The Pennsylvania State University recognizes the need or preference for members of the University community to refer to themselves by a first name other than their legal first name. As long as the use of this name is not intended for the purposes of avoiding legal obligations or for misrepresentation, the University acknowledges that a “preferred name” can be used where possible in the course of University business and education.
Only the first name may be designated to appear as a preferred name, in systems which can accommodate it. The person’s preferred name may be used in University communications and informational materials except where the use of the legal name is required by University business or legal need.
Not all University information systems, databases, and processes may be able to display a preferred name, and many uses require display of the legal name; therefore, individuals who utilize a preferred name within University systems should always be prepared to reference their legal name and provide corresponding identification when necessary.
The University reserves the right to refuse a preferred name. Instances that may result in this prohibition include arbitrary or repeated name changes; the use of profane words; names that may be used for fraudulent purposes; or other situations deemed appropriate.
Except as set forth below, the individual is free to determine the preferred name he or she wants to be known by in University information systems. Only the first name may be designated for the preferred name; the last name must remain the same as the full legal last name in the system.
The following list provides examples of appropriate preferred name options at this time:
- A shortened version of the full legal name may be used (for example, Christine to “Chris”).
- Initials may be used (David Craig to “D. C.”; Mary Ann to “ M.A.”; Teresa Jeanette to “T.J.”).
- A different first name than the legal first name may be used (David Craig to “Christy”; Christine to “Cory”; Crystal Lynn to “Lynn”).
Changing Your Chosen Name
If you feel you would like to have your chosen name changed in university systems (LionPATH, Canvas, Outlook, etc.) please contact Brian Patchcoski ([email protected]) in the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity with the following information.
Please send details via your Penn State email account:
Legal First Name:
Legal Middle Name:
Legal Last Name:
Chosen First Name:
Chosen Middle Name:
Penn State Student ID #:
Penn State E-Mail:
Penn State Campus:
Would you like to request a new Penn State ID? Yes or No
Changing of Alias
If you would like to change your alias (example: the display of your Penn State e-mail letters), please visit, accounts.psu.edu This will allow you to use a different alias that does not correlate with the letters and numbers assigned to your PSU user name (example: [email protected] can be updated to [email protected]). While this does not change your user name, it does allow a person to receive emails under a name preferred.