Naming Campus Facilities, Programs, Projects and Existing Units for Distinguished Individuals and Donors


The University of Illinois highly values the contributions donors, sponsors and others make to advance the mission and excellence of the institution. Friends of the university play an indispensable role in supporting students, faculty, programs and facilities across our campus and around the world. Their gifts often come with restrictions on the intended use, and it is reasonable, common and fair that donors express their intentions about how donated funds should be used. Institutional autonomy, academic freedom and other bedrock principles are essential to the university and are inseparable from the very excellence donors and sponsors want to support. These principles should be clearly understood and safeguarded in deliberations with donors about gifts.  Decision-making authority related to the academic mission and operations of the university shall, pursuant to applicable laws, University Statutes, the General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedure (“General Rules”) and the Campus Administrative Manual, remain the sole province of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees.

This policy establishes the internal review and approval process for proposals to name a Program, Facility, Project or existing Unit in recognition of a distinguished individual or donor (“eponym”). The intention is to ensure that the integrity and reputation of all eponyms are beyond reproach, that minimum gift levels are met, where applicable, while at all times preserving the principles of institutional autonomy and academic freedom.


This policy governs the naming of Facilities, Programs, Projects and existing Units for distinguished individuals or donors under Article V, Section 4 of the General Rules. The policy does not apply to creation and naming of new Units of instruction, research or public service or to the renaming of an academic Unit in connection with a change in academic organization under Article VIII, Section 4 of the University Statutes (see Policy on Establishing Units or Renaming Academic Units to Reflect Changes in Academic Organization). This policy also does not apply to the installation of commemorative plaques on or near objects, plantings or interior spaces (see Policy on Commemorative Plaques for Plantings, Objects and Interior Spaces (IV-6). This policy does not amend Board of Trustees (“Board”) policies or alter existing naming commitments or agreements.


Article VIII, Sections 4(b) of the University Statutes; Article V, Section 4(f) of the General Rules and the Chancellor.


  1. All proposals to name a Facility or Program or existing Unit in recognition of a donor or distinguished individual require final approval of the President and the Board.

(a) PROGRAMS OR EXISTING UNITS: Proposals to add an eponym to the name of a Program or an existing Unit must be submitted in writing to the Chancellor. The Chancellor, or designee, shall consult with the Chancellor’s Joint Advisory Committee on Licensing, Investment, and Naming Rights (“Naming Rights Committee”).

(i) If the Naming Rights Committee endorses the proposal, the Chancellor may submit the proposal for final approval directly to the President and the Board. In the case of a Unit name, the Chancellor will report the final approval to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

(ii) If the Naming Committee does not endorse the proposal, the Chancellor may either forward the proposal to the Senate for advice prior to forwarding to the President and the Board, or else withdraw the proposal.

(b) FACILITIES: Proposals add an eponym to name a Facility must be submitted in writing first to the Associate Director of Project Planning. Proposals that involve capital construction must be reviewed by the Chancellor’s Campus Capital Review Committee (“CCRC”) as part of the construction approval process. The Chancellor, in his or her discretion, may consult with the Naming Rights Committee before submitting the proposal to the President and to the Board for approval.

  1. The Chancellor has ultimate approval authority over proposals to name Projects for a donor or distinguished individual but, in his or her discretion, may consult with the Naming Rights Committee.
  1. Not all proposed eponyms are governed by this policy, including but not limited to those connected with lecture series, endowed faculty positions such as chairs and professorships, and named scholarships, fellowships and awards to support students. The originating Unit has discretion to attach an eponym in these situations but may consult with the Chancellor’s Office for guidance as it deems appropriate.
  1. A decision tree for eponym approval requirements is found here.


 “Facility” means any building, structure, street, drive, landscaped area, open space, physical improvement, or other property under the administrative control of the University. For the purposes of this policy, Facilities do not include interior spaces within a building.

 “Interior Spaces” means spaces inside University buildings, such as rooms, lounges, laboratories, performance spaces, and lecture halls.  For the purposes of this policy, Interior Spaces do not include areas of the Arboretum or Allerton Park and Retreat Center that are not within a building.

 “Program” means any academic or non-academic program, school, college, institute, center, but does not include endowed faculty positions (e.g., chairs, professorships) or named funds to support students (e.g., scholarships, fellowships, awards). A Program may be, but is not always,   Unit. Mere use of the term “institute” or “center” does not signify a Program if it is not intended to be permanent.

Project” means a defined initiative or undertaking that is neither a Unit nor a Program; is not intended to have permanence; is not formally organized; may be funded by either a donor gift or a sponsor grant; and may be but is not necessarily named a “center” or “institute.”

“Unit” means a division of the university to which academic appointments can be made and to which resources can be allocated, including departments and similar units, centers, institutes, schools and colleges. The term “Unit” does not include centers and institutes that are reasonable and moderate extensions of existing curricula, research, or public service programs that have a direct relationship to an existing Unit or that are otherwise Programs or Projects.


1. Eligible Eponyms

1.1 Facilities, Programs, Projects and existing Units may be named:

1.1.1 For a former University employee with emeritus status, or who is deceased, or who has been retired for five years or more.

1.1.2 For a former elected official who has been out of office for least 10 years.

1.1.3 In honor or memory of faculty, staff, officers, alumni, or friends of the university community who have made extraordinary contributions to the university or to society. Honorees shall have achieved distinction in one or more of the following ways: (a) served the university in an academic capacity, achieved the highest scholarly distinction, and earned a national or international reputation; (b) served the university in an important administrative capacity, rendered distinguished service, and provided exceptional contributions to the university; or (c) contributed in truly exceptional ways to the welfare of the institution, state, or nation or achieved such unique distinction as to warrant recognition.

