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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Naming Buildings and Facilities & Building Plaques : 4:02:05:01

Policy/Guideline Area

Business and Finance Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities


The purpose of this policy is to establish the criteria and process for naming of buildings and facilities governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.


  1. Naming Buildings and Facilities
    1. General Statement
      1. The naming of buildings, facilities, grounds, and organizational units of institutions for individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to society is an honored tradition of higher education.
      2. The prerogative and privilege of such naming’s’ on the campuses of the Tennessee Board of Regents System are vested in the Board.
      3. Authority to name identifiable sub-units or components of buildings and facilities, however, is delegated to the institution president or director, subject to the criteria and process set forth below.
      4. This policy applies to all buildings of the institutions governed by the Board.
      5. It also applies to other facilities, grounds, and organizational units which the institution wishes to dedicate in the name of an individual or group.
      6. Buildings designated by their general purpose or function are not subject to this policy.
    2. Criteria
      1. In general, individuals and groups for whom buildings are named must have made a significant contribution to the field of education, government, science, or human betterment.
      2. To preserve the integrity of all buildings named in the System, this honor must be reserved for individuals of recognized accomplishment and character; no building may bear the name of an individual convicted of a felony.
      3. In general, buildings should not be named for active employees of the Tennessee Board of Regents.
      4. With respect to the naming of buildings on a particular campus, special consideration shall be given to:
        1. The historical significance of the contribution of the individual or group to the institution;
        2. The association of the individual or group with the building to be named;
        3. Any financial contribution of the individual or group to the institution; and
        4. State, regional, national, or international recognition of the individual's or group's contributions and achievements.
      5. A given surname may be assigned to only one building on a specific campus.
      6. In all cases, naming rights are considered to be in effect for the duration of the effective and typical useful life of the physical building, space or abject, and not in perpetuity.
      7. If necessary, the Board reserves the right to remove a name associated with any physical building, space, object, or project at any time if the naming gift pledge remains unfulfilled, it is in the best interests of the institution or of the donor to do so, or to protect the reputation of the institution and/or the donor.
    3. Process
      1. The institution president or director shall charge a committee to consider and make recommendations for the naming of a building.
      2. The committee shall be comprised of student, faculty, and administrative representatives; other representatives of the campus community may serve on the committee, as deemed appropriate by the president or director.
      3. The committee shall consider all suggested namings which satisfy the criteria cited above. Any individual or group associated with the institution may suggest a name for consideration by the committee.
      4. The committee shall submit a report to the president or director, which includes a recommendation for the naming, documentation of all suggestions considered, and justification of its recommendation.
      5. For namings which require Board approval, the president or director shall submit his or her recommendation, along with the committee's report and any additional supporting information deemed appropriate, to the Board through the Chancellor.
      6. No publicity shall be given to the recommendation for naming until it is considered by the Board.
      7. For namings not subject to Board approval, the president or director shall determine and make known the naming in the manner deemed most appropriate.
    4. Dedication Ceremony and Plaque
      1. Upon approval of the naming by the Board, an appropriate dedication ceremony may be planned and conducted by the institution.
      2. The institution also may erect a dedication plaque or comparable marking upon approval of the naming by the Board.
      3. The plaque may be separate from the building plaque provided by State regulations.
      4. In addition to the individual or group for whom the building is named, the dedication plaque should identify the institution president or director, the Chancellor, and the Chairman of the Board at the time the naming was approved.
  2. Building Plaques
    1. An institution may affix a building plaque to a new or newly renovated building or facility.
    2. All building plaques must comply with Tennessee Board of Regents guidelines adopted pursuant to this policy and State Building Commission policy on building plaques.
    3. This section shall apply to any new or newly renovated building or facility.


TBR Meetings, April 13, 1973; September 30, 1983; June 28, 1985; March 21, 1986; September 18, 1992; March 30, 2007; June 24, 2011; June 28, 2012.


Mickey Sheen