Student Preferred First Name Administrative Protocol

University of San Diego recognizes that many of its students use a first name other than their legal first name. As long as the use of a preferred first name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation and does not contain inappropriate or offensive language, the university allows a preferred first name to be used in certain university systems, records and documents in place of their legal first name. Therefore, any student who wishes to choose to be identified within the university’s information systems with a preferred first name in addition to their legal name may do so. It is further understood that the student's preferred first name will be used in university systems, except where the use of the legal first name is necessitated by a university business or legal requirement.


The university allows students to specify a preferred first name by completing a request form on the Personal Information Channel, which can be found in the My San Diego portal. By completing a request form in the portal, the preferred first name will appear where allowable by the university. In public or semi-public systems where names are visible to other students, instructors, faculty, campus officials, and the general public, preferred first name will be displayed. Specific examples are student identification cards, class rosters, and Blackboard display names. The preferred first name may appear in one of the following formats depending upon the system:

Preferred Name Legal Last Name = Jack Smith

Legal Last Name, Preferred Name = Smith, Jack

Campus departments are encouraged to utilize preferred first name in their business practices, and can obtain assistance for doing so through contacting

In the administrative Banner system, a non-public system that requires authentication and authorization for user access, most Banner forms display the student’s legal first name. This is necessary so that academic records, transcripts, diplomas, the Commencement program, financial and scholarship documents, and legal documents produced by the university display the student’s legal first name. The only Banner form that will show a student’s preferred first name is SPAIDEN.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will my preferred first name appear in university systems?
  • Will my preferred first name appear everywhere or be used in everywhere in campus systems?
  • May I request a preferred middle name and last name?
  • Can I change my preferred name to whatever I want?
  • Do I have to determine and request a preferred first name?
  • When/why will campus departments use my legal name?
  • How do I correct or change my legal name for university systems?
  • Can I change my gender identity in the system?
  • Can I get a new email address that uses my preferred first name?
  • How do I get a new student identification card with my preferred first name?
  • What is the fee for a new student identification card?
USD considers the diploma to be a legal document and hence only a student’s legal
name will be used on a diploma. Since the Commencement program is linked to the diploma, generally USD will not allow the use of a preferred first name in the Commencement program. Students with compelling reasons to have their preferred first name appear in the Commencement program may appeal to the appropriate Registrar’s office for an exception.