University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Naming Policy

Approved October 1996

Amended November 2002

Approved by the Board of Trustees December 2002

Amended May 2012

Amended December 2013

Table of Contents

  1. Background
  2. Purpose 
  3. Scope
  4. General Naming Policy

Naming Approvals Procedure

Naming of Academic Units Procedure


1. Background

The naming of university activities or property is a well-established custom at Queen's University. From named Chairs and awards to named buildings and gardens, Queen's University welcomes the opportunity to honour those who have rendered outstanding service to the University, the Province of Ontario, to Canada, or internationally. It also welcomes the opportunity to honour individuals whose generous philanthropic benefactions make possible the construction or restoration of buildings, the establishment of endowed chairs, the development of programs.

2. Purpose

2.1 Several factors govern the granting of named recognition at Queen's University:
  1. a protocol to establish recognition to those who render outstanding benefaction and/or exemplary service to the University;
  2. consistency in the tributes paid by the University to its supporters;
  3. appropriate utilization of the very limited number of naming opportunities;1
  4. guidance for those responsible for discussions with donors.

3. Scope

3.1 This policy guides the granting of named recognition at Queen's University for:
  1. buildings, parts of buildings, facilities and common or green spaces;
  2. faculties, schools, departments and other academic units;
  3. research programs and centres;
  4. lectureships, special lecture series, awards for excellence in teaching, research, or performance of other academic responsibilities;
  5. student assistance funds;
  6. academic positions;
  7. such other entities as the University may see fit to name in order to recognize service or philanthropic donations2

All considerations for named recognition must be guided by advice from the Office of Advancement, Department of Stewardship and Donor Relations. 


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4. General Naming Policy


The decision to accept or decline any new proposal to name at Queen's University or to discontinue or transfer an existing named space rests with the Board of Trustees.3


Consistent with Queen's University's Gift Acceptance Policy 4, the acceptance of any philanthropic donation which involves a proposal to name is conditional upon approval of the naming by the Board of Trustees.5

4.3 Naming of academic units shall not impede the University from altering its academic and research priorities and shall conform to all University policies and guidelines governing the establishment of such entities.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Policy, no naming will be approved or, once approved, continued that could reasonably compromise the University's public image, reputation or commitment to its academic mission and values.  The decision to decline or discontinue a naming rests with the Board of Trustees as recommended by the Advancement Gift Review Committee.


No name will be approved that will imply the University's endorsement of a partisan political or ideological position or of a commercial product. This does not preclude a naming with the name of an individual who has at one time held public office or with the name of an individual or a company that manufactures or distributes commercial products.

4.6 When named recognition has been granted for a gift received, it will be honoured in perpetuity or for a limited time. In the event of changed circumstances, e.g. if a facility no longer exists, the University reserves the right to determine the form that such perpetual recognition shall take.
4.7 According to the specifics of the gift agreement, it may be appropriate to offer named recognition for a limited period of time. In this case, Queen's is obligated to honour the name for that period of time, subject to renewal of the opportunity.  Continuation of the naming is contingent upon the funding and the nature of the specific gift agreement.

The Board of Trustees may choose to grant recognition through a naming provided that the donor will provide all or a major part of the cost of funding a facility or activity.


"Major" is deemed to mean either a significant part of the cost, or a contribution which is regarded as central to the completion of the facility or activity, and represents a substantial part of its value.

4.9 Provisions in this Policy that refer to naming for a benefactor also in general apply to naming for a third party at the wish of a benefactor.
4.10 Only in exceptional circumstances will facilities or activities be named to honour outstanding service of members of faculty or staff while the honouree remains in the full time employment of the University. Members of faculty and staff making philanthropic donations remain eligible for naming recognition.
4.11 The University Secretariat shall be responsible for maintaining and updating an inventory of named facilities.
4.12 The Office of Advancement shall advise on consistent application of current, approved naming policies with respect to recognition of philanthropic donations.

The University Secretariat shall advise on consistent application of current, approved naming policies with respect to recognition of outstanding service.


The University reserves the right to decide on the physical displays which may accompany named recognition.


Plaques or other signs recognizing donors and named spaces shall be of a generally uniform design and consistent with the University's branding guidelines. The Office of Advancement shall be consulted on all named space recognition signage.


When determining the funding requirement for new entities, and/or to renovate, refurbish and equip existing entities, the cost of ongoing support and maintenance must be considered.  Recognition and stewardship activities associated with a naming will be planned and implemented by the Office of Advancement. All other related costs (signage, lettering, etc) will be the responsibility of the unit initiating the project. 


 This Policy does not apply to sponsorship arrangements negotiated with the University.


The Naming Policy Guidelines Document is maintained by the Office of Advancement and the University Secretariat.  Refer to Naming Approvals Procedure below. 

APPENDIX ONE: Related Policies

Queen's University's Gift Acceptance Policy

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1 Spaces available for naming are by definition limited. This affects the University's future ability to honour benefactions or distinguished contributions of service. Other ways of recognizing outstanding individuals should be considered.

2 Refers to philanthropic donations made to Queen's University and its affiliated organizations, including the Crown Foundation at Queen's University at Kingston and the U.S. Foundation for Queen's University at Kingston.

3 In the case of named academic appointments (i.e. Chairs, Professorships), or named awards (i.e. scholarships, awards and bursaries), details of the terms of reference, including proposed namings, are developed by the respective academic unit and approved by the University Senate only.  However the final approval of named recognition remains with the Board of Trustees and if the University Secretary (whose role includes Secretary of the Senate and Secretary of the Board of Trustees) identifies a concern with respect to a proposed naming, the Secretary shall refer the matter to the Board of Trustees for final decision.

4 See Queen's University's Gift Acceptance Policy 

5 When schedules for naming opportunities and the level of philanthropic donation required for each have been developed, gifts given at the established level will be accepted, and a proposal to name will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for approval.