Naming Opportunities Policy

Policy Title Naming Opportunities Policy
Policy Category Financial Policies
Original Policy Approval Date June 25, 2020
Responsible Office Division of University Advancement
Related Policies Gift Acceptance Policy
Policies Superseded None
Frequency of Review 3 Years
Date of Next Review June 25, 2023
Date of Revision  

I. Scope

This Naming Opportunities Policy ("Policy") applies to all Gifts, as defined by the University’s Gift Acceptance Policy, intended to align or assign any name with any Arcadia University asset (from funds to physical) and are an expression of value. See Section IV below for the definitions of capitalized terms in this Policy.

II. Policy Statement

The purpose of this Policy is to establish the requirements for all Naming Opportunities at Arcadia University (the “University”).

III. Policy

Driven by factors beyond actual costs, Naming Opportunities are an expression of value, a reflection of prestige of association with the University’s brand, and should be structured to bring a sense of pride to both the Donor and the University. Naming Opportunities can serve as transformational agents but should also seek to align with national benchmarking standards. Ideally, naming opportunities designed to be transformative for the University should be allocated for the support of core operating purposes. Further, the present value of a transformative Gift should also be large enough to provide sufficient additional income to take the University to a new level of excellence.

In all cases, naming opportunities should:

  • ensure that the University’s assets are offered at nationally-tested, competitive levels which support the University’s progress and forward momentum;
  • align a Donor’s philanthropic vision with the University’s mission, needs, and priorities;
  • maximize the University’s fundraising potential;
  • reflect best practice standards in naming physical assets and funds;
  • offer tangible budget relief for the support of operations or provide incremental growth in areas of academic, infrastructural, or operational priority; and
  • create new or support existing academic, programmatic, or physical assets.

Donor Control Prohibited

Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) regulations and University policy prohibit Donor control over the administration of Gifts. A Donor must relinquish control of any assets donated, in order to be properly classified as a philanthropic gift eligible to receive favorable tax treatment by the IRS. For any Naming Opportunity, a Donor may not direct nor will the University promise the appointment of a specific individual to a position, professorship, deanship, or other position. Nor will the University promise to provide financial aid to a specific recipient or engage in specific research studies in exchange for financial support.

Additionally, to avoid issues of Donor control, convening Donor oversight or advisory committees should be discouraged when accepting a Gift. If such committees are required as a condition of a Gift, then the University, not the Donor, should appoint the majority of members.

Naming Opportunities Duration

To best support the educational mission of the University, endowed Naming Opportunities must meet both current and forecasted future needs of the University. Endowed funds are designed and intended to keep pace with inflation by providing a steady stream of generated income to support institutional need as determined and agreed to by the Donor and the University.

When endowed funds fail to keep pace with institutional and/or programmatic growth or the ongoing financial needs, the University’s President will have the right to act in the best interest of the University’s students, facilities, or the named entity itself. Therefore, under certain circumstances and wherever feasible, naming opportunities—particularly for large gifts—need not be made in perpetuity. Instead, gift agreements governing Naming Opportunities should include a prescribed duration for each Naming Opportunity. Duration will be negotiated by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement or their designee, after which point, the University’s President will be able to either seek a supplemental Gift from the original Donor or the Donor’s heirs to maintain the Naming Opportunity, or may pursue a new Donor for a new Naming Opportunity to ensure the named entity’s longevity, well-being, and durability.

Naming Opportunity Requirements and Process

All Naming Opportunities for physical assets, academic programs, and positions require the approval of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement. For Transformative Naming Opportunities, additional approval from the University’s President and the President’s Cabinet is required.

A Naming Opportunity is designed to be consistent with the mission and goals of the University to enhance teaching and scholarship and to strengthen the academic enterprise. They are based on the desire to:

  1. honor the exemplary character, scholarly distinction, or distinguished service of an individual, or
  2. recognize a significant financial contribution to the University and/or its schools and colleges.

Rationale for Exceptions

While the minimum Gift levels articulated for Naming Opportunities should be applied as stated in the Endowed Minimum Gift Levels chart, exceptions to minimum Gift norms can be requested. All exceptions must be approved by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement. For Transformative Naming Opportunities, additional approval from the University’s President and the President’s Cabinet is required.

However, when proposed Gifts fall below the prescribed minimum Gift levels and an exception has been granted, all customary terms and conditions for the Gift will be required to advance the Gift to closure. As a general guiding principle, the threshold below which a Gift may not be considered is 80% of the minimum Gift levels.

