Preferred First Name Information for Students

Effective the start of the 2018–2019 academic year, it is the practice of Drexel University that any student, faculty, or staff may choose to be identified within the University community with a preferred first name that may differ from the individual's legal first name. The official Preferred Name policy can be found on the Provost's website.

Students who want to use a preferred first name should initiate this process in DrexelOne. A person's preferred first name will appear instead of, or in addition to, the person's legal first name in University-related systems and documents where it is technically feasible and where the use of the legal first name is not required or necessary by University business or any legal need.

Drexel University reserves the right to deny or remove any preferred first name for any reason; including, but not limited to, misuse, misrepresentation, attempting to avoid legal obligation, or the use of offensive names, with or without notice.

Under Drexel University's Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policy, both the student's preferred and legal first names are identified, along with other items, as directory information and may be disclosed to the public without the student's consent unless the student opts not to permit such disclosure. To revoke the disclosure of directory information, a student has the option of restricting this access. Please refer to Right to Consent to Disclosure of Education Records on the FERPA policy website.

Adding and/or Editing Your Preferred First Name

Students can add or edit a Preferred First Name via the "Personal Information" page in their DrexelOne account:

  • Log into DrexelOne.
  • Select the "Account" icon in the top right-hand corner.
  • Select "Personal Information" from the drop-down menu.
  • Once you are in the Personal Information channel, select the "Edit" icon in the "Personal Details" section.
  • In the new window, the space for you to enter your preferred first name is located below "Date of Birth."
  • Select "Update" once finished.

Preferred First Name and Email Display

Students can change the display name for their email address once a preferred first name has been indicated in DrexelOne by emailing This update affects email display name, Drexel official email address, and Zoom display name.

Drexel Systems and Offices Using Preferred First Names

The chart below indicates which Drexel administrative systems and offices are currently using preferred first names, and which are not incorporating this information. This listing will be updated as new listings and more systems are updated:

Currently Using Preferred First Name

  • Admissions
  • Admissions
  • Alert Systems
  • AskDrexel
  • Advisor Visit Tracking (AVT)
  • BbLearn
  • Campus Dining
  • DegreeWorks
  • Diploma*
  • DragonCard
  • DrexelOne
  • Faculty Grading
  • Parking Services
  • Photo Class List
  • Residential Living and Student Conduct
  • RightNow (Drexel Central and all Kiosks)
  • StarRez (University Housing)
  • University Directory

Not Using Preferred First Name

  • Office of the Bursar (including eBill and refunds)
  • Commencement Program
  • Dean's List
  • Degree Verification
  • Enrollment Verification
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • National Student Loan Data Systems;
  • Office of Financial Aid
  • Payroll
  • Reporting to any entity external to Drexel University

*You may list a preferred or legal first name to be printed on your diploma. Please be advised that in some situations, the name appearing on your diploma may need to match other legal documents you possess. If that is the case, you may need to have your legal name printed on your diploma.

University-wide administrative reports will be updated over a period of time.

For all other offices/systems/processes not listed above, you should assume your legal name is being utilized.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Many individuals on campus have expressed a desire to be known by a first name different than their legal name. This different name would be a preferred first name.

If you have already picked up your email accounts, you will need to contact IT at to request that the display name for your account be updated. This update affects email display name, Drexel official email address, and Zoom display name.

Your preferred first name will be used in cases where your legal name is not absolutely necessary. The University's phased implementation of the preferred first name policy began in summer of 2018 and will be applied to additional systems and pages over time. In some cases, your preferred first name may appear alongside your legal name. This is to ensure that the implementation provides a consistent name experience across University systems and that the use of your preferred first name is everywhere, except when technically unfeasible and/or legally necessary.

Some examples of when your legal name is necessary include, but may not be limited to, financial aid documents, eBill statements, name on diploma, payroll and employment documents, and federal immigration documents. In some cases when you provide a preferred first name, it may be necessary to clarify that your preferred first name is different than your legal name. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, official interactions with police, University security, and/or other law enforcement officials, and verification of medical records.

Additionally, you will be required to sign your legal name on any administrative paperwork; including, but not limited to, financial aid, bursar, registrar, and college forms and documents.

Once a preferred first name is indicated in DrexelOne, individuals may obtain a Drexel University DragonCard Identification (ID) with the preferred first name printed on the card in place of the legal name. ID badges issued to students who are doing clinical work at hospital locations are subject to strict federal guidelines and; therefore, require the use of the student's legal name.

The first card issued with a preferred first name will be printed at no additional cost for the individual. When subsequent replacement cards are requested, the individual will be charged $20 for the issuance of a replacement card. Therefore, if an individual already has a Drexel University ID and then adopts a preferred first name, the previous Drexel University ID can be returned to the DragonCard office in the Creese Student Center for a new ID, at no additional cost.

The Drexel University ID that is printed with the preferred first name may be used as a valid identification card within the University. However, the Drexel University ID may not be used as an alternative to a legal ID, as it is not a valid legal form of identification. The use of a Drexel University ID to misrepresent an individual’s legal identity, in any circumstance, will be considered misuse and may result in disciplinary action.

Please note that most automated systems at Drexel University will be updated within 24 hours with your new information. Please allow at least 24 hours after indicating a preferred first name in DrexelOne before attempting to obtain a new Drexel University ID.

The University reserves the right to change a preferred first name back to the student's legal name when it is deemed inappropriate. In such an instance, the student will receive an email advising them of the decision to revert the name.

No, your last name will continue to be your legal last name. Only a preferred first name may be provided.

University systems that read data directly from the University's information system will display the preferred first name immediately. An example of this is the Class List page. It will display the student's preferred first name immediately. Third-party systems, such as Blackboard Learn, may take up to 24 hours to display your preferred first name because a job process must run to feed the data to the system. Each third-party system and data feed is different.

As often as you wish. There is no restriction while you are an actively enrolled student. Once your enrollment ceases, you will not be able to update your preferred first name settings.

You are free to determine the chosen first and middle name you want to be known by in the University's information system.

The University reserves the right to deny or remove any chosen name for any reason, including but not limited to misuse, misrepresentation, attempting to avoid legal obligation, or the use of offensive names, with or without notice.

Your preferred first name will be used in class by your instructor to take attendance and communicate with you in front of other students, faculty, and staff. This is the name you will be known as at Drexel University.

There are certain limitations on the use of special characters because of how they may affect the student information system database and subsequent third-party systems receiving the preferred first name. The special characters that are not allowed are: ! ~ @ # $ % ^ & * () _ +\- = \ [\] {} ; : " \\ | , . <> \/ ?

Additionally, the first letter of a preferred first names must be capitalized.

Yes, your preferred first name is directory information and may be used instead of a legal name; such cases include, but are not limited to, mailings that go to a physical or email address that you share with your parents/guardians and other family members.

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