Naming and Recognition Policy


To set out the principles under which all appropriate Seneca assets may be named to recognize exceptional contributions.


This policy applies to all assets owned or leased and operated by Seneca.

Key Definitions


Item or property of tangible or intangible value owned by Seneca.


A monetary or non-monetary gift given to a student to recognize a specific academic achievement or other accomplishments.


An award given to a student on the basis of financial need.


An individual or organization that makes a gift to Seneca.


Full-time, part-time and contract faculty, support staff and administrators of Seneca.


As defined by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), a gift is a voluntary transfer of money or property for which the donor expects and receives nothing of value in return. It is permissible and encouraged, however, for donors to receive recognition for their gift. For example, honour rolls, signage and plaques, or naming opportunities for buildings, programs, facility spaces, etc. The following transactions do not constitute philanthropy:

  • Gift of service
  • Purchase of a good or service from Seneca
  • Sponsorship
  • Lottery, draw or contest tickets
  • Gift of debt from a person or partnership, or a share of a capital stock of a corporation that does not deal at arm’s length with the charity.

Gift agreement

A document containing the terms of making a gift and the accountabilities of both the donor and Seneca.


The process of conferring a name upon an asset.

Naming agreement

A document or a clause within a gift agreement that outlines the terms of a naming associated with a specific gift and the accountabilities of both the donor and Seneca.

Named in perpetuity

A naming that is permanent with no end date.


A signed agreement indicating that a gift will be made within a specific time period.


A potential donor identified by the Advancement and Alumni department.


Actions taken to acknowledge a contribution made by an individual or organization.


A series of actions designed to appropriately recognize a donor’s gift and to keep them engaged in Seneca’s activities.


1. Policy Statement
Naming of assets provides Seneca with the opportunity to recognize contributions from individuals and organizations in support of Seneca’s overall mission. Naming recognizes the exceptional contributions from Seneca’s community of students, alumni, employees and friends, while also drawing attention to the vital role of philanthropy in ensuring that Seneca provides the very best educational experience to the most students, making the greatest possible impact.
Seneca will consider the naming of assets to recognize and celebrate philanthropic contributions, exemplary service, voluntary contributions, special events, anniversaries and other significant initiatives.

2. Responsibilities

2.1 The Senior Executive Committee (SEC) shall be responsible for naming and recognition with regard to physical spaces and academic positions at Seneca.

2.2 The Advancement and Alumni department shall be responsible for:

  • Other naming opportunities as per the terms of relevant gift agreements
  • Developing and managing the inventory of naming opportunities
  • Liaising with donors and prospects
  • Managing all associated paperwork and formal agreements
  • Ongoing stewardship of donors and naming.

3. General Guiding Principles

3.1 Naming opportunities at Seneca are designed to thank and recognize donors for their financial support and commitment to Seneca. Under exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the SEC, namings may be conferred to recognize and celebrate exemplary service, voluntary contributions, special events, anniversaries or other significant initiatives.

3.2 In general, high profile, high traffic areas shall be named to ensure that the naming is experienced by a maximum number of people.

3.3 Seneca shall consider naming the following assets:

  • Significant physical infrastructure, including classrooms, laboratories and/or common areas, such as campuses, building complexes, buildings and rooms
  • Academic units, such as faculties, schools and programs
  • Smaller physical infrastructure, such as desks, tables, seats and study areas
  • External spaces and infrastructure, such as sports fields and stadiums, parking areas, gardens, trees, benches and seating
  • Academic positions, such as chairs, professorships, deanships, directorships and fellowships
  • Student financial aid, such as endowments and expendable funds
  • Physical and digital assets, such as collection of artifacts
  • Events and activities, such as sporting events, lectures, conferences and celebratory activities
  • Any other such entities approved in accordance with this policy.

3.4 All naming opportunities shall be subject to a written naming agreement, which may be a clause within a gift agreement, to be signed by the donor or their representative and a nominated representative from Seneca.

3.5 A naming agreement shall detail the specific asset to be named, the agreed time period for naming, the actual agreed name for the asset and details of signage relating to the asset.

4. Philanthropic Guiding Principles

4.1 A naming opportunity is a symbolic gesture of thanks and recognition and does not have to reflect the designation of the donation itself.

4.2 Seneca shall carry out the naming of assets in accordance with CRA legislation.

4.3 Seneca may only name a specific facility (e.g. building or room) in recognition of donations of $25,000 or greater. For amounts less than $25,000, Seneca may name smaller items (e.g. seats, stones, trees or benches) under the guidance of the Advancement and Alumni department.

4.4 Seneca may only name student financial awards or bursaries in recognition of donations of $5,000 or greater, which can be paid over a maximum of five years. An award or bursary shall only retain the name for the period of time that the donor is funding it.

