November 5, 2007
Branding 101: Paying to Prevent New Naming at U. Wisco
Yahoo! News just picked up a story that Andrew Samwick at Dartmouth blogged about last week: a group of donors to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business has donated $85 million to the dean to not rename the school for twenty years.
This is a reverse naming strategy for Universities, where the biggest donor usually gets to put its name on the building. This has caused some consternation over the years at places like the University of Iowa where the gift and proposed name change of The College of Public Health after Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield was nixed due to a (rather obvious) potential conflict with other donors.
I think that we will always need to rename buildings after generous benefactors, of course, as Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and Yale University recently has done with the Smilow Cancer Hospital, but the safest renaming policies seem to be to name sport arenas after beloved coaches or important buildings after retired university heads.
Of course, I have said before, if you do not have enough money (or permission) to name a building after yourself, you could always just rename a classroom, office, or just a locker.
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