Third Party Due Diligence

Any gift agreement for a Naming Opportunity must be made on the condition of a reputational assessment of the Donor to ensure that an association with the Donor would add value or bring no harm to the University and be a complement to the Arcadia University brand.

Gifts to the University reflect the ideals and reputation of the University. Accordingly, each Naming Opportunity should be reviewed carefully for full compliance with minimum Gift levels, applicable laws, and ethical principles.

A review is especially critical where there is some direct or indirect business or other continuing relationship between a Donor and the University and/or its officers, faculty, or employees. Any questions about the applicability of University Policies, or state or federal laws pertaining to conflicts of interest or other ethical considerations should be referred to the University’s Office of General Counsel.

Naming Opportunity Details

The naming of prominent spaces in recognition of an honoree implies a promise to the honoree that the space, site, facility, or other forms of tangible recognition, will be maintained. However, if change is unavoidable, an alternative means of recognition will be found with appropriate historical reference to the original Naming Opportunity, as necessary and to the extent possible.

All Naming Opportunities must be supported by evidence that the honoree has met or meets the highest values as well as societal and Arcadia University values.

Designed to Honor Distinguished Service with No Financial Gift

The merits of any Naming Opportunity in honor of an individual should be determined by carefully weighing the individual's high scholarship and/or distinguished service at the University. All naming requests of this type must involve a thorough review by the President and relevant stakeholders, such as the Provost, to ensure appropriateness.

Naming Opportunities for Cumulative Giving

New Naming Opportunities to acknowledge existing Donors with substantial giving traditions at the University are generally not permitted but may be acceptable in very rare cases. For example, when a Donor’s lifetime giving exceeds $5,000,000 and the Donor has never been previously reflected in any other Naming Opportunity, a Naming Opportunity may be appropriate. Naming Opportunities tied to cumulative giving can limit the University’s ability to raise new money to support the University’s future. Naming Opportunities of this type must be reviewed by the Gift Review Committee, as defined by the University’s Gift Acceptance Policy, and be approved by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement.

Naming Opportunities to Recognize a Financial Contribution

A Naming Opportunity is appropriate when a Gift received is consistent with established minimum Gift levels.

With respect to deferred Gifts, the required minimum Gift level will be set higher due to the delay in acquiring transferred assets and the time value of money.

Approval Requirements for Naming Opportunities

For Naming Opportunities of physical assets, submitted documentation must also include a statement of reputational standing and a statement of financial wherewithal to fulfill the commitment as promised. Third party due diligence may also be required. All proposed Naming Opportunities—particularly those which are in excess of $1,000,000— should be held in confidence during the negotiation, review, and approval process. The plan to announce such Gifts, unless the Donor has requested anonymity, will be determined by the President and the President’s Cabinet.


The Division of University Advancement is responsible for maintaining a record of all Naming Opportunities across campus. A current inventory is available upon request. Reports on the status of named Gifts and spaces will be provided periodically to the President by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement.

Naming Opportunities and Unsolicited Deferred Gifts

For unsolicited realized bequests, where the minimum gift levels have been met, a fund (endowed or current use) should be named as directed by the estate documents. In rare cases where the estate documents contain naming instructions that present a possible challenge for the University, the final Naming Opportunity applied will be left to the discretion of the President.

Gift Types Accepted for Naming Opportunities

The University welcomes most Gift types to fulfill Donor commitments made for Naming Opportunities. Many combinations of Gift types are permissible. However, conditional pledges, donor-advised funds, corporate matching gifts, or revocable gifts of any type cannot be used to fulfill personal commitments. Additionally, most life income gifts cannot be used to fund construction projects, unless such gifts are exceptionally significant in size. In-kind gifts cannot be used to fulfill any Naming Opportunity at Arcadia. Please refer to the University’s Gift Acceptance Policy for more information about these classifications of Gifts.

Physical Plant Assets – Buildings, Campus Grounds, or Any Campus Facilities

Before any Naming Opportunity can be associated with an Arcadia University building, campus grounds, or other facilities, the Naming Opportunity must be formally established through and codified by a written gift agreement, signed by the Donor (or Donors), the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement, and the President. The gift agreement must articulate the gift amount, a designation, including the Naming Opportunity requested, a gift fulfillment schedule, which includes timing and amount of each installment payment, and any other special terms and/or conditions. Gift agreements must specify an alternate use for all funds received should the Donor be unable to fulfill the entire commitment as specified in writing.

To reserve a Naming Opportunity of this type or for gifts in excess of $5,000,000, which require a fulfillment schedule, a minimum of 30% of the overall commitment is required as the first installment. Commitments may be fulfilled in a lump sum payment or over a period of years, generally not to exceed five (5) years. A Donor’s personal or financial circumstances may require greater flexibility. Exceptions to the five (5)-year fulfillment rule or the initial installment can be requested of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement.

