained achievements of extraordinary and lasting distinction.
- The naming of Facilities and Programs is reserved for philanthropic gifts to the University or connected to a sponsorship. The honorific naming of a Facility or a Program that honors an individual in the absence of a gift shall occur only under exceptional circumstances.
- No Facility or Program may be named in honor of any elected public official or any official representing the State, the UNC System, or the University while they are currently serving in their official capacity, unless an exception is recommended by the Chancellor and approved by the Board of Trustees. This prohibition does not apply to Donor-Funded Naming Opportunities.
C. Donor-Funded Naming Opportunities
- Donor-funded naming opportunities are intended to recognize donors who have made substantial financial contributions to the University. The term “donors” includes individuals, corporations, and other organizations.
- For donor-funded naming opportunities, the recommended gift minimum shall be determined by the Special Committee for Naming Standards. The size of the gift should be in accordance with the Named Gift Standards. The Vice Chancellor for University Advancement may grant exceptions on occasion for recommendation to the Chancellor upon their discretion.
- When naming a Facility or Program in recognition of a gift, such gift shall be in accordance with University Policy 602.2, Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts.
D. Corporate or Organization Naming
- A Program normally may not be named for a corporation or organization unless recommended as an exception to this Policy by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and approved by the appropriate naming authority.
- Only in rare, exceptional situations should an entire Facility be named for a corporation or organization. Such gifts shall represent a “transformative contribution,” and an exception shall be recommended by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and approved by the appropriate naming authority.
- Corporate or organization naming of a Facility shall be term-limited up to twenty years unless recommended as an exception by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and approved by the appropriate naming authority.
- Prior to any corporate or organizational naming of a Facility, the Board of Trustees shall engage in due diligence to ensure that there is no actual or appearance of undue influence or conflict of interest.
- When the University is considering naming a Facility or Program for a corporate entity where the Facility or Program is or will be funded in whole or in part by the proceeds of tax-exempt bonds, any naming must be reviewed by the Office of Legal Affairs prior to approval.
V. Agreement for Naming Facilities and Programs
A. A Facility or Program naming agreement is required for all donor-funded naming opportunities. The agreement shall be approved by the appropriate naming authority and must contain the terms and conditions agreed to by the University and the donor.
VI. Naming Facilities
A. Naming opportunities may include (1) new Facilities that are to be constructed or acquired, (2) existing Facilities that are undergoing major or minor renovations, or (3) existing Facilities that are not undergoing renovations. Renaming of existing named Facilities shall be in accordance with Section IX below.
B. Selection of Facility names should take into account the University’s Physical Master Plan and all new major capital projects that are dependent upon private funding.
C. University Advancement reserves the right to determine if a Facility should or should not be eligible to be named in recognition of a gift.
D. Facilities that are being leased to UNC Charlotte or by UNC Charlotte shall not be named unless an exception is granted by the Chancellor.
E. For donor-funded naming of rooms and spaces, the recommended gift minimum is determined by the Special Committee for Naming Standards, based on the project cost or replacement cost, current marketable value, location, visibility, and prospect pool. The recommended gift minimum is valid for up to five years. The Vice Chancellor for University Advancement has the authority to grant exceptions to the recommended gift minimum.
F. For a donor or benefactor to name a building, University Advancement’s recommended gift minimum shall be in accordance with the Named Gift Standards and must enhance the University’s mission.
G. The allocation of funds for donor-funded Facility naming opportunities shall be agreed upon by the University and donor before the donor makes a commitment and must be pre-approved by both the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement before funds are contributed.
H. Facilities shall not be named through a grant, sponsored research, or sponsorship without prior recommendation by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and approval by the appropriate naming authority.
I. If an auxiliary-funded and supported Facility is identified for a potential naming opportunity, the auxiliary department that supports the Facility will provide the appropriate naming authority with input prior to the naming decision.
