Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Community Relations
Authoring Organisational Unit
Development and Alumni Relations - Central Unit
Date Approved
19/02/2002 Revised 02/07/2003
Approving Body

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Naming Rights for Academic Positions, Facilities and Landscape Features

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy sets out the principles that apply to recognising an individual or an organisation who has supported the University through distinguished service or an outstanding contribution by naming an academic position, facility or landscape feature of the University in their honour.


In this policy and any associated procedures,

the University means The University of Western Australia

Policy statement:

1 General

1.1 The University of Western Australia may recognise a person or an organisation who has supported the University through distinguished service or an outstanding contribution by naming academic positions, facilities, landscape features or similar in their honour.

1.2 Naming opportunities encompassed by this policy include the following entities:

  • academic positions (normally professorships);
  • buildings or sections of buildings where the identification refers to the building itself or an external feature such as a wing;
  • sections of buildings, such as theatres, laboratories, conference, lecture, seminar and tutorial rooms where the identification refers to an internal feature;
  • outdoor facilities and areas, such as gardens, courtyards, ovals, playing fields, plazas, roads, walkways, ornamental structures, pools and fountains;
  • other entities or collections recommended for naming after consultation with the Vice-Chancellor.

1.3 When recognition is on account of a financial donation or endowment, the entity may be named directly after the benefactor, or it may retain, or be given a functional title after which the benefactor may be recorded as the sponsor.


1.1 Proposals for naming must be submitted to the Development and Alumni Relations office.

1.2 The Development and Alumni Relations office will consult with Facilities Management (Planning and Design) in the case of facilities and features, and the appropriate faculty in the case of new academic positions, before seeking endorsement from the Vice-Chancellor.

1.3 If endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor, the proposal will be forwarded to the Senate Development Committee, which will make a recommendation to Senate.

1.4 Faculties are required to make a case to the Academic Council/Senate for the establishment or refilling of all professorships.

1.5 In cases where a faculty is proposing a named professorship, the proposal must be incorporated in the case for the position.

1.6 The various elements of the proposal will be channelled to the Senate through the appropriate committees.

2 Naming

2.1 Academic positions

2.1.1 The establishment of a new professorship is the principal means the University has of reinvigorating an established academic area and of developing a new one.

2.1.2 Given the cost of establishing a new professorship, and operating it over a minimum five year period it is likely that most developments of this kind will be externally funded through a major grant which yields the necessary recurrent income.

2.1.3 Naming rights for professorships are normally restricted to those companies or individuals who contribute the funding from which the recurrent costs of filling the professorship are derived.

2.1.4 Normally it is not appropriate for professorships to be named after distinguished professors of the University as the University may face a problem of measuring levels of distinction where by definition all of the University's appointees of this kind should be distinguished in their own field. Naming a professorship after a distinguished professor may be considered where the professor has contributed directly and significantly to the cost of establishing the professorship. In exceptional circumstances, such as where a fund-raising campaign for the professorship depends directly on the naming of the professorship after a distinguished person, the Vice-Chancellor may recommend such naming be approved.

2.2 Buildings

2.2.1 All buildings on the University campus must have an official name which is registered by Facilities Management, and used for mapping and signposting. An important component of the name wherever possible should be a descriptor of the primary function of the building (e.g. The Anthropology Museum). Buildings must also be given a reference number for ease of identification e.g. on a map in case of emergency.

2.2.2 Naming buildings for individuals A proposal for naming a building (or significant and identifiable section of a building) in honour of a person will normally be considered when that person:

  • is a major benefactor who makes a direct and major contribution to the capital cost of constructing the building (normally 100% of cost but *less may be considered in exceptional circumstances); or
  • has given extraordinarily distinguished service to the University that merits recognition in the University's history (on special recommendation by the Vice-Chancellor to, and subsequent approval by Senate).

2.2.3 Naming buildings for organisations The University will consider the naming of a building in recognition of an organisation which is a benefactor when that organisation:

normally provides 100% of the capital cost of the building but *less may be considered in exceptional circumstances

*Major contributions less than 100% of cost would normally be negotiated and directed towards an identifiable part or feature of the building

2.3 Lecture theatres, laboratories, walks, gardens and other facilities

2.3.1 Proposals may be considered for naming parts of buildings or outdoor features on receiving assurance of endowments or continuing funds, at an appropriate level, from individuals or organisations.

2.4 Facilities will not normally be named to honour persons who have no formal connection with the University unless they are major benefactors.

2.5 Names of faculty and staff to be bestowed on UWA facilities and landscape features will not normally be considered until after that member's formal relationship with the University has concluded.

2.6 Unless Senate determines otherwise, an individual's or organisation's name may be used only once in naming a University position or facility.

2.7 Negotiations for the naming rights for a particular facility may be initiated by the Vice-Chancellor, by faculties, or through the Office of Development with a benefactor or other interested parties.

2.8 Commemorative plaques may be used to recognise endowments in appropriate locations. The style of such plaques must be consistent with normal University policy at the time.

2.9 When a proposal involves the use of the name of a deceased person, Senate's approval is contingent on the agreement of that person's next of kin.

2.10 Where a major building project is to be undertaken a tailored naming policy may be proposed for the building, or parts of the building and its environs. Such a policy will require the endorsement of the Vice-Chancellor and the Senate Development Committee, which will refer the matter to Senate for its decision.

2.11 In the event that the flow of funds agreed to constitute an endowment ceases before the agreed time, the Vice-Chancellor may recommend to Senate that the use of the benefactor's name be discontinued.

3 Tenure of Naming Rights

3.1 As a general rule all named facilities are reviewed every ten years but this will not affect an agreement except in the following circumstances.

3.1.1 On occasion a named building or landscape feature may have to be demolished. If this occurs, the University would apply naming rights to another or subsequent appropriate building for the remaining agreed period but only after consultation with the original donor.

3.2 Generally, naming rights may be granted for a minimum of five years, as anything less may generate confusion.

3.3 Naming in perpetuity may only be considered when a gift of a capital fund will generate sufficient funds in perpetuity.

3.4 A clause shall be inserted in all naming rights contracts to allow the University to withdraw from such an agreement if the name of an individual or organisation, which has been bestowed upon a facility, comes into disrepute in the University or in the general community. In such an instance the Vice-Chancellor would recommend to Senate that the use of the name be discontinued, and the relevant contractual clause invoked.

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Director, Office of Development

Related Policies or legislation:

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