1.1.4 For or by donors (an individual or entity) who provide gifts in support of Programs or Facilities meeting the funding level requirements described in this policy. Funding level requirements do not apply to other honorific namings described in Subsections 1.1.1 – 1.1.3.

1.2 Prospective donors or honorees must be consulted about the proposed name and informed about the approval process, which may involve input from several offices and final approval of the Board. If naming occurs posthumously, the individual’s immediate family, if any, should be consulted.

1.3 Facilities should be named in such a way as to denote their general objective or use. A building name may include a designation, such as auditorium, center, gymnasium, hall, institute, school, or laboratory.

1.4 Eponyms must exemplify the values of the university. Their integrity and reputation must be beyond reproach.

2. Required Funding Levels

2.1 Programs and Existing Units

2.1.1 Academic or non-academic Program. The Vice Chancellor to which the Program reports, in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, shall recommend to the Chancellor the appropriate gift amount given the nature and impact of the Program.

2.1.2 College, school, institute, department, or academic or administrative unit. The specific level for each Program to be named will be determined by the Provost and Chancellor in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement.

2.1.3 Program centers (academic and administrative).

a. A minimum of a $5M endowment gift is needed to name a Program center.

b. The Chancellor, with concurrence of the Provost and in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, may approve an alternate funding plan that serves the best interests of the university.

2.2 Facilities

2.2.1 New Facilities or additions to existing Facilities. At least 50 percent of the total project funding for the project.

2.2.2 Renovations. For total renovation costs under $5 million, 100 percent. For total renovation costs of $5 million or more, at least 50 percent.

2.2.3 Outdoor spaces. One hundred percent of the total project cost.

2.2.4 Endowed landscapes. The Director of Planning and the Allerton Park and Retreat Center or Arboretum, as the case may be, will establish the required amount of monetary gift or gift in kind based on the proposed scope of the project and required future maintenance. See Campus Policy for Endowed Landscapes (IV-6.1).

2.3 In all cases, the Chancellor in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement may review donor funding levels and approve an alternate funding amount or gift structure to satisfy the intent of this policy.

2.4 Naming opportunities generally will not be recognized through a deferred gift until the gift    funds are accessible; however, naming opportunities may be considered through a blended gift strategy or an irrevocable deferred gift at the discounted present value under special circumstances where current cash flow is not a consideration.

2.5 Naming opportunities that include gifts in-kind may be considered when the market value of the gifted tangible property (real or personal) exceeds the appropriate threshold and current cash flow is not a consideration.

2.6 See Policy on Commemorative Plaques for Plantings, Objects and Interior Spaces (IV-6)

3. Gift Procedures

3.1 Gifts must be current use gifts and may include a maximum five-year pledge unless an exception is approved by the Chancellor in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement and University of Illinois Foundation president.

3.2 A formal gift agreement among the university, University of Illinois Foundation, and donor must be signed before a Facility or Program is named.

3.3 Gifts should be directed to the University of Illinois Foundation.

3.4 Gifts must comply with IRS guidelines regarding charitable contributions.

3.5 Prior to any discussion with a prospective donor regarding specific naming opportunities, units should consult with the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement to assure the appropriateness of the gift levels required for the project.

3.6 The Chancellor will periodically review the minimum gift levels detailed in this policy in consultation with the Vice Chancellor for Advancement and the University of Illinois Foundation.

4. Criteria and Procedure for Renaming or Removal of Name

4.1 The length of time that a corporate or foundation name will remain on a Facility will be determined on a case-by-case basis and set forth in the donor agreement.

4.2 In the case of naming a Facility, unless otherwise authorized by the Board, the name of the donor or honoree should be effective for the useful life of the Facility.

4.3 When a Facility or Program is proposed for renaming, university officials will make all reasonable efforts to inform in advance the original donors, honorees, or members of their immediate family.

4.4 A second name may be added to a Facility or Program in recognition of a significant gift, such as in the case of a Facility renovation. The adding of a second name must adhere to the naming procedures in this policy with consideration of the original gift terms.

4.5 In extreme circumstances it may be necessary to remove an eponym if it is in the best interest of the university. Removal should be done judiciously and should involve the Chancellor, the Office of University Counsel, the President, and the Board.

4.6 If the minimum funding requirement set forth in the gift agreement is not achieved, and the gift agreement does not otherwise allow for alternative uses, then the Chancellor may, in accordance with the gift agreement, either terminate the account and expend the funds or transfer the funds to an appropriate endowment fund. If the pledge is not fulfilled, the naming opportunity may be forfeited.

5. Guidelines Regarding Signage

When an entire Facility is named for an individual, the honoree’s name may appear on university signage and on maps as appropriate. Signage shall comply with all relevant university signage policies.

6. Restrictions – University Landmarks

Certain Facilities and other property on the campus should never be named due to their historic nature as a university landmark, including but not limited to: Alma Mater, Illini Union, Memorial Stadium, and the Quad.


In rare cases, the Chancellor may grant exceptions to this policy.


Questions regarding proposals to name Facilities should be directed to the Facilities & Services Planning Division, (217) 244-8817. Questions regarding proposals to name Programs should be directed to the Office of the Chancellor 333-6290.