Name Options: Preferred First Names & Chosen/Lived/Professional Names

The University of Denver recognizes that many of its constituents routinely use a first name or full name other than their legal name. As part of being a welcoming and inclusive campus, the University of Denver uses preferred first names and chosen/lived/professional names widely in the course of DU business and education.

What is a "Preferred First Name” and what is a “Chosen/Lived/Professional Name?”

Beyond legal name, DU maintains two options for names which substitute in place of all or part of the legal name in University systems.

Preferred First Name:
A first name by which an individual wishes to be identified that is other than the individual's legal name is a "preferred first name." This is analogous to a nickname. Students and employees can submit a preferred first name online. The preferred first name will be displayed in addition to legal name rather than replace it, for example: Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (Shaq).

Chosen/Lived/Professional Name:
A chosen/lived/professional name is used in place of a legal name and replaces the legal name in most cases. This name option can include a first, middle and/or last name. For example, chosen/lived/professional name of Cardi B would replace the legal name of Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar.

Limitations on Use of Chosen/Lived/Professional Names
Because use of legal name is necessary in certain records and communications, both the legal name and chosen/lived/professional name are stored in DU's information systems. When a student or employee contacts a DU office in person or by phone, the staff in that office may only have electronic access to the legal name.

While DU will use of the chosen/lived/professional name in most instances, students and employees should be aware that the use of the legal name will continue to be necessary in certain communications and processes due to DU business or legal requirements and/or system limitations.

More Information on Name Options

Reasons for using Preferred First Names or Chosen/Lived/Professional Names
Many members of the DU community use a first name or full name that differs from their legal name. These may include individuals who prefer to use:

  • a middle name instead of a first name;
  • a nickname;
  • an anglicized name;
  • names with special characters: e.g., Renée, François, Zoë, Sørina, Peña
  • a name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing;
  • a name that better represents the individual's gender identity;
  • a name that reflects professional activities, publications, etc.

How to request a preferred first name be entered in DU information systems
Members of the DU community can submit a preferred first name online through MyDUType “profile” in the search, select My Person Profile. Preferred first names can be removed by clicking Update with nothing in the field.

How to request a chosen/lived/professional name be entered in DU information systems
To request your chosen/lived/professional name, you can complete and submit your request using our online form or our paper Name Change Request Form. Please submit the form to the office indicated in the instructions. Chosen/lived/professional names may be removed using the same form.

Use of Names within DU Systems
DU displays preferred first names and chosen/lived/professional names in most public-facing uses. This includes written communications, web displays and internal reports and processes. Not all University departments will have access to preferred first names while interacting with students.

Use of Legal Name
Use of legal name is necessary for certain data exchanges such as those to government agencies that verify the identity of a student by using the student's legal name. These include (but are not limited to) transcripts, payroll, tax, insurance, banking, financial aid and federal or state reporting.

Name Designation Request Policy
Individuals may designate a preferred first name or chosen/lived/professional name with which they identify and by which they prefer to be known. DU reserves the right to deny a name request in its information systems if the request is fraudulent, carries connotations offensive to good taste and decency, or violates University Regulations and/or Student Code of Conduct.

ID Card
The ID printing system will automatically pull your first and last name from the DU information platform.  You can request for your “preferred first name” to be used instead; simply let the ID office know prior to printing.  In order to use a preferred first name, you must have added that name into the DU system and wait about 24 hours for the systems to fully update. While getting an updated card, don’t forget you can also update your picture! Your DU ID card can also be used as an ATM card if you have accounts with US Bank, which has an on-campus location in Driscoll Commons. If US Bank has your legal info on file, your DU ID, with preferred first name, works for them! 

DU Email Addresses
DU will provide a new DU email address, upon request, for students or employees who have requested a chosen/lived/professional name. For further information, contact the IT Computer Help Center:

Diploma Names
Students may also specify a "diploma name" to use on DU diplomas. Additional information on diploma names can be found here: