University Administrative Policies


UNM_Policy_Office-L communicates important policy announcements (such as policy approvals, revisions, or campus review-and-comment periods).

UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-2069

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 1020: Honorary Naming Recognition

Date Originally Issued: 12-01-2001
Revised: 09-06-2005, 11-01-2006, 05-10-2017, 12-09-2020, 03-08-2023

Authorized by RPM 2.11 ("Naming Facilities, Spaces, Endowments, and Programs")

Process Owner: Chair, Committee on Naming

1. General

The University welcomes the opportunity to honor those who have rendered extraordinary service or support to UNM. This policy describes the process for obtaining approval to name a facility, space, program, or endowed faculty position in honor of an individual, corporation, or other organization. For the purpose of this policy, “programs” are intended to include major academic and non-academic programmatic entities (such as departments, schools, colleges, institutes, and centers).

The criteria listed in this policy are intended to set reasonable guidelines, but they should be adapted, as needed, to suit specific situations. These guidelines apply to all prospective donors to any University college, program, campus, or organization and to the UNM Foundation.

2. Criteria for Selection of Honorees

Naming a facility, space, program, or endowed faculty position for an individual, organization, or corporation is one of the highest honors that the University can bestow. This recognition is a powerful affirmation of the honoree's connection to the University's mission. As such, honorees shall have exemplary character, an unqualified reputation for honesty, personal integrity, and the highest standards of personal and professional ethics.

2.1. Extraordinary University Service 

Individuals may be considered for naming recognition if they have given extraordinary service to the institution with such exceptional and sustained distinction that their contributions are widely recognized at the University and elsewhere. Proposals for recognition must include supporting materials from a range of individuals or groups with the stature and expertise to provide convincing evidence of such distinction. For recognition to be granted, a committed source of funding must be identified for associated expenses, such as the cost for installation of special signage, plaques, or landscaping. The recognition afforded the honoree may also include private financial contributions related to the naming opportunity. Honorees may not be current employees, individuals in active service at the University, or those holding elected office at the time of the naming, unless the circumstances are exceptional. Normally, such recognition is not granted until at least one year has passed since such associations have ceased, to allow for complete review of impact. In rare circumstances, the Board of Regents may approve exceptions to these requirements.

2.2. Private Financial Support 

Individuals, corporations, and other organizations may be considered for such recognition if they have made significant financial contributions to the University related to the naming opportunity. A bequest intention from a donor who is still alive will not normally be considered for a naming opportunity. Determination of what constitutes a significant financial contribution is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the total cost of the project, the availability of other funds, and the following guidelines:

  • New facilities – fifty percent (50%) of the total project costs .
  • Renovation of facilities – seventy-five percent (75%) of the cost of a facility renovation.
  • Existing facilities without renovation – seventy-five percent (75%) of the fair market value of the facility.
  • Portable items – donation of the collection or at least fifty percent (50%) of the value of the collection.
  • Tribute markers – the full cost of the marker and fifty percent (50%) of the cost or value of associated installation, and the initial full cost of related items (e.g.,  surrounding fences, trees, gardens). Costs for on-going maintenance should be weighed when considering the request.
  • Endowed faculty positions – full funding of the endowment.
  • Programs – determined on a case-by-case basis.

Costs for the determination are defined by the University Office for Capital Projects for physical facilities and by the UNM Foundation for endowed faculty positions.

3. Approval Process

Approval requirements for naming UNM facilities, spaces, programs, and endowed faculty positions are based on the impact of such action on the University of New Mexico. Whenever there is a fundraising effort for a major facility, a plan must be developed which lists naming criteria and funding amounts for various components of the facility (e.g., rooms, laboratories, offices). Whenever possible for other types of naming opportunities, a plan should be developed before specific donors are approached. Plans must include realistic goals, objective analysis of fundraising potential, lists of prospective donors, timelines specifying when the campaigns will begin and end, budgets for all fundraising activities, and contingency plans if the fundraising goals are not met.

All plans and specific requests for naming must be submitted by the appropriate dean or director, with the approval of the appropriate executive supervisor, to the Committee on Naming. If the request involves private funds, it must be submitted to the appropriate Vice President for Development, who will forward the request to the Committee.

Every attempt will be made to make a named gift opportunity decision within sixty (60) days from submission of the plan to the Committee. In the best interest of the University and prospective honorees, information relating to any naming request or plan should remain confidential until appropriate approvals have been obtained.

