Naming University Facilities at Oklahoma State University


It is the policy of the Board for Oklahoma State University to promote the historical significance of facilities named in the past, maintain uniformity in facility names, and provide procedures for naming future facilities and for renaming existing facilities when that becomes necessary. In some instances, buildings and other facilities have been named in honor of friends, benefactors, and other persons who have made significant contributions to Oklahoma State University, or to education in Oklahoma or the nation. Other University buildings and facilities have been named to describe their general functions or use. Nothing in this policy is intended to restrict the Board of Regents from initiating and approving a naming action for any naming opportunity covered by this policy. The following guidelines will apply for naming University facilities (A separate policy applies to Connors State College, Langston University, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and Oklahoma Panhandle State University – See Policy Statement 2.06.):


Policy Implementation.



Oklahoma State University’s Facilities Planning and Space Utilization Committee is responsible for implementing the requirements contained in this policy [see OSU Policy 1-0123].



Oklahoma State University shall maintain such other policies as required for the orderly maintenance of facility names in relationship to OSU’s overall physical facilities inventory [see OSU Policy 1-0111]. Such policies shall not supersede the guidelines and procedures outlined in this Board policy.





In all instances where the words “person,” “individual,” or “donor” are used in this policy to relate to persons in whose honor facilities are named, the same shall be deemed to include corporations or other appropriate legal entities.



“The Committee” or “FPSU Committee” refers to the Facilities Planning and Space Utilization Committee.



For the purpose of this policy, “Facilities” refers to buildings, malls, plazas, architectural landscapes, and streets.


Qualifications and Procedures for Selecting Honorees.



In cases when facilities are named after individuals, the credentials, character, and reputation of each individual for whom facilities are named shall be carefully scrutinized and evaluated. The Board expects discretion of the highest caliber to be exercised in such deliberations. Nominations submitted to the Board for consideration and action must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.



Facilities may be named for persons who have rendered significant service to education in Oklahoma or the nation; or who have distinguished themselves in the work of a college, campus, discipline, or department at OSU or elsewhere; or who are indigenous to the area and hold a unique place in history.



Facilities also may be named for persons who have made a substantial gift to the University through the Oklahoma State University Foundation. A “substantial gift” is usually defined as at least 50 percent of the cost of a construction project, although it is appropriate to negotiate this percentage with the University through the OSU Foundation. A financial gift will not necessarily result in the naming of a building in honor of the donor.



University Facilities shall not be named for persons active as OSU faculty, staff or administrators, active members of the Board, or persons active in positions relating to University operations, such as legislators and members of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.


The Naming of Buildings.



To facilitate navigation and record keeping (including but not limited to space inventory, equipment inventory, building maintenance, utilities, and insurance records) an official building name shall be assigned to each (1) building existing or constructed by OSU on any property either owned or leased by OSU; (2) building presently owned, occupied, or constructed by government agencies or other groups or associations on OSU owned or leased properties, whether or not it reverts to OSU ownership when vacated; (3) building in which OSU rents or leases space; (4) building owned or occupied by University-related organizations that exist solely for the benefit of the University’s mission.



Without specific action by the Board, the name of a new building will be the name that was assigned as the project building name, which appears on the construction documents at the time of their final approval and bidding. The project name will be assigned by Facilities Management or Long Range Facilities Planning ("LRFP") during the design phase of the project in consultation with appropriate University administrators and in consultation with the University department or departments sponsoring the project. The FPSU Committee or Board may request a review of the building name.



Once a building name is assigned and made part of the official University building inventory, its name will not change unless a request for change is considered, evaluated, and accepted through the procedures outlined in this policy [see sections 9.1-9.10]. Because of the large amount of staff work involved in changing inventory and maintenance records, and because of the potential for confusion and the cost of replacing signage, stationery, class schedules, maps, and other published material, the names of buildings should not be changed without careful deliberation and without offering a well-documented benefit to OSU.



