160  Naming of Facilities and Building Plaques

Approved by Board of Trustees
Effective Date: September 13, 2022
Responsible Division: Business and Finance
Responsible Office:  Campus Planning
Responsible Officer: Assistant Vice President, Campus Planning

I. Purpose

This policy establishes the criteria and process for naming of buildings and facilities governed by the Middle Tennessee State University Board of Trustees (Board).

II. General Statement

The naming of buildings, grounds, organizational units, and other identifiable physical features of institutions (facility/facilities) for individuals or groups, who have made significant contributions to society, is an honored tradition of higher education.

The prerogative and privilege of naming facilities are vested in the Board. Authority to name identifiable sub-units or components of facilities, however, is delegated to the President, subject to this policy and the criteria and process set forth therein.

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) will utilize the following guidelines for determining recommendations for naming all University facilities. The guidelines also apply to organizational units which the University wishes to dedicate in the name of an individual or group.

Facilities designated by their general purpose or functions are not subject to this policy.

III. Process

The Building Naming Advisory Committee (Committee) shall consider and make recommendations to the President for naming purposes. The Committee shall consider all suggested naming which satisfies the criteria set forth herein. Any individual or group associated with the University may suggest a name for consideration by the Committee.

The Committee shall submit a report to the President, which includes a recommendation for the naming, documentation of all suggestions considered, and justification of its recommendation.

For namings that require Board approval, the President shall submit a recommendation, along with the Committee's report and any additional supporting information deemed appropriate, to the Board.  

No publicity shall be given to the recommendation for naming until the Board considers the recommendation. 

For namings not subject to Board approval, the President shall determine, and make known, the naming in the manner deemed most appropriate.

IV. Criteria

A.  General. Individuals and groups for whom facilities are named must have made a significant contribution to the field of education, government, science, or human betterment. To preserve the integrity of all facilities, this honor must be reserved for individuals of recognized accomplishment and character; no facility may bear the name of an individual convicted of a felony.

With respect to the naming of facilities, special consideration shall be given to:

1.  The historical significance of the contribution of the individual or group to the University.

2.  The association of the individual or group with the facility to be named.

3.  Any financial contribution of the individual or group to the University.

4.  State, regional, national, or international recognition of the contributions and achievements of the individual(s) or group(s).

B.  Naming in honor of an individual (no gift involved)

1.  A proposed honoree shall have achieved distinction while serving the University in an academic, administrative, or support capacity, or have contributed in exceptional ways to the betterment of the University, State of Tennessee, or education in general.

2.  No current employee of the University, and no individual who has been an employee of the University within the previous three (3) years, shall be proposed for a naming in his/her honor.

C.  Naming for a benefactor (gift involved)  

1.  A facility may be named for an individual or organization benefactor who makes a significant contribution toward the costs of initial construction or renovation of a facility, component of a facility, or other physical facility on campus.

2.  It is intended that gifts to name facilities shall fund either the total construction cost of the facility or provide substantial funding for that portion of the total construction cost which would not be available from other sources, as determined on an individual basis.

3.  For projects included in the University's facilities master plan, whether they are new facilities, existing facilities, or components of a facility, a sliding scale is used to determine the actual funds required; however, a commitment of no less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the cost of construction or renovation is expected.

4.  For new facilities not included in the University’s academic and/or facilities master plans, and proposed by an external individual or organization, one hundred percent (100%) of the cost of construction would be required.

D.  An individual or organization donor making a substantial gift to the University, or a specific college or unit, but a gift which is not designated for a new or existing facility, may be recognized by the naming of a facility, component of a facility, or other campus facility. In this instance, the magnitude of the gift should be consistent with the general gift levels for naming facilities.

E.  An individual can only have one (1) facility named for them; however, they can have more than one (1) component of a facility naming.

F.  In all cases, naming rights are considered to be in effect for the duration of the effective and typical useful life of the physical facility, space, or object, and not in perpetuity. If necessary, the University reserves the right to remove a name associated with any physical facility, space, object, or project at any time if the naming gift pledge remains unfulfilled, or to  protect the reputation of the University and/or the donor.

V. Endowment Funding Levels

An endowment fund may be contributed and named for an individual or organization benefactor, or a specified honoree, to provide a permanent source of funding, for restricted or unrestricted purposes, as specified by the donor.

A.  The following paragraphs provide general guidelines for named endowment categories and minimum funding requirements.

1.  Endowed Faculty Support                                           


Minimum Gift Required

Chair of Excellence



$1,000,000-$ 2,500,000*

Distinguished Professorship

$   500,000


$   250,000

Visiting Scholar

$   250,000

Faculty Award

$   100,000


$   100,000

 *Minimums reflect a baseline for the University. Individual programs may vary due to unique market costs and the associated research and professional costs.

2.  Endowed Student Support

a.  Undergraduate


          Centennial Scholar


          Athletic Position Scholarship       


          Academic and Leadership Performance Scholarship

$  50,000


$  25,000


b.  Graduate






3.  Named Colleges And Academic Units

Endowment gift requirements to name an entire college, school, or other prominent institutional program or unit will be determined on an individual basis, but the following will serve as guidelines:                            

a. Colleges

Minimum Gift Required

Basic & Applied Science


Behavioral & Health Sciences      






Graduate Studies


Liberal Arts




Media and Entertainment


University College




b.  Schools and Departments

Minimum Gift Required



 *It is suggested that at least fifty percent (50%) of the total gift should be used to establish an unrestricted endowment for the ongoing support of the academic unit being named. 

4.  Facilities

a.  Offices

Gift Level Required

Faculty Office       


Dean’s Office       


Dean’s Suite




b.  Classrooms

Gift Level Required



Conference Room


Lecture Hall


Theatre or Performance Hall


B.  Series, artist performance series, libraries, teacher/scholar awards, equipment, and building funds may be established by gifts at a recommended minimum level of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00).

C.  The MTSU Foundation, Inc., generally receives and manages endowed funds for the benefit of the University and the specified purpose of the fund.

D.  The minimum recommended endowment level is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00). An endowment fund may be established within a reasonable period (usually two [2] to five [5] years) agreed upon by the donor and the MTSU Foundation, Inc. A gift or pledge to establish an endowed fund shall be accompanied by a formal, signed document detailing the endowment agreement.

E.  Academic or program units, in consultation with University Development, may offer special endowment naming opportunities at appropriate levels of funding, provided the opportunities are consistent with the general guidelines herein.

F.  Minimum funding requirements for named endowments will be reviewed periodically to ensure that the endowment amount provides an annual distribution consistent with university program requirements and economic conditions.

VI. Dedication Ceremony and Building Plaques

Upon approval of the naming by the Board or the President, an appropriate dedication ceremony may be planned and conducted by the University.

The University also may erect a dedication plaque or comparable marking upon approval of the naming by the Board or President. The plaque may be separate from the building plaque provided by State regulations. In addition to the individual or group for whom the facility is named, the dedication plaque should identify the President and the Chairman of the Board at the time the naming was approved.

The University may choose to erect a building plaque in lieu of, or in addition to, dedication plaques authorized under this policy.

The University may affix a building plaque, which shall include the name of the Governor(s), all State Building Commission members, names of the members of the Board, President, architect, contractor, and state architect from the date of Building Commission approval of a specific project to the completion of the project.

All plaques must comply with this policy and State Building Commission policy on building plaques. This section shall apply to any new or newly renovated facility.

Forms: none.

Revisions: June 5, 2017 (original); September 13, 2022.

Last Reviewed: September 2022.

References: none.