3.1. Committee on Naming

The Committee is formed of the following members or their designees: Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer for HSC, Vice President for Student Affairs, University Secretary (official record-keeper), a representative of the University President, and a faculty member appointed by the University President. The University President will name the Chair. The UNM Foundation’s Vice President for Development for Main Campus and Athletics and the UNM Foundation’s Vice President for Development for Health Sciences serve as non-voting members and provide guidance and recommendations to the Committee.

The Committee is responsible for:

  • reviewing naming opportunities and associated plans to ensure adequacy and appropriateness of funding proposal;
  • reviewing specific naming requests to ensure they comply with Regents' policy and are in the best interests of the University;
  • making recommendations to the University President or the UNM vice president with approval authority for the specific classification; and
  • basic confirmation of the honoree’s qualifications.

3.2. Request for Approval

The level of approval for naming UNM facilities, spaces, programs, and endowed faculty positions depends on the classification of the item. The plan and each specific naming opportunity must be approved according to the following criteria.

The Board of Regents reserves the right to review for approval, on a case-by-case basis, any naming request.

3.2.1. Class I

Class I includes facilities and spaces that are part of the outside environment of the University, such as buildings, complexes of buildings, roads, walkways, playing fields, parks, gardens, and agricultural or forestry plots. Names in this class must be approved by the Board of Regents, upon recommendation of the University President and following consultation with the Committee on Naming.

3.2.2. Class II

Class II includes facilities and spaces that are part of interior space of the University, such as library/reading rooms, laboratories, seminar rooms, galleries, recreational courts, and lounges. Names in this class must be approved by the President, following consultation with the Committee on Naming. Depending on the specific Class II facility (for example, large public spaces) and at the discretion of the University President, the request may be forwarded to the Board of Regents for approval.

3.2.3. Class III

Class III includes collections or groups of portable items that are identifiable because of a specific focus or purpose, such as collections of art or artifacts. Names in this class must be approved by the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, or the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of HSC, depending on the location of the Class III material, following consultation with the Committee on Naming.

3.2.4. Class IV

Class IV addresses tribute markers, which include plaques, medallions or other markers usually in association with features such as trees, benches, or small monuments. The display of tribute markers must be approved by the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, following consultation with the Committee on Naming.

3.2.5. Programs

Naming of programs, whether separate organizational units or not (such as departments, schools, colleges, institutes, centers, conferences, symposia, activities, or organizational units)will only take place in exceptional circumstances. The naming of programs is a sensitive matter and must include acceptance and agreement from many different constituencies on campus, with final approval required from the Board of Regents, upon recommendation of the University President and following consultation with the Committee on Naming. Before recommending any such naming, the University President must ensure:

  • the proposed name is consistent with the University policy regarding honorees;
  • the autonomy of the program and the academic freedoms to which UNM is committed will be safeguarded; and
  • the level of private financial support has been taken into consideration.

3.2.6. Endowed Faculty Positions

The Board of Regents, following consultation with the University President and the Committee on Naming, shall approve the establishment of endowed chairs, professorships, and other faculty positions based on:

  • the appropriateness of the specific naming consistent with UNM policy;
  • the endowment levels established by the UNM Foundation;
  • the source of funds and, if appropriate, a plan for raising additional funds; and
  • a process for monitoring spending to assure conformance with intent.

4. Formal Recognition

When name recognition has been extended for a gift received, it must be honored in accordance with a written gift agreement signed by University officials and the donor(s). In the event of significant changes in circumstances, the University reserves the right to determine the form of name recognition, in consultation with the donor when possible.

The University Secretary is responsible for recording official decisions on all naming requests and reporting those decisions to the appropriate UNM officials with a copy to University Archives.

5. Duration of Name

Naming in honor of individuals may last the lifetime of the facility, space, program, or endowed faculty position, as long as the criteria in Section 2 continue to be met. Naming in honor of corporations or other organizations will have a set number of years attached to the naming, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis and listed in the signed gift agreement; typically, the duration of such naming will not exceed twenty-five (25) years. Naming associated with a particular facility, space, or program does not preclude further naming within the facility, space, or program.

6. Implementation

This policy does not apply to any previous arrangements or ongoing discussions with donors that were in existence at the date this policy was adopted or revised.