Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

4.2.5 Naming Facilities and Land Features

Main content start
Approved by the President.
Last Updated

Formerly Known As Policy Number: 42.4

This Guide Memo covers approval procedures and policies for naming Stanford University facilities and land features.

1. Approval Procedures

a. New Facilities and Land Features

Names proposed for Stanford University facilities and land features require the review of the Vice President for Development (or the Vice President’s designate) for possible conflicts and other University-wide implications before submission to the President (or the President’s designate) for approval. Facilities and land features covered by this requirement include: buildings and the components of buildings (classrooms, laboratories, auditoria, conference and seminar rooms); ornamental structures; streets; fountains; courts; plazas; gardens; etc. All gifts related to facilities and land features should be coordinated with the Office of Development. This policy applies to facilities and features developed and used by Stanford including but not limited to the following locations: the Stanford campus and Foothills, Stanford Redwood City Campus, university occupied facilities in the Stanford Research Park, and Hopkins Marine Station.

b. Renaming Facilities and Land Features

Proposals to remove names from university facilities or land features will follow the process laid out in the "Principles and Procedures for Renaming Buildings and Other Features at Stanford University" (hereafter referred to as the "Principles").

As outlined in the Principles, the President may initiate the process of reconsidering the name of a building or feature, if necessary, in response to a request submitted by members of the university or at their own initiative. For consideration by the President, requests from the community shall contain certain elements described in the Principles.

If the renaming process described in the Principles results in a decision to eliminate a name, the President will initiate a process to determine a new name for the feature. This will normally follow the procedure described below in 1.c.

In cases of requests for renaming proposed by a university unit, the senior line officer(s) in whose jurisdiction the facility or land feature is located and the Provost must be notified before the request is submitted to the President.

c. New or Additional Names

In cases of proposals for new names that do not require the removal of existing names, the senior line officer(s) in whose jurisdiction the facility or land feature is located should have the sponsorship of the Provost in submitting the recommended name for the approval procedure described in 1.a. Individuals considering proposing a new name must consult with the relevant senior line officer(s) to determine if the feature is available for naming. Requests from the community will normally be considered only with the approval of the relevant senior line officer(s). Note that proposals for new names should be guided by the policies described in Section 2.

d. Plaques, Trees and Other Similar Memorials

While Stanford gratefully accepts gifts in memory or in honor of someone, the University is not normally able to accommodate requests for plaques, trees, benches, or other physical recognition of such gifts. Donors who wish to make a gift and receive the appropriate recognition should consult with the Office of Development.

2. Naming Policies and Guidelines

Stanford schools and units rely upon gifts from alumni, parents of students, friends, corporations, associations, and foundations to meet a substantial portion of its operating and capital costs. University donors are often acknowledged for their contribution with the honor of a named feature. Because of the importance of philanthropy in supporting the university’s research and teaching mission, named features are normally associated with a gift to the university.

a. Names of Faculty and Staff

In addition to the approval process for naming New Facilities and Land Features in 4.2.5 Section 1.a., names of Stanford faculty and staff to be considered for Stanford University facilities and land features must be selected from individuals who are emeritus, retired or deceased. If the individual has left the university but is not a retiree or emeritus, special approval by the Provost would be required. Schools and departments wishing to honor faculty, staff, or students are encouraged to consider avenues other than naming spaces.

b. Streets

Street names should be historically or geographically significant to the campus. Streets may be named for living individuals, but the use of individuals' names should be minimized.

c. Donor Names

(1) Buildings

Donor names proposed for buildings or portions of buildings are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The "name" gift will normally cover between 35 and 70 percent of total project costs.

(2) Other Features

Donor names proposed for fountains, ornamental buildings, campus exterior spaces, and similar features will normally require a gift to cover the full cost of the project and a maintenance fund.

d. Groups

University features will normally not be named for groups of people (e.g., "All Californians"). Exceptions may include families or university classes (e.g., "Class of 1986").

e. Events

University features will normally not be named for specific events (e.g., "Big Game 1974").

3. Records of Names

Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE) keeps an official record of all Stanford University campus geographic features and their names. In addition, the Office of Development (OOD) maintains information regarding named spaces when the naming is a result of and tied to a gift. OOD also provides information to LBRE and to the appropriate department or auxiliary organization about the long-term maintenance of the named space and any other relevant consideration.