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Preferred Name Process

*Disclaimer: On this website, we adhere to the language used within the LGBTQIA+ community, hence why “chosen/lived name” is used here. The College, however, uses “preferred name” in regards to the name change process.

General Information

What is a Chosen/Lived Name?

A chosen/lived name is one that you choose to be called that is different from your legal or official name of record. SUNY Geneseo recognizes that some use "chosen/lived name" over "preferred name", but for now Geneseo uses preferred. 

What is the purpose of SUNY Geneseo’s Preferred First Name Process? 

SUNY Geneseo recognizes that some students wish to use a name other than their legal or official name of record to identify themselves in day-to-day use.

The College acknowledges that a preferred (chosen/lived) name can and should be used where possible in the course of college education, business, and communication. This policy is limited to first names and not surnames or family names. 

*For non-U.S. citizens, the official name of record is the passport name. The College extends this accommodation in order to help foster a more welcoming, supportive and respectful campus climate for all of its students.



Where can my Chosen/Lived Name appear?

  • Dorm Door Decks
  • Knightweb
  • Canvas
  • Class Rosters
  • Google Email Display Name
  • Degree Works
  • Student Health Portal
  • Diplomas (you will be notified about this prior to graduation) 
  • Faculty Grade Entry
  • Mid-term Evaluations
  • Final Grade Submission
  • Advisee Listings
  • myGeneseo
  • Student Registration
  • Student Profile
  • Student Transcript Search Page
  • Online Directory
  • PointNClick

A student's legal/official name of record name will remain unchanged in all other College-related systems.

Who can modify a Chosen/Lived Name?

Chosen/Lived names are set at the Registrar's Office and require student consent. Therefore, only you as a SUNY Geneseo student can modify your own chosen/lived name.

How do I modify my Chosen/Lived Name?

Students wishing to utilize their chosen/lived name will use the online Preferred First Name Request Form. This online form is available at this link or from the Registrar's Office. 

Where will my legal/official first name of record be used?

  • Official transcripts
  • Enrollment verifications 
  • Third Party Database Systems (i.e. Merit Pages)
  • Paychecks
  • Medical Records
  • Financial Aid Documents
  • Federal Immigration Documents
  • Letters home
  • Hometown newspapers (dean’s list announcements) 

*Merit Pages is a network that Geneseo uses to list and distribute student achievements. Anyone can see your Merit Page. Because legal names are used in this system, you do have the option to opt out of having a Merit Page. 

The College will attempt to display a student’s preferred (chosen/lived) name to the College community where feasible and appropriate and make a good faith effort to update reports, documents and systems accordingly. If you find a place where your chosen/lived name isn’t being used, please contact Eunisha Tucker at

*Due to the ever-changing legal landscape, where a legal/official name of record appears could change.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anyone update my Chosen/Lived Name? 

A: No. Only you as the student or employee through the Registrar's Office can update your chosen/lived name. 


Q. Can I set my Chosen/Lived Name to whatever I want?

A: Although students are generally free to determine the chosen/lived name they wish to be known by, inappropriate use of the Preferred Name Policy (including but not limited to avoiding a legal obligation or misrepresentation) may be cause for denying the request. In addition, the College reserves the right to remove a chosen/lived name if it is deemed inappropriate (e.g., is offensive or derogatory), or if used inappropriately. Students should also be aware that the faculty and staff at Geneseo will see their chosen/lived name.


Q: Can I use my Chosen/Lived Name for everything at the College? 

A: No. Your chosen/lived name can only be used and will only appear in the places listed under, "Where can my Chosen/Lived name appear?" Your legal/official name will appear on all other college records and documents; refer to the section labeled, "Where will my legal/official first name of record be used?"


Q: How often can I change my Chosen/Lived Name at the College? 

A: Your chosen/lived name can only be changed once an academic year and twice during your time at Geneseo.


Q: How do I correct or change my Legal/Official Name at the College? 

A: Students who wish to change their official name of record must submit official documentation (e.g., court order, divorce decree) directly to the Office of the Registrar.


Q: Where can my Chosen/Lived name appear within campus systems?

A: Please refer to the section labeled, "Where can my Chosen/Lived name appear?"


Q: What about my ID card? 

A: New students can request that their first ID card contain their chosen/lived name. The chosen/lived name will appear on the front of the card, while the official name of record will appear on the back.

Returning students can optionally contact CAS to request that a new ID card with their lived name. The lived name will appear on the front of the ID card, but when using the ID card for state and federal identification purposes, the “official name of record” will be placed on the back of the card. 


Q: Do I have to pay for a new ID with my lived name on it?

A: There is usually a required $20 reissue fee charged for new cards. However, the Office of LGBTQ Programs and Services can cover the cost of your reissued ID. Contact Eunisha Tucker, Coordinator of LGBTQ Programs and Services, at or visit them in 348 in the College Union. 

If you have any further questions contact the College Registrar, Dr. Kimberly Willis, at (585) 245-5566 or, or Dean Sancilio at (585) 245-5706 or