VII. Naming Programs
A. For Programs, University Advancement’s recommended gift minimum shall be in accordance with the Named Gift Standards and must be a substantial and significant amount that will enhance the University’s mission.
B. For a donor or benefactor to name a Program, the funds shall be allocated to either a named or unnamed unrestricted endowment designated by the applicable Dean or the head of the unit. The Vice Chancellor for University Advancement has authority to grant exceptions to the allocation requirement.
C. The allocation of funds for donor-funded Program naming opportunities shall be predetermined by the head of the unit and University Advancement before the donor makes a commitment and must be pre-approved by the Chancellor before funds are contributed.
D. The recommended gift minimum for a Program shall be predetermined by University Advancement in accordance with the Named Gift Standards prior to the donor’s commitment to name the Program. The recommended gift minimum is based on projected cost to operate the Program, current marketable value, visibility, and prospect pool.
E. Programs shall not be named through a grant, sponsored research, or sponsorship without prior recommendation by University Advancement and approval by the appropriate naming authority.
VIII. Timing and Types of Funding
A. When a Facility or Program is to be named in consideration of a financial contribution, a minimum of 50% of the gift shall have been received by the University or an associated entity.
B. Irrevocable planned gifts may generate current naming of Facilities and Programs as determined by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, for the Facility or Program proposed to be named.
C. Combinations of revocable planned gifts and cash may rarely generate current naming opportunities, only under certain circumstances, and the fund sources must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement prior to recommendation to the appropriate naming authority.
D. No Facilities or Programs will be recommended for naming in recognition of solely revocable gifts unless authorized in writing by the Chancellor.
IX. Duration and Modification of Naming Opportunities
A. The duration of a donor’s, honoree’s, or benefactor’s name on any Facility or Program ordinarily continues as agreed upon in the naming agreement. Upon demolition, replacement, substantial renovation, redesignation of purpose, or similar modification of a named Facility or Program, the Board of Trustees, upon recommendation by the Chancellor, may deem that the naming period has concluded, regardless of the terms of the naming agreement.
- At the discretion of University Advancement, the appropriate University representative may be directed to make all reasonable efforts to inform in advance the original donor(s), honoree(s), benefactor(s), or their surviving family members when the naming period is deemed to have concluded.
- The duration of donor signage is contingent upon the useful life cycle of the Facility or Program, and once the life cycle has ended, the donor signage can be removed with approval from University Advancement and University Facilities Management.
When the donor’s, honoree’s, or benefactor’s naming period has concluded, the Facility or Program may be renamed, with the original name removed, in accordance with the naming procedures in this Policy.
C. Term Naming
In appropriate instances, determined by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and most often involving a corporate donor, naming may be granted for a predetermined fixed term. At the end of the term, the name of the Facility or Program shall expire but may be renewed by the corporate donor with the same or a new name upon execution of a new naming agreement. The Facility or Program naming agreement should specify the period of time for which the Facility or Program will be named.
D. Donor, Honoree, or Benefactor Name Changes
If a donor, honoree, or benefactor requests a change to the name of a Facility or Program (e.g., due to divorce or corporate merger), the Chancellor will consider the request. If approved by the appropriate naming authority as outlined in Section III above, the costs associated with the name change will be at the sole expense of the donor, honoree, or benefactor.
E. Removal of Naming Approval or Conferral
The University reserves the right, on reasonable grounds, to remove and terminate its obligations regarding a naming, with no financial responsibility for returning any received contributions to the donor or benefactor. The Board of Trustees must approve all naming removals prior to removal. Reasonable grounds to remove and terminate a naming include, but are not limited to the following:
- If the donor’s, honoree’s, or benefactor’s reputation, actions, or behavior do not align with the University mission and values.
- If an individual for whom a Facility or Program is named is convicted of illegal activity or otherwise engages in conduct that, in the sole discretion of the University, is injurious to the reputation of the University.