4.5 Seneca may, under the guidance of the SEC, recognize a group of donors as a collective who individually donate less than $25,000, but together donate $25,000 or greater.

4.6 Seneca may name a facility for a donation paid through a multi-year pledge as long as 25 per cent of the total donation is paid prior to the facility being named.

5. Ethical Principles

5.1 As part of this process, due consideration will be given to the reputational risk of a naming opportunity. The SEC shall evaluate potential reputational risks and opportunities before preliminary discussions begin with a donor or prospect to ensure Seneca’s reputation is upheld.

5.2 Every naming agreement shall be subject to ongoing ethical evaluation, and Seneca reserves the right to withhold or reverse any naming opportunity should the donor’s ethical integrity be called into question. The SEC retains the right to reverse all agreements made if the ethics of the honoree cease to align with Seneca’s.

5.3 The naming of a facility, academic program or position is for recognition of an honoree only and does not imply any influence of the honoree on:

  • The use of or material design of the facility
  • Academic programs
  • The allocation of financial aid.

However, Seneca will report back to donors on the impact of their donation and the use of the named facility.

6. Inventory and Allocation

6.1 The Advancement and Alumni department shall manage the inventory of naming opportunities. However, consideration can be given to any space, facility or other asset that is identified by a donor or employee. The SEC shall evaluate and approve any naming opportunities that are not in the existing inventory prior to being offered to a donor or prospect.

6.2 A donor or prospect may be offered a single naming opportunity or several options to choose from as determined by the donor or prospect relationship manager and the Advancement and Alumni department.

6.3 Seneca shall consider the following criteria when calculating the valuation of a naming opportunity:

  • Market conditions
  • Campaign goal and/or project cost
  • Location and/or visibility
  • Size of space
  • Relevance to Seneca’s mission.

7. Duration of Naming

7.1 Unless otherwise agreed upon, a naming opportunity related to a physical facility shall be offered for a period of at least 20 years. If a facility is considered obsolete and/or replaced prior to the end of the 20 year minimum period, Seneca shall either transfer the donor’s name to a comparable facility for at least the remainder of the period or negotiate another mutually satisfactory agreement.

7.2 The Advancement and Alumni department, and the SEC where appropriate, shall determine other assets to be assigned on an ad hoc basis.

7.3 At the end of a period of named recognition, Seneca shall offer the donor first naming prior to offering it to other donors or prospects.

7.4 Any assets already named at the start date of this policy shall be grandfathered under the terms of this policy. Where necessary, Seneca shall contact the honoree and issue a new written agreement that aligns with this policy. Where not possible, the terms of this policy will inform the new agreement.

7.5 No facility shall be named in perpetuity, however, Seneca shall honour such commitments made in historical agreements as long as the facility continues to exist.

8. Signage

8.1 All associated signage for a named facility must conform to Seneca’s signage protocol for that specific facility. This policy must also be consulted prior to the approval of any naming and, where a naming does not conform to its terms, Seneca shall provide alternative options to the donor, prospect or honoree.

8.2 The cost of signage associated with a naming will be included, where possible, in the capital budget for a build or renovation. Where not possible, the costs will be met by Seneca’s stewardship and recognition or marketing budget.

8.3 Recognition expenses must not exceed two per cent of the value of the gift, including event and signage costs.

9. Changes to Naming

9.1 Over the duration of a naming opportunity, the SEC may approve changes made to the name, signage or working of the naming.

9.2 Changes originated by the donor or honoree require prior SEC approval. Any subsequent changes to signage or other infrastructure must be paid for in full by the donor or honoree.

10. Revoking a Naming Opportunity

10.1 Seneca reserves the right to cancel a naming opportunity due to demolition of the asset, sale of the asset or an Act of God. Where possible, Seneca shall offer an alternative option to the donor or honoree.

10.2 Seneca reserves the right to revoke a naming opportunity if a donor fails to fulfil their pledge payments associated with the naming.

10.3 Seneca may revoke the naming of any asset under the ethical principles of this policy noted in section 5. The Advancement and Alumni department shall evaluate complaints of significant concern by any member of the Seneca community or general public and, where appropriate, take such complaints to the SEC for evaluation and decision.

10.4 Seneca shall inform a donor or honoree in writing if their named asset is assigned to be revoked. The donor or honoree shall have 90 days to appeal the judgment, during which time the SEC may suspend the naming.

10.5 If no appeal is made or the appeal is rejected, the naming shall be revoked with immediate effect. In such cases, it is the position of Seneca that any funds received and used in good faith under the terms of the gift up to the revocation shall not be returned, however, the donor will be relieved of any future pledge payments.


Supporting Documentation

  • None

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