Naming University Facilities at OSU

2.16
This Policy sets forth guidelines for naming or renaming Facilities on the campuses of OSU.  Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to restrict the Board from initiating or approving a name for any particular Facility. A separate policy applies to Connors State College, Langston University, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and Oklahoma Panhandle State University – See Policy No. 2.17.

(1) Policy Implementation.

  1. Before any Facility that is financed or funded by issuance of tax exempt bonds is named in honor of a person or entity, OSU administrators shall consult with the Board’s Office of Legal Counsel to ensure that any applicable Internal Revenue Service rules or guidelines are followed, so as to not negate the tax exempt status of the bonds. 
  2. OSU shall maintain such internal policies as required for the procedures to name, change a name and maintain Facility names in relationship to OSU’s overall physical facilities inventory [see OSU Policy 1-0111]. Such procedures shall not supersede the guidelines outlined in this Board Policy.

(2) Definitions.

  1. 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.
  2. For the purpose of this Policy, “Facilities” refers to buildings, arenas, stadiums, malls, plazas, architectural landscapes, and streets.
  3. For purposes of this Policy, “Buildings” shall include all structures commonly housing or hosting people, workplaces, classes, and athletic events.

(3) Guidelines for Selecting Honorees.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Facilities also may be named for persons who have made a substantial gift to OSU through the OSU Foundation. A “substantial gift” is usually defined as at least 50 percent of the construction cost, to be covered by private funds, although it is appropriate to negotiate this percentage with OSU through the OSU Foundation. A financial gift will not necessarily result in the naming of a Facility in honor of the donor.
  4. Except as allowed by subsection (3) (C) above, 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 OSRHE.

(4) Naming of Buildings.

  1. 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 (i) Building existing or constructed by OSU on any property either owned or leased by OSU; (ii) 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; (iii) Building in which OSU rents or leases space; and (iv) Building owned or occupied by OSU-related organizations that exist solely for the benefit of OSU’s mission.
  2. 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 FM or LRFP during the design phase of the project in consultation with appropriate OSU administrators and in consultation with the OSU department or departments sponsoring the project. The Board may request a review of the Building name.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Recognition of a person or association of a person’s name pursuant to this Section shall require specific Board approval.

(5) Naming of Portions of Buildings.

  1. 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) (C) below].
  2. 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) (D)]. 
  3. Board Approval Not Required.  Recognition of a person or association of a person’s name pursuant to this Section shall not require Board approval, but shall be submitted to the Board as informational items.  

(6) Naming of Other Facilities.

  1. Malls, Plazas and Architectural Landscapes. The Board prefers that malls, plazas and architectural landscapes (such as the “International Mall” and “Theta Pond”) not be named for individuals.
  2. Streets. The names of streets within OSU 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 OSU 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.
  3. Recognition of a person or association of a person’s name pursuant to this Section shall require specific Board approval.

(7) Signage and Memorials.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In the case of portions of Buildings [see Section (5) (A)], 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 OSU. 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.
  4. Individuals recognized by having their names associated with suites and rooms [see Section (5) (B)] 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 (C) immediately above.
  5. The name of an academic department or other organizational unit of OSU shall not appear in signage affixed to the exterior of a Building unless the name is included in the official name of the Building.
  6. Any signage or exterior memorials to recognize the names and historical significance of malls, plazas, architectural landscapes, and any exceptions to (7) (D) above, shall be approved only after a thorough investigation into the implications of their construction on campus character, beautification, safety and site maintenance.
  7. 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 at the time the Building was approved. Other than Building name lettering affixed to the exterior of a Building conforming to Section (7) (A), other external memorials to a Building name’s honoree in the form of free-standing statuary, kiosks, signs, pedestals and so forth are discouraged.
  8. All signage and memorials addressed in this Policy shall be constructed or installed only by OSU FM or its designated agent(s).

(8) Changing Names of Facilities.

  1. 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 Facilities should not be changed without careful deliberation and without offering a well-documented benefit to OSU.
  2. No Facility will be renamed without considering the historical or other meaningful significance of the Facility's present name related to OSU'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 OSU's image or reputation brought about by a name change must be considered.
  3. OSU is expected to adopt a formal policy delineating the proper procedural steps to be taken and items to be considered when a name change for a Facility is sought.
  4. A Facility name may not be changed without specific Board approval.

(9) Retirement of Facility Names.

  1. When OSU Buildings and other Facilities are demolished, their names shall be retired from service for historical purposes except as provided in (B) immediately below.
  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.
Amended Date: 
December 1, 2017
June 22, 2018