Trouble with names

Or the importance of having a proper naming policy

So could it happen here? Fascinating story this about Tsinghua University naming a teaching building after a donor. Except the donor is a clothes brand:

China’s prestigious Tsinghua University has triggered heated debates one month after its 100th anniversary of founding as it has named one teaching building after a well-known clothes brand.

The university came to the spotlight on Tuesday after a picture of the building’s new name was posted online. People blamed the university for “selling itself” and the incident was labeled as the “falling of the spirit of universities,” while others said it was normal for campus buildings to be named after a donor.

The No.4 teaching building of Tsinghua, built in 1987, is dedicated with shining Chinese and English characters of “Jeanswest Building,” following a line saying that Jeanswest, as a leading company of casual clothes, has contributed its share to the nation’s education.

So, Jeanswest Building does sound a bit better than the No.4 teaching building. But not much. And it does beg questions about how far a university might go in offering naming rights in return for a decent donation. Whilst the University of Poppleton has probably led the way in the recent past (actually I’m guessing it has a number of buildings named after popular pork-based products), might we expect the Confused.com learning resources building or the Kwik Save Student Services Centre at a UK campus someday soon?

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2 thoughts on “Trouble with names

  1. Very good question. Which leads to even more questions:

    Would this only really be a benefit Russell Group universities enjoy as they have a stronger brand? Would it mean that those universities lower down the rankings offer more than just a building? And where will corporate social responsibility fit in? Could we see Nestle University by 2020?

    (If we do, I’m sure my gran will still call it Nestles)

  2. Interesting – in the past we’ve had part of a building named the “JCB Centre ” to reflect their sponsorship of work in engineering and D&T that we did with local shcools

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