Establish a process for the delegation of signature authority for contracts, agreements, financial transactions and any other legal relationship that obligates Willamette University (“the University”). Document expectations, qualifications, required training and accountability related to signature authority.


Entering into relationships with third parties creates legal obligations on the part of the University. Only individuals who have authority delegated in accordance with this policy by an appropriate university official are authorized to so obligate the University.

Permitted Delegations:

The Willamette University Bylaws establish the signature authority of the President, and allow the delegation of that authority, as follows:

Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, the President from time to time may authorize or direct any officer, agent, or employee of the university to perform any of the duties or exercise any of the powers of the President. The President may authorize, make, and enter into on behalf of the university all contracts, agreements and instruments which, in the President’s judgment, are necessary or convenient in carrying out the ordinary course of the university's affairs, or which are authorized by the Chair.

Amended and Restated Willamette University Bylaws, adopted by the Board of Trustees October 12, 2016, section 4.1.1

This Delegation of Signature Authority Policy provides a process for delegating authority by the President as described in the following table. Amounts are the sum of payments over the life of the contract, agreement, financial transaction or other legal relationship.

$100,000 and above

President  or   Vice President for Finance/Treasurer and Controller

$50,000 - $100,000

Any two of the following must sign: Dean, Senior Vice President or Vice President of appropriate division

$10,000 - $50,000

Designated fiscal officer of specified unit

Below $10,000 (financial transactions only*)

Designated budget managers of specified unit or department.

* Financial transactions are payment requests, expense reimbursement requests, p card transactions/expense report approvals and journal entries, whether submitted by paper or electronically.

Note: This policy does not apply to the application process for externally funded research grants – see Procedure for Budget Approval and Grant Authorization. 

Conditions for Delegating Contract Authority:

The President, Senior Vice President, Deans and Vice Presidents have the authority identified above, and are authorized to delegate authority to Fiscal Officers for legal relationships and transactions under $50,000 under the following process: 

  1. All delegations are made to specific individuals, and all delegations of contract authority must be in writing with both the name and title of the delegatee specified.
  2. Delegations are not effective until the individuals receiving such authority, complete required training and agrees in writing to the signature requirements.
  3. The delegation must specify the scope, terms, and limitations of the delegation, including any additional limits on the types of documents the delegatee is authorized to sign and the duration of the delegation.
  4. The delegation is not effective until confirmed by the President or Vice President for Finance/Treasurer.

Signature Requirements:

Any individual with valid signature authority signing a document on behalf of the University confirm the following:

  1. They have read and understand the document prior to signature.
  2. The document complies with all applicable University policies and procedures.
  3. The document is consistent with sound business and legal practices and University Counsel has been consulted where needed to verify sound legal practices.
  4. Appropriate consultation has taken place with any other units within the University that will be impacted by the document. Examples: any agreement that involves information technology has been reviewed by the appropriate Willamette Integrated Technology Services (WITS) individual; any agreement that involves facilities use has been reviewed by the Service Center.
  5. There is budget available to meet any obligations contained in the document and the individual has budget authority equal to the sum of payments over the life of the document.


Violations of this policy, including signing documents for which authority has not been granted and violations of signature requirements, may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.


Complete a Signature Authority Delegation Form to request or update a delegation of authority. The Authority Delegation form should be signed by the Dean, Senior Vice President or Vice President of the appropriate unit, and should be forwarded to the University Controller for review.

Delegations will take effect once training has taken place and the delegation has been confirmed by the President or the Vice President for Finance/Treasurer. A record of valid current delegations will be maintained by Accounting.

Questions regarding signing documents and delegation of signature authority should be directed to the Controller or the Vice President for Finance/Treasurer.

Status: This policy was approved in 2015

Effective Date: Implementation August/September 2015

Last Revision Date: 04/09/2018

Last Review Date: 04/09/2018

Next Anticipated Review: 2019

Responsible University Administrator: Controller

Responsible University Office: Accounting

Primary Policy Contact: For Questions and Suggestions Contact: Scott Schaefer, Controller, sschaefer@willamette.edu, 503-370-6710 or Dan Valles, dvalles@willamette.edu, 503-370-6451

Willamette University


University Services Building -- Rm 104
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6104 voice
503-370-6633 fax

Back to Top