Ryerson eyes naming rights sponsorship policy

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By Caroline Alphonso

Any new space Ryerson buys or builds may bear the name of a sponsor.

“When there is an opportunity to name something, this would be the policy,” said Jack Radford, executive director of university advancement.

A naming policy would require donors to contribute a significant amount of money to the school to have a building in their name. The donor would have to pay at least 30 per cent of the total cost of the building, according to a report from the external relations committee of the Ryerson board of governors which approved the policy at its March 18 meeting.

Now, the board of governors must give final approval at its meeting Monday.

Although the report also calls for naming of faculties and schools, Radford said that is unlikely to happen.

“There’s an awful lot of approval to go through [to name faculties],” he said. “[The new naming policy] is only about naming buildings. It’s only about bricks.”

The new naming policy is part of Ryerson’s overall effort to boost fundraising. The office of university advancement has tabled a report to look at all avenues to generate money.

Ryerson’s plan to build image and profile through branding is an important part of the agenda. The University of Toronto does this with the slogan, “Great minds for a great future.”

Radford said it will take about a year for Ryerson to come up with an effective slogan. “If you get it wrong, it would be very obvious.” The school received about 3,500 concepts and is now trying to narrow it down to five choices.

All this marketing will prepare Ryerson for an upcoming university-wide funding campaign with each department running mini-campaigns. “The good portion of this agenda was to say we do have a need for a campaign and we’re doing tests right now.”

The University of Toronto has been on a fundraising campaign since May, 1995. The university is already $10 million over its $400 million goal and will set a new target soon.

But for Ryerson, some changes at the university advancement office would have to occur before our campaign takes off. Among the recommendations, the report calls for refocusing the telemarketing program.

“As you go forth in a campaign, you have to make some structural changes,” said Ian Marlatt, director of public affairs and marking communication. “We are doing the research right now.”

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