Preferred Name Information

Statement of commitment to inclusion

In support of the University of Pennsylvania’s commitment to providing an equitable and safe experience for students whose birth name and/or legal name does not reflect their gender identity and/or gender expression, Penn accepts requests from any student seeking to use a preferred first and/or middle name in University records.  A student’s preferred name can and will be used where feasible in all University systems unless the student’s birth name and/or legal name use is required by law or the student’s preferred name to use is for the intent of misrepresentation.



Transgender, gender non-conforming, gender variant, and non-binary students who wish to designate a preferred name should fill out the Preferred Name Change Form. Students wishing to change a birth name and/or legal name to a preferred name must meet with one of the following designated University Life trans* allies to discuss the scope and limitations of the preferred name request:

Erin Cross, Director, LGBT Center, 215-898-5044

Rodney Robinson, Associate Director, Office of Student Affairs, 215-898-6533


It is important to understand that designating a preferred name for use at Penn DOES NOT constitute a legal name change. A student’s birth name and/or legal name will continue to be used on certain University documents. Preferred first and/or middle names may be designated. The University is unable to designate a preferred surname without documents showing that the surname has been changed legally by a court or government entity.

Students interested in changing their name legally can find resources through local government or the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia. Another external resource that could be helpful is the National Center for Transgender Equality.


  • Can all Penn students request to change their designation from a birth name and/or legal name to a preferred name?

    Only transgender, gender non-conforming, gender variant, and non-binary students can request a change.

  • I would like to talk to someone about changing my name in Penn systems to my preferred name.

    Please contact one of the above University Life trans* allies.

  • I am a student and made a legal name change. How do I communicate this legal name change to the University?

    Legal names can be updated through the University Registrar

  • Can I have a preferred name printed on my diploma?

    Students who register a preferred name with University Life are entitled to receive two copies of their Penn diploma: one printed with their legal name as it appears in the Student Records System, and one printed with their preferred name as it is registered with University Life.