Current Use or Endowed Funds

After a fully executed gift agreement has been received, the Naming Opportunity may be applied immediately. Gift agreements must specify disposition of any funds received should the Donor be unable to fulfill the entire commitment, up to and including removal of a Donor’s name from the Naming Opportunity. The University may terminate a Naming Opportunity in the event of fulfillment default or in the unlikely event the Board of Trustees determines in its reasonable and good faith opinion that circumstances have changed such that the use of the name or a continued association with donor would adversely impact the reputation, image, mission, or integrity of the University. In either case, no portion of installments already made can be returned. Donor will agree not to hold the University liable for removal of a Donor’s name for an inability to fulfill a Donor’s commitment or due to changed circumstances prompting termination by the Board of Trustees as described above.

Special needs or exceptional circumstances that warrant deviation from this Policy require the approval of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement. The Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement or their designee will review and update this Policy no less than every three (3) years.

V. Definitions

A Donor is an individual, or institution, or organization who has irrevocably transferred a monetary asset or tangible property to the University.

A Gift is a voluntary and unconditional transfer of funds or real property (e.g. stock, real estate, equipment, art or materials) to the University made by an individual or entity without any exception or receipt of direct or anything of value (goods or services) in return.

Naming Opportunities are all Gifts intended to align or assign any name with any University asset (from funds to physical) and are an expression of value.

Transformative Naming Opportunities include Gifts to name schools, colleges, centers, institutes, and/or buildings, as well as Gifts in excess of $5,000,000. Transformative Naming Opportunities require approval by the President, the President’s Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees before any such Gift can be finalized.

University refers to Arcadia University, its colleges, schools, affiliates, divisions, and subsidiaries.

VI. Effective Date

This Policy is effective on the date that it is signed by the President

VII. Date of Approval

June 25, 2020

VII. Endowed Minimum Gift Levels

School or College

Naming a school or college is a significant and prominent gift. An endowed gift ensures increased stature, enhanced prominence, an ability to maintain a competitive edge, and greater financial strength and agility. An endowed gift should provide a steady stream of income to offset current budget, creating growth opportunities. For guidance, please speak to the Division of University Advancement.


Varies by program, course of study, and academic strategic plan

University Art Gallery

The University’s main gallery can be endowed with a naming gift to underwrite the costs associated with an academic art gallery including but not limited to traveling exhibits, semi-permanent installations, gallery upgrades, or acquisitions. Additionally, other galleries can be creatively defined spaces which need not always be a big open space.



Performance Space/Black Box Theatre/Auditorium

New and prominent spaces or those which are deemed integral to the academic mission carry larger minimums while less prominent smaller spaces carry lower minimums. Endowed gifts will create a long term association with the space as well as support for on-going operation and maintenance. The level of contribution required would depend on capacity, size, and use. For guidance, please speak to the Division of University Advancement.


$250,000 -


Academic Programs

Funds established can be used to enhance or expand academic offerings.


Academic Centers (within a school/college) or Academic Institutes (across 2+ schools/colleges) Funds established should provide significant budgetary relief, providing anchoring support or financial momentum to propel program to new heights.

Varies by academic program, number of students served, faculty scholarship, norms of the discipline, and academic strategic plan

Lecture Hall



This naming opportunity creates an opportunity for an academic department, school, or college to extend an annual invitation of a speaker as a means to contribute to a vibrant intellectual community in a particular subject matter. The fund will support honoraria, travel, and accommodations plus catered dinner prior to speaking engagement for up to 10 students, the donor and guests, academically related faculty, and key staff.


Presidential Distinguished Lecture Series

This naming opportunity creates an opportunity for the President or Provost to extend an invitation to one or two speakers annually (a speaker of the highest academic scholarly accomplishments and/or a nationally or internationally prominent speaker). The fund will support honoraria, travel and accommodations, dinner prior to engagement for up to six students, the donor and guests, President and/or Provost and spouses, and key faculty and staff.



Designed by philanthropic objectives, varies by prominence of speaker(s), prestige of program, scope of the corresponding academic program.

Rooms: Academic Spaces and Classrooms (Regular and Smart)

$100,000 - $250,000

Lounges: Student/Faculty



$50,000 -


President’s Excellence Fund

The fund which allows the President to respond to special needs as they arise or to provide an extra measure of excellence for Arcadia.




Visiting Scholar/Artist-in-Residence


Endowed Professorship (Substitutional or Incremental)