No Facility will be renamed without considering the historical or other meaningful significance of the Facility's present name related to the University's existence and/or past development. Additionally, the potential costs of any and all structural changes to the Facility and other less tangible costs to the University's image or reputation brought about by a name change must be considered.



To minimize exterior lettering and space required for listings in databases, directories, mailing addresses, class schedules, and so forth, the Board prefers (but does not require) that a building name assigned to honor an individual should include the person’s surname only, such as “Bennett Memorial Chapel,” “Iba Hall,” and “The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts.”



When buildings are named to honor individuals, the designation of “Hall” also should be considered. Examples of this are “McElroy Hall” (changed from “Veterinary Medicine”) and “Stout Hall.” In some instances, the “Hall” designation is not appropriate. In those cases, it may be best to include in the building name a reference to its use or function, e.g., “Bennett Memorial Chapel.”



Because its use in building names is redundant in most cases, the word “Building” should not appear in a building’s official name. The designation “Building” may be added to the name if it is determined that, without it, the name would be unusual or cumbersome.



Incorporation of a building’s use in its name is appropriate in many instances, e.g., “Noble Research Center” and “Civil Engineering Laboratory.” However, because a building’s use may change over its lifetime, it is suggested that a building not be given a strict use-dependent name if the name assigned could not logically endure a foreseeable change in building function.


The Naming of Portions of Buildings.



Major Portions of Buildings. A recognizable subunit, section, or wing of a new or existing building may be named separately from the official building name to recognize an outstanding individual or a donor wishing to contribute the cost of a portion of a building, major equipment item, major art features, and so forth [see section 7.3].



Suites and Rooms. Donors who wish to construct or furnish lounges, suites of offices, laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms, and so forth, or outstanding individuals recognized by a department may be honored by having their names associated with the subject areas [see section 7.4].

  5.3 Board Approval Not Required.  Recognition of a donor or association of a donor's name pursuant to sections 5.1 and 5.2 shall not require Board approval, but shall be submitted to the Board as informational items.


The Naming of Other Facilities.



Malls, Plazas and Architectural Landscapes. The Board prefers that Malls, Plazas and Architectural Landscapes (such as the “International Mall” and “Theta Pond”) should not be named for individuals.



Streets. The names of streets within University property may be changed to honor historical events, places, or persons. However, such a change must be taken with great care and only after much deliberation. Street names should be changed only when the change will present OSU with a significant and well-documented advantage. In authorizing the change of a street name, the Board must consider not only possible effects on University property but also surrounding community interests. As changes in street names are considered, OSU authorities will consult with the appropriate representatives of local government(s) (such as the City of Stillwater) to consider any concerns that these officials may have with the proposed change.


Signage and Memorials.



To the extent feasible, a uniform system of external marking of buildings with their names will be adopted. Metallic, non-corrosive letters that are affixed to the exterior of a building as approved by OSU University Architect at LRFP shall be used. The LRFP University Architect shall also approve the specific location of the placement of the building name on the exterior of the building.



A suitable plaque recognizing the name of an honoree whose name appears in a building name should be located in the lobby of the building or other appropriate interior location. The plaque shall give the full name and brief biography of the honoree. Plaques should be consistent in size and design and shall be approved by the LRFP University Architect.



In the case of portions of buildings [see section 5.1], the name of an honoree should be recognized with a suitable memorial plaque located in an appropriate interior location. The plaque shall acknowledge the honoree and include a short description of the honoree’s background and relationship with the University. The size and design of such plaques should be consistent with each other and shall be approved by the LRFP University Architect. Unless the name of the individual honoree is included in the official name of the building (such as “Smith” or “Morsani” in “Morsani-Smith Hall”), the name of the individual should not appear in signage on the exterior of the building or in official building lists, directories, mailing addresses, class schedules, or maps.



Individuals recognized by having their names associated with suites and rooms [see section 5.2] should be honored with an attractive plaque installed on the entry door or another appropriate interior location. The plaque shall acknowledge the reason for recognition and be consistent with that described in section 7.3, above.



