Types of Ceremonies and Events

There are three types of ceremonies — groundbreakings, dedications, and naming ceremonies — typically planned at West Virginia University’s Health Sciences Center for the purpose of commemorating buildings, facilities, interior spaces (classrooms, meeting rooms, etc.) and individuals (endowed chairs, professorships). These ceremonies are planned to recognize donors, architects, contractors, public officials, and other major stakeholders involved in the project. A brief description of each type of ceremony is listed below:


A groundbreaking is a ceremony designed to symbolically “break ground” at a location that has officially been approved for new construction and to honor those that have made the acquirement of the land and/or new construction possible. Groundbreakings should be held only if there are donors or other entities involved that warrant recognition.

Dedication/Grand Opening:

A dedication/grand opening is a ceremony that commemorates the completion and opening of a new building or major renovation that symbolically “dedicates” the building in honor of a person or persons that have made the construction or renovation possible. Dedications should be held if there are donors involved that warrant recognition or if it is determined that the new building, or major renovation, holds special significance (historical, research, educational, public service, etc.) to the university and/or to the community at large.


A naming is a ceremony that officially recognizes the approval of a building, classroom, wing of a building, etc. being named after a person. When possible, a naming should be scheduled concurrently with the dedication.

A naming can also commemorate an endowed faculty professorship or chair. The chair honors both the named holder of the chair and also serves as an enduring tribute to the donor who establishes it. Endowed chairs are crucial for recruiting and retaining the highest-quality faculty and for honoring faculty that have made a significant impact. Naming or investiture cermonies should be held  to recognize the recipient of the professorship or named chair and the donors or other entities involved.