- If the donor or benefactor fails to maintain payments on a pledge upon which the naming was bestowed.
- If a planned gift upon which the naming was bestowed does not result in the value agreed upon in the naming agreement.
- If a Program or Facility has been named without proper approval, after due diligence has occurred to ensure the naming was not properly approved.
- Without in any way affecting the general rule regarding the use of a corporate entity’s name for a building (as set forth in Section V.D. above), in the circumstance where a Facility is named for a corporation or other organization in recognition of a charitable contribution, and the corporation/organization subsequently changes its name, the Facility’s name generally will not be changed, but will be preserved to recognize the historical donor. However, the name may be changed if: (1) a name change is requested by the corporation/organization, (2) the change is acceptable to the University as determined by the Chancellor or their designee, and (3) the corporation/organization pays the complete expense of making the change (e.g., signage, printed materials, etc.), unless such payment is waived by the Chancellor.
X. Named Funds
A. Endowments and named Funds shall be established by University Advancement and do not require review or approval by the Chancellor or Board of Trustees.
B. The minimum endowment level required for scholarships and all other funds, except faculty positions, will be established by the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board upon the recommendation of the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement. Minimum endowment levels for faculty positions will be established by the Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte upon recommendation of the Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs, in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement.
C. The minimum gift amount to establish a named current-use Fund will be established by the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board upon recommendation by the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement. The Vice Chancellor for University Advancement may grant exceptions to this minimum gift amount on occasion upon their discretion.
D. This minimum endowment level does not preclude higher endowment levels when programmatic needs dictate a necessary higher level of annual income.
E. In order to take advantage of the matching funds provided by the State Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to establish endowed professorships and chairs, minimum gifts must be given in accordance with UNC Board of Governors Policy 600.2.3, “Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund.”
XI. Financial Contributions
Financial contributions resulting in the naming of a Facility, Program, or Fund may be made to The Foundation of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Inc. or The Athletic Foundation of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte but, if the University is constructing or renovating a Facility, then funds will be transferred to the University.
XII. Responsibilities for Costs
A. In the event that outside legal counsel is necessary to effect a naming opportunity, University Advancement must consult with the Office of Legal Affairs to facilitate hiring such legal counsel, and all legal costs related to donor-funded naming opportunities and endowed Funds are the responsibility of the college/unit supported by the gift.
B. All costs of donor, honoree, or benefactor signage or recognition are supported by an assessment on the gift retained by University Advancement.
C. The funds associated with naming a Facility or Program must cover any construction or installation of naming marks or signage, ongoing maintenance of such naming marks or signage, and all costs associated with re-branding the naming on ancillary signage, printed material, maps, etc. that identified the Facility by its former name or identification.
D. If the donor, honoree, or benefactor requests the design of a sign or recognition to be changed, all replacement signage and other related costs shall be at the donor’s expense.
XIII. Naming Recognition
A. The naming of the Facility or Program must be approved by the appropriate naming authority prior to the approval of recognition signage.
- Naming signage shall conform to all University branding guidelines and shall not be installed until approved by Facilities Management and University Advancement.
B. No statues or works of art recognizing a donor’s gift or to honor a person shall be commissioned or installed without receiving approval of Facilities Management and University Advancement.
C. No publicity of the naming shall be released to the public until it has been approved by the appropriate naming authority.
D. All gift minimums for donor recognition, which includes public displays, signs, donor walls and mounted objects that recognize a donor, shall be predetermined by University Advancement.
E. All mounted naming signage that has not been properly approved is subject to removal.
This Policy shall be reviewed periodically by the Office of University Advancement or designee. All recommended changes to this Policy require approval by the Chancellor and Board of Trustees.
- Initially Approved by the Board of Trustees, February 19, 2016
- Updated August 3, 2016
- Revised July 11, 2019
- Updated July 19, 2021
- Revised September 27, 2023
Authority: Board of Trustees
Responsible Office: University Advancement