Preferred Name

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Student Preferred Name

UC Davis recognizes that many of its students use a name other than their legal name. As long as the use of a preferred name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation, the university acknowledges that a preferred name should be used whenever possible in the course of university business and education.

Therefore, the university will permit any student who wishes to choose to identify themselves within the university’s information systems with a preferred name in addition to their legal name. It is further understood that the student's preferred name should be used in university communications and reporting, except where the use of the legal name is necessitated by university business or legal requirement.

This service may be modified, changed, altered, or rescinded at the discretion of UC Davis.

What is a Preferred Name?

A preferred name is a first name (i.e., given name) that may be chosen to be used instead of legal first name. Students may opt to go by a preferred name that is different from their legal first name. This name will appear instead of legal name in the UC Davis Campus Directory and in other university records and documents. Some records, such as paychecks or financial aid, that require the use of a legal name, will not change to preferred name. However, whenever possible, preferred name will be used.

The university allows you to specify a preferred name by editing the UC Davis Campus Directory. By updating your display first name in the directory, this will serve as your preferred name, and it will appear in your directory profile and other records.

Campus Use of Preferred Name

In public or semi-public systems where names are visible to other students, instructors, faculty, campus officials, and the general public, preferred name may only be displayed. Specific examples are the Student AggieCard, Canvas, and the UC Davis University Library. In systems such as these, it is important to only display the preferred name. The display might take one of these formats:

PreferredName LegalLastName = Bill Smith

LegalLastName, PreferredName = Smith, Bill

In confidential administrative systems (non-public) used by staff, instructors, faculty and campus officials, preferred name may be displayed with the full legal name. Banner Student Forms and Class Rosters, Student Information System (SIS) Web Form Class Rosters and Final Grading Rosters are good example of these types of administrative systems and they require CAS authentication and authorization for user access. The display in these systems might take one of these formats:

LegalLastName, LegalFirstName LegalMiddleName (PreferredName) = Smith, William James (Bill)

LegalFirstName LegalMiddleName (PreferredName) LegalLastName = William James (Bill) Smith

Campus departments are encouraged to utilize preferred name in their business practices, and campus technologists who need data access to preferred name can obtain assistance through

Frequently Asked Questions

When will my preferred name appear in university systems?
Preferred names that were set in the UC Davis Campus Directory were first propagated into other campus systems starting with the Spring 2014 Quarter, on March 27, 2014. Once you set a preferred name, allow 48-72 hours for it to be displayed in other systems.

Will my preferred name appear or be used everywhere in university systems?
No. Initial implementation began in the Spring 2014 term and its use will expand as other campus systems or departments express interest in utilizing preferred name. Legal name will always be used in business processes that require the use of the legal name, such as for payroll records, student transcripts and financial aid.

How can I set my preferred name?
Using the UC Davis Campus Directory, search for your name, and then select Update my UC Davis directory listing. Edit the First Name field, and then select Submit to set your preferred name. This change will propagate systems that use the preferred name within 48-72 hours.

Preferred Name View

May I specify a preferred middle or last name?
No. Preferred name only applies to your first name. Although you may edit your middle and last display name in the UC Davis Campus Directory, these names will not propagate into other university systems. If you would like to change your middle or last name on your university record you will need to change your legal name.

Can I set my preferred name to whatever I want?
Students may determine and designate a preferred name that they want to be known by in university systems. The University reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language, or is being used for misrepresentation.

Do I have to provide and set a preferred name?
No. Using a preferred name is entirely optional.

When/why will campus departments use my legal name?
Some campus departments interact with, and send reports to federal, State and other government agencies that verify the identity of students using the legal name, in some cases Social Security Number, and other personal identifiable information which prohibits the use of preferred name.

How do I correct or change my legal name for university systems?
Students who wish to change their legal name must supply supporting legal documentation and complete the Petition for Name Change on University Record webform or paper form with the Office of the University Registrar.

Can I change my Kerberos LogIn ID to better match my preferred name?
IET strongly advises against renaming your UC Davis login ID due to issues with the renaming process. Renaming the login ID will have a negative impact on your ability to use UC Davis computing resources while your new login ID is synchronized across all campus computing systems and databases, including but not limited to:

  • Inability to access myucdavis and UC Davis Canvas for 3 to 5 days;
  • Possible 24-36 hour disruption of your email service as the email servers transfer your messages from the old login name to the new login name.

If you are certain that you still wish to rename your current login please contact IET by phone at 530-754-4357 between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (PT), Monday-Friday.

How do I get a new AggieCard with my preferred name?
After setting you preferred name in the UC Davis Campus Directory, please allow 48-72 hours for your preferred name to propagate to the Student AggieCard system. Request a new AggieCard at the AggieCard Office in 253 Memorial Union.

How much does a new AggieCard cost?
A $15.00 replacement fee will apply.

Why are employees not included in the use of preferred name?
This service is student focused and although employees are able to change their display name in the UC Davis Campus Directory, these names do not propagate into the student information system. Although UC Davis Canvas will be modified to utilize preferred first name for employees as well as students, employee names are maintained in the campus’ Payroll/Personnel System (PPS), and legal name is used in this system.