Student Name Changes

Pacific University supports the use of preferred first names for students, while maintaining the official, legal names required for academic records and data integrity. As long as the use of the preferred first name is not for an inappropriate purpose, it will appear instead of the person’s legal name in university-related systems and documents where it is technically feasible, except where the use of the legal name is required by university business or legal need. Read the Preferred Name Policy.

What is a Preferred Name?

A preferred name is a first name that is chosen to be used instead of legal first name. At Pacific University, students may go by a preferred name that is different from their legal first name.

Campus Use of Preferred Name

Pacific University infrastructure is multi-faceted and complex and, while many systems already reflect students' preferred first names, there are still many other systems where the implementation of a preferred name is forthcoming. Currently, a preferred name is utilized in the following areas:

  • My Account
  • BoxerOnline
  • Moodle
  • Symplicity Residence: student housing database
  • Symplicity Advocate: student conduct and care system

Campus departments are encouraged to utilize a preferred name in their business practices, and campus technologists who need data access to a preferred name can obtain assistance by emailing the campus Helpdesk

Legal Name Changes

Students who make legal changes to their names must update their legal name with the University by filling out the Name Change Form (pdf) and supplying a copy of a Social Security card or passport that references the new name.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I request a Preferred Name?

Fill out the Name Change Form (pdf) through the Registrar’s Office.

When will my preferred name appear in university systems?

Once you request a preferred name, allow 2-3 business days for it to be processed. Different university systems will be able to access this information on different timelines.

Will my preferred name appear or be used everywhere in university systems?

No. Initial implementation began in Fall 2017 and its use will expand as other campus systems or departments are able to utilize preferred name. Legal name always will be used in business processes that require the use of the legal name, such as payroll records, student transcripts and financial aid.

Will my preferred name show up on my class roster?

Yes, however, because the university manages processes for current and upcoming terms at the same time, it is difficult to know and/or predict how quickly a submitted name change will be used in all systems.  It is expected that name changes submitted prior to registering for an upcoming term would be reflected in all processes for that term, but they might not be shown in some processes used during the current term. While many central administrative services will start to use the new name within a few days of submission, it is possible that the previous name will continue to be used through that term in some situations. Students are welcome to ask individuals and offices to use their requested name at any time.

How often can I change my preferred name?

Setting a new preferred name in University systems can have ripple effects throughout your day-to-day experiences. Changing your preferred name more than once can lead to confusion regarding your identity and challenges in customer service, and so we recommend no more frequently than once per semester. See the answer to the previous question for more information about how a name change request is processed through university systems.

May I specify a preferred middle or last name?

No. Preferred name only applies to your first name. 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, is being used for misrepresentation, or to avoid legal obligation. Additionally, names must adhere to database character standards.

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 require the use of legal name. While legal name will be used for these purposes, preferred names will be used on campus.   

How do I get a new Boxer Card with my preferred name?

After entering your preferred name, please allow 2-3 business days for your preferred name to propagate to the Boxer Card system. You can then request a new Boxer Card at the Campus Public Safety office. The first replacement card is $10; each successive will cost $25.00. In extenuating circumstances, students may submit a request the Dean of Students Office for the fee to be waived.