Naming University Property

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from University Policy Manual (UPM) 2.2(5) through 2.2(10)
Updated/Revised: January 2008
Contact: Office of the President


The President's Advisory Committee on Naming University Property has the responsibility of recommending to the president names for university property. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, also must approve naming of buildings and facilities, except for minor unit or functional or generic names, as provided by Regents Policy Manual, Section 2.3.16.

For the purposes of this policy, "university property" includes university buildings, streets, and outdoor spaces.

Policy Statement

Naming of any university property is the decision of the university president and, in some cases, that of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

Criteria for Naming Buildings

  • Generally, major buildings are named for distinguished individuals who have made extraordinary contributions of a scholarly, professional, or public service nature related to the university's mission.
  • In some cases, buildings also may be named for major donors to the construction of the building.
  • A building not named for an individual must be identified in a manner that is descriptive of its function.
  • Confusion with or duplication of existing names used on buildings, streets, roads or residence system houses must be avoided.

Criteria for Naming Sections of Buildings and Outdoor Spaces

  • Sections of buildings that have a discrete function and are of significant value such as an auditorium, a major conference room, a special classroom, a seminar room or a laboratory may be named independently of the building.
  • Sections of buildings are generally named for donors who have played major roles in equipping, renovating, or constructing that portion of the building.
  • Alternatively, sections of buildings may be named for members of the academic community whose outstanding work is associated with the function of the space to be named.
  • Naming of outdoor spaces will follow the criteria above for sections of buildings.

Criteria for Naming Streets

Campus streets may be named for individuals, unique service or building proximity (e.g., Union Drive, Morrill Road). Generally, streets running north and south should be designated as roads and those running east and west should be designated as drives. Where appropriate, the continuation of a city street through the campus may bear the city street name.

Proposals and Approvals

  • University alumni, students, staff, faculty or administrators may initiate a naming proposal for university property through their reporting structure. If endorsed within the division, the relevant vice president may submit naming proposals to the university president for consideration.
  • The president may refer naming proposals to the President's Advisory Committee on Naming University Property.
  • The President's Advisory Committee on Naming University Property is appointed by the president and may include representation from various university contingencies (faculty, staff, students, and administrators). The committee reviews naming proposals and nominations (when the name of an individual is proposed) and transmits its recommendations to the president. The president's approval and that of the Board of Regents, when needed, must precede the implementation of the naming.

Building Groundbreakings and Dedications

The Office of the President will generally be responsible for plans for building groundbreakings and dedications; the president's designee will coordinate both planning and the events. The president's designee will work with the ISU Foundation concerning dedication audiences, the appropriate university offices and programs who will be using the new facilities, and also will be responsible for organizing and submitting to the president the appropriate documentation for the proposed actions, details concerning timing, appropriate publicity, tentative budgets, and outlines for either the groundbreaking or dedication ceremonies.