Chosen First Name Policy

Policy Statement

Fordham recognizes that some students and employees prefer to use chosen first names other than their legal ones to identify themselves. In certain circumstances, Fordham University offers the option to use a chosen first name. The University provides this accommodation in order to help foster a more welcoming, supportive, and respectful campus climate for the entire community.

Responsible University Offices

Students: Office of Academic Records – [email protected] – 718-817-3900
Faculty and Staff: Office of Human Resources – [email protected] – 718-817-4930

Applicability of the Policy

All student applicants for admission, students, staff, and faculty

Policy Text

Permissible Use of Chosen First Name
(This may be referred to as "preferred name" as found in many third-party "common applications" for student admission to the University. Definition and use of "preferred name" is the same as the Fordham Chosen Name policy as disclosed and acknowledged by the student in the admission application.)

Students, student applicants for admission, and employees may elect to use a chosen first name other than their legal first name for certain purposes at Fordham. Chosen first names are limited to alphabetical characters, a hyphen, and a space. The chosen first name does not constitute a legal name change. Students, student applicants for admission, or employees who wish to legally change their name must submit a legal name change document such as a court order or divorce decree.

The chosen first name will be maintained in the University’s Banner System or Slate System for student applicants applying for admission to the University. Generally, it is expected that applicants, students and/or employees request no more than one chosen first name while enrolled or employed at Fordham. Approval to change a chosen first name more than once will be at the sole discretion of the University. At any time, applicants, students, or employees may discontinue use of a chosen first name by following the procedure outlined in section four.

The chosen first name will appear in many internal locations, including the following:

  • ID Card (optional)
  • 411 (Campus Directory)
  • Banner
  • Blackboard
  • Class lists
  • Degree Works
  • Gmail
  • Grade roster
  • Most university communications
  • My.Fordham
  • Student and employee profiles
  • Coming Soon: Library, OrgSync, StarRez, Alumni, and other systems.

Prohibited Use of Chosen First Names
Chosen first names shall not be used for the purposes of misrepresentation, avoiding legal obligations, or in any manner that violates University policy, federal, state or local law. If the University determines that an applicant, student, or employee is using a chosen first name unlawfully or in violation of this policy, the University will discontinue use of this name and will refer to the student or employee by their legal name.

The legal first name must always be used in the following places, as legally or operationally required:

  • Degree Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Enrollment Verification
  • Federal and State Agency Reporting
  • Financial Aid
  • Human Resources Benefit Information
  • Official Academic Transcript
  • Pay check and W2
  • SEVIS (Immigration status reporting)
  • Student Accounts
  • Student Employment
  • Health Records
  • Access IT ID (Username) to login to Fordham University services

Use of Chosen First Name for Diploma and University Commencement
By default, students’ LEGAL names are printed on diplomas even if a chosen name was selected. At the time students apply to graduate, they have the option to have their CHOSEN first name printed on the diploma, appear in the Commencement Program, and be read aloud at the ceremony.

To do so, students must submit their CHOSEN first name prior to filling out the graduation application on the Fordham portal. Then, students must complete the graduation application by the designated deadline. The graduation application will give the option of using the CHOSEN name or LEGAL name for the diploma, Commencement program, and on-stage reading of names. If students do not complete their graduation application by the deadline, their LEGAL name will appear on all Commencement materials, including their diploma, and be read aloud at the ceremony.

Students must keep in mind that certain countries and professions require legal names to be printed on diplomas. For additional important information concerning names and diplomas, please read the “Diploma Name” page on the Fordham website.


  • Adding, Changing, or Deleting Chosen First Name

    In order to add, change, or delete your chosen first name, log in to and click on either the Student or Human Resources tab. Next, in the Student or Employee Profile select “Update Chosen Name” and complete the form. The form will be routed to the appropriate office for processing within three to five business days.

  • Replacement ID Card

    Once the chosen first name change has been processed, students or employees may visit the ID card office to obtain a new ID card displaying their chosen first name and will not be charged for the new card. If you lose this new card, the normal replacement fee will apply. Note: Students/employees who choose to replace their ID card with one displaying their chosen first name should be advised that the ID card with the chosen first name may not be used for employment verification or other uses requiring a photo ID as proof of legal identity.

  • Email Address

    Students or employees who elect a chosen first name will have their FORDHAM UNIVERSITY email address “From” field and Gmail global contact list updated with their chosen first name. For questions regarding this change, please contact Information Technology Customer Care at extension 13999.




Students: Office of Academic Records – [email protected] – 718-817-4930
Employees: Office of Human Resources – [email protected] – 718-817-3900

Cross-Reference to Related Policies


Web Address

To follow

Exclusions and Special Situations


January 2023