VI.A. Use of University Name Policy

(Source: Office of the Secretary, 1969 Handbook for Faculty and Administration; revised, Almanac, October 14, 1997; revised, Almanac, May 16, 2000; revised, Almanac, October 24, 2017)

On September 30, 1791, an act confirmed an agreement which united the University of the State of Pennsylvania with the College, Academy and Charitable School and provided that the name of the institution would be “The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.”1  To facilitate communication both internally and externally, the institution’s name is commonly simplified as the “University of Pennsylvania,” or, more recently, “Penn.”

The University regulates use of its name, the names of its schools and programs, its shield and related insignia, trademarks and logos (“insignia”) to ensure that such use is related to the University’s educational, service and research missions and promotes its objectives. Responsibility for overseeing use of the University’s names and insignia lies with the Secretary of the University.

Official Use

When representing the University in an official capacity, all units of the University and members of the faculty and administration must use “University of Pennsylvania” in their publications and documents. Approved University stationery must be used for official correspondence.

University names and insignia may be used in connection with any academic University program provided that the program has been approved in advance by the responsible department chair and dean or director, and Provost, as appropriate. University units, faculty, staff and student organizations that wish to use University names or insignia in connection with any non-academic University program, activity, service or product must obtain the approval of the Secretary of the University before proceeding. Requests to use University names or insignia must first be presented to the appropriate department chair and dean, director, or, in the case of student organizations, to the Vice Provost for University Life, for review. If approved by the dean, director, or Vice Provost, a request with supporting information must be submitted to the Secretary for review. The Secretary will review the proposed use and determine, in consultation with appropriate colleagues, whether it is properly related to the University’s missions and whether the benefits of the proposed use outweighs any risks associated with the use. The Secretary may approve the proposed use, with or without conditions, or disapprove the proposed use.

Licensed Uses by Outside Entities

University names or insignia may be used on products or in connection with services offered by outside entities only under license from the University. Requests for such licenses are processed jointly through the Office of the Vice President for Business Services (“Business Services”) and the Penn Center for Innovation (“PCI”), and with guidance from the Office of the University Secretary.

Outside sponsors of University programs or activities often seek to use University names or insignia in promotional or advertising materials. While the University is pleased to recognize the contributions of sponsors, such recognition must not suggest University endorsement of the sponsor’s activities. Therefore, University names or insignia may not be used in connection with any outside entity’s name or logo without prior approval of the Secretary of the University. In general, the Secretary will approve uses which recognize or acknowledge the sponsor’s contribution to the University program or activity. Uses which, in the Secretary’s judgment, may suggest University endorsement or approval of the sponsor’s goods or services will not be permitted.

Private Use

University faculty, staff and students may refer to their affiliation or status with the University in connection with personal activities, including consulting, provided that the affiliation or status is accurately represented and any title or position is accurately identified, and provided that such use does not imply University endorsement of the activity. In some cases, a disclaimer of University endorsement may be required. (See, for example, Handbook for Faculty and Academic Administrators, section II.E.10). Use of University insignia in connection with personal activities is prohibited. The University’s name must not be used in any announcement, advertising matter, publication, correspondence, or report in connection with personal or non-University activities if such use in any way could be construed as implying University endorsement of or responsibility for any project, product, or service. 

Related Policies

All faculty, staff and students are reminded that University equipment, stationery, campus mail service, and electronic media are to be used solely for University business by authorized University personnel and by officially recognized campus organizations. See Human Resources Policy No. 003. Additional information on faculty and staff involvement in extramural activities and organizations can be found in the Conflict of Interest Policy for Faculty Members, and Human Resources Policy Nos. 005 and 006.


Statutes of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, p. 1.