The University is happy to accommodate the use of a student, staff or faculty member’s preferred/chosen name throughout certain University systems and on certain documents as permitted by law. It is important to note that there are some University systems, such as financial and travel systems, that cannot accommodate the use of preferred/chosen name.
What is a Preferred/Chosen Name?
A preferred/chosen name is a first name that differs from a person’s legal first name. When a community member registers a preferred/chosen name, using the directions below, their preferred/chosen name will appear instead of their legal name in many University systems such as University e-mail, Student Information System (PeopleSoft) and Learning Management Systems (CourseWeb/Canvas). There are some systems, such as Concur, that will still display a person’s legal name.
Preferred/Chosen Name Initiatives
The University strives to accommodate the use of a student, staff or faculty member’s preferred/chosen name throughout certain University systems and on certain documents. It is important to note that there are some University systems, such as financial and travel systems, that may require legal name for business and/or legal purposes. Other historic systems may have no way or limited capacity to use preferred/chosen name. The University is dedicated to increasing and improving systems that can accommodate preferred/chosen name. If you encounter systems that do not display preferred/chosen name, please submit this information to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Preferred/Chosen Name Working Group will then review the reported system.
Preferred/Chosen Name Process
Through the Preferred/Chosen Name Process, students, staff and faculty can use a preferred/chosen name in some University systems. Community members can enter a preferred/chosen name via self-service by logging into their Pitt Account and setting up their preferred/chosen name. For more information, please visit the website: How to Update User Identity Account and Information. Please read the notice from the Office of the University Registrar, Preferred Name Guidance.
Panther Central will be ready to print a new Panther Card, listing a preferred name, within 24 hours from when a community member completes the preferred/chosen name process. There is no cost for the first "preferred name" Panther Card. All other Panther Card reprints will result in a $20 fee.
Diploma Name Request Form:
By completing the Diploma Name Request Form, students may request to have a preferred/chosen name printed on their diploma (“Diploma Name”).
Financial Aid and PittPAY/student accounts:
The Financial Aid Office, Student Financial Services and the regional campus business offices will try to use the student’s preferred/chosen name whenever possible. However, there may be times when a student’s legal name is required for federal and state aid processing and financial activity on students’ accounts. will try to use the student’s preferred/chosen name whenever possible. However, there may be times when a student’s legal name is required for federal and state aid processing.
Name Change Project (Community Resource):
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund's Name Change Project provides free legal name change services to low income transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary people through partnerships with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and corporate law departments.
Central Access: For employees utilizing Talent Center to recruit and hire at the University, a preferred/chosen name change can be submitted to the Office of Human Resources by emailing email@example.com
Internal Applicants: Employees using Talent Center to apply to jobs within the University can utilize their preferred/chosen first name directly on their application.
Evaluation and testing has recently begun to incorporate preferred/chosen name, where possible, in the Pitt Worx suite of applications. In Pitt Worx, an employee’s name is stored one time within the Human Resources (HR) application and subsequently linked throughout the various applications including Pitt Worx, Employee Self Service, SPAR, General Ledger, Payables, Purchasing and P-card Redistribution. HR employee information is automatically interfaced with many other University systems including Concur, PantherExpress, Effort Certification (ECC) and many others. One benefit of the single location of an employee name within HR is to allow Employees to change their name in one place, facilitating the change in the interfaced systems through automatic scheduled processes. Within the Pitt Worx applications, the legal name is required in many areas for legal and reporting reasons, thus when preferred name is implemented, it can appear differently or not at all depending on the statutory requirement.
Currently, when a Pitt Worx preferred/chosen name is established for an employee, it will be used in place of the legal first name in all email notifications automatically originated from the Pitt Worx system. For example, if a person’s legal name is Smith, Robert L and they enter a preferred name of Bob, the Pitt Worx Workflow Mailer notification email will show Smith, Bob. However the Pitt Worx Time Off Balances window and the self-service Pay Statement will show Smith, Robert L (Bob) and any reimbursement checks issued from Payment Processing would show Smith, Robert L.
If you would like more information on Pitt Worx preferred name or would like to have Pitt Worx reflect a preferred name, please contact the IT Help Desk and someone from the Pitt Worx team will contact you regarding next steps.
The University’s insurance carriers and benefit vendors, such as UPMC and TIAA, are only able to accept legal name at this time for their records. Legal name is required for various financial, tax, and personal health information reasons in their systems. If a legal name is changed at any point within the University’s Pitt Worx system, then the new legal name will be automatically sent to each of the insurance carriers and benefit vendors in which one participates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Once I submit a preferred/chosen name, how long will it take to appear in University systems?
A: Once you set a preferred/chosen name, some systems will display your name immediately. Other systems require 24-48 hours before a preferred/chosen name is displayed.
Q: Will my preferred name populate to all University systems?
A: No. The University is dedicated to increasing systems that can accommodate preferred/chosen name, but not all University systems have this capability. In addition, there are some systems that legally require the use of a legal name. If you encounter systems that do not display preferred/chosen name, please submit this information to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Preferred/Chosen Name Working Group will then review the reported system.
Q: Can I set a preferred/chosen last name?
A: At this time, the University can only accommodate the use of a preferred/chosen first and middle name.
Q: What if I legally change my name?
A: Students: To legally change your name on all University of Pittsburgh Student Records, you must provide legal documentation such as a marriage license, birth certificate, court order, or divorce decree. Students should submit a written request for the name change, accompanied by a copy of the appropriate legal documentation, to the Office of the Registrar. For more information visit Personal Information.
Staff and Faculty: Individuals receiving their first or updated social security number/name after they have completed their onboarding process must submit their name and social security number to the Payroll Department exactly as it appears on the card. The information can be uploaded through this secure site.