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ESF Policies and Procedures
Chosen or Preferred Names

Chosen/Preferred Names

In an effort to formally recognize students who use names other than their legal names on a daily basis, SUNY-ESF is implementing a Chosen/Preferred First Name Procedure through which students can officially notify the College of their preferred name. Through this process, the College will update the student’s name on a variety of electronic records and communication systems. Please read below for further information about this procedure and the limitations of changes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Student Affairs at (315) 470-6660.

What is a chosen/preferred name?

For the purposes of this procedure, a chosen/preferred name is a first name used on a daily basis that is significantly different from the student’s legal name.

What qualifies a student to use a chosen/preferred name?

Any student who uses a name other than their legal name, for any reason, is welcome to submit a Chosen/Preferred Name Form. Examples of reasons to use a preferred name include:

  • Student’s legal name is inconsistent with their gender identity
  • Student primarily uses their middle name instead of their first name
  • Student goes by a nickname significantly different from their first name
  • International students or other students who wish to adopt an English language nickname during their course of study

NOTE: Nicknames that are common abbreviations of first names (such as “Joe” for “Joseph” or “Kate” for “Kaitlyn”) are not covered under this procedure. For clarification on whether a name is a common abbreviation, students can contact the Division of Student Affairs.

How can I request a chosen/preferred name change?

Students who use a chosen/preferred name may submit the request form to the Division of Student Affairs in 110 Bray Hall. Be sure to fill out all fields and sign the form before turning it in. If you have questions or concerns about this process, you can contact the Division of Student Affairs at (315) 470-6660.

Where will my preferred name appear?

Once this form is processed, your chosen/preferred name will appear in the following places:

  • Course lists generated from the ESF Faculty/Staff Portal
  • The banner on your personal MyESF page
  • All Centennial Hall records except legal contracts (Centennial Hall residents only)
  • ESF Vital Information Page

* Please note that if parent/families have access to your personal MyESF page they will be able to see the same information you can as a student

SUNY-ESF is legally required to use legal names on all legal documents and contracts, including student bills, financial aid information, official and unofficial transcripts, enrollment verification, diplomas, photo ID cards, and other documents. Further, this process can only affect SUNY-ESF generated systems. We cannot make changes to other systems such as Blackboard or the @syr email system.

What if I want to make or have made a legal name change?

Students interested in making a legal name change should check the regulations of their home state.

Students who have completed a legal name change should submit documentation to the Registrar’s Office in Room 111 Bray Hall.

Once the Registrar has processed your legal name change, it should appear on all future legal documents, including the places listed above for preferred name change (class lists, Trailhead cards, Centennial Hall, and MyESF portal).