Preferred Name

Professor and students at Business Quotient launch, FSB
Professor speaks to his class in language lab, CAS
Professor Scott Hartley, wearing protective glasses, talks with students in the lab, CAS


Many members of the Miami community use a name that differs from their legal name (listed as “primary name” in university data systems). These may include individuals who prefer to use:

  • a middle name instead of a first name;
  • an anglicized name;
  • a name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing; or
  • a name that better represents the individual’s gender identity.

To encourage a more welcoming climate, Miami is in the process of implementing procedures that allow students, faculty, and staff to indicate their preferred name to the university community regardless of whether they have legally changed their name and as long as the use of a preferred name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation.

The preferred first name will be used consistently across internal University communication and reporting systems, except where the legal name is necessitated by legal or business requirement.

A preferred name is a first name that may be chosen to be used instead of the legal first name. Miami will not accept a preferred name that is vulgar, offensive, or obscene; creates confusion of the individual with another person; or otherwise constitutes misuse or abuse as defined in this policy. The use of a preferred name cannot be used for the purpose of misrepresentation and must otherwise comply with Miami policies, including the Student Code of Conduct.

The preferred name will appear instead of legal name in the Miami University online directory, on Miami ID cards (along with the unique ID), on all University reports (unless the legal name is required in the report output), Degree Audit Report, University-supported Learning Management Systems, advising system, BannerWeb and class and photo rosters, internal scheduling systems, and unofficial transcripts.

Faculty, staff or students who update their preferred name after being issued an identification card may request a replacement card. Faculty, staff or students who request replacement identification cards should be advised that appropriate charges may apply.

The legal name will be used only when it is required for business, legal and external reporting purposes such as student bursar accounts, financial aid documents, official transcripts, diplomas, federal immigration documents, police records, conduct records, medical and health records, payroll, and professional licensure records. 

To ensure accurate records, students, faculty, and staff also should routinely identify themselves if using a preferred name, and when identifying, referring to, or requesting about others should use the student’ preferred name as well as their UniqueID. The unique ID is linked in Banner to both the student’s legal name and preferred name to ensure accuracy of identity.


Preferred name–A preferred name is defined as an alternative to the individual’s legal name as designated by the individual in university systems.

Legal name–A person’s legal name is the name they use for official governmental documents, such as licenses, passports, and tax forms.

Primary name–A person’s legal name.

Systems and Processes

Miami University utilizes multiple systems and applications to manage its operations and processes. Where appropriate university systems and applications will be modified to display only the preferred name. The modification process may take up to two years.

Instances in which a primary or legal name is required include, but are not limited to, financial aid forms, tax forms, university transcripts, and health records.

Since faculty, staff and students will be able to update their preferred names at any time throughout the year in the main Banner system, other university applications or systems that are dependent on data that is primarily stored in Banner must be refreshed on a regular, scheduled basis as much as practicable.

Systems, forms and processes that collect and/or use student information should be updated to allow the use of preferred names of students.

Places Where Preferred First Name May Be Used

  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Miami ID Card
  • MyMiami
  • MyCard
  • Online Directory Listing
  • BannerWeb, Class and Photo Rosters
  • Grade Submission Reports
  • Canvas LMS
  • Advisee Reports
  • Student Success Collaborative- Advisor Note Taking & Scheduling
  • Degree Audit Reports
  • Study Abroad Registration
  • Writing Consultations (Howe Center)
  • Orientation Scheduling
  • Course Evaluations
  • Student Wellness Online Programs

Places Where Legal First Name Will Be Used

  • Bills, Bursar Accounts
  • Financial Aid Records
  • Verification Requests and Enrollment Inquiries
  • Official Transcript
  • Diploma
  • Federal Immigration Documents
  • Police Records
  • Medical and Insurance Records
  • Conduct Records
  • Payroll
  • Professional Licensure Records
  • Student Disabilities Management (SAIM/AIM)
  • Office of Ethics & Student Conflict Resolution Scheduling

For more information, contact LGBTQ Services