The name of an academic department or other organizational unit of the University shall not appear in signage affixed to the exterior of a building unless the name is included in the official name of the building.



Any signage or exterior memorials to recognize the names and historical significance of malls, plazas, architectural landscapes, and any exceptions to section 7.4, above, shall be approved only after the FPSU Committee has made a thorough investigation into the implications of their construction on campus character, beautification, safety, and site maintenance.



All new buildings should include an exterior memorial plaque which recognizes the senior leadership involved in bringing the building to fruition, including the members of the Board of Regents at the time the building was approved.  Other than building name lettering affixed to the exterior of a building conforming to section 7.1, other external memorials to a building name’s honoree in the form of free-standing statuary, kiosks, signs, pedestals, and so forth are discouraged.



All signage and memorials addressed in this policy shall be constructed or installed only by OSU Facilities Management or its designated agent(s).


Retirement of Facility Names.



When OSU buildings and other Facilities are demolished, their names shall be retired from service for historical purposes except as provided in section 8.2.



The names of minor buildings (barns, sheds, storage buildings, garages, and other simple or rural structures with little or no historical significance) may be re-used when the building is demolished and replaced with a new structure.





Except as otherwise provided in this policy, Facility names must be approved by the Board.



Facility naming requests shall be presented to the FPSU Committee. After the FPSU Committee has made its determination, the Committee’s recommendation will be delivered to the President of the University for consideration. The President will present final recommendations for Facility names to the Board for final action.

  9.3 Before any Facility (including, but not limited to, buildings, gyms, stadiums, arenas, plazas, rooms, etc.) that is financed or funded by issuance of tax exempt bonds is named in honor of a person or entity, University administrators shall consult with the Board's Office of Legal Counsel to ensure that any applicable Internal Revenue Service rules or guidelines are complied with, so as to not negate the tax exempt status of the bonds.



Communications with OSU’s FPSU Committee should be made through the Committee’s Chairperson.



Recommendations for naming a Facility assigned to a specific academic or administrative unit will normally originate from that particular unit. Requests for naming Facilities also may be submitted by other internal or external individuals or organizations, including the OSU Foundation and the OSU Alumni Association.



The FPSU Committee, in its oversight role, may act on its own initiative and generate recommendations to the President. In those cases, the Committee will seek input from relevant University sources, and other sources as may be necessary, to aid them in forming their recommendations.



Minor buildings (barns, sheds, storage buildings, garages, and other simple or rural structures); buildings in which OSU rents or leases space but does not own the buildings; and buildings owned, constructed, and occupied by others on University property (when OSU has no direct or continuing interest in the function within the buildings) may be added to the official building inventory list with names assigned to them administratively without submission to, or action by, the FPSU Committee or the Board.



Buildings on OSU branch campuses outside of the Stillwater area may be added to OSU’s official building inventory with names assigned to them administratively without submission to, or action by, the FPSU Committee or Board. Names for the buildings should be supplied by officials on the branch campuses. Policies and procedures for naming facilities on respective branch campuses shall apply.



Corrections to Facility names necessitated by misspellings or inaccurate content in FPSU Committee or Board communications or minutes may be made administratively without further action by either the Committee or Board when the intent of the content or initial action is clearly understood and followed.



All administrative actions relative to those described in paragraphs 9.7, 9.8, and 9.9, above, will be performed under the auspices of the Director of Facilities Management, whose appointed representative will perform the actions in concert with the Office of Budget and Asset Management and in close consultation with the department to which the affected Facility is assigned. All administrative actions to change building names or add buildings to the official building inventory as allowed in this policy are subject to review by the FPSU Committee or the Board at the request of the Committee, Board, or department.

Approved Date: 
November 19, 1976
Revised Date: 
November 5, 1993
June 20, 1997
October 29, 1999
January 19, 2007
December 1, 2017