OWU recognizes that students may prefer to be addressed by a first name other than their legal first name for a variety of reasons. A preferred first name is a name that you choose to use in place of your legal first name on certain university-related records or documents. You might think of a preferred first name as the name you are called in day-to-day life. Your last name must remain as your legal last name.


Students who wish to change to their preferred first name should send an email with your request to registrar@owu.edu. Your request will be reviewed, and if approved, changed in the system. It may take a few days, but once that work is complete, your preferred first name will appear in the following systems:

  • Online Directory
  • Self-Service
  • Blackboard
  • Degree Audit
  • BishopApps (email, calendar, etc)
  • Starfish
  • Handshake
  • Sierra

Current students may have their OWU Student ID card changed to their preferred first name. Once the change is complete, please go to the OWU Card ID Office and they will provide a new ID card to match your preferred name at no additional charge.

We are currently working on ways to facilitate student selection of gender identity and pronouns. We are not able to provide estimated timelines on when or if this will be possible, as many systems need to accommodate the functionality before we can proceed.

Can I use different preferred first names in each system?
No. Your preferred first name should be the same in each system.

Can my preferred first name be anything I want?
There are limits to what you may select as a preferred first name. Character limits and character restrictions are some examples. Other restrictions are set by the Registrar’s Office. Requesting a preferred first name can only be done by the individual who will be using the preferred name. Examples of preferred first names that will not be approved include:

  • Names containing offensive or inappropriate language as deemed by the Registrar
  • Names used for the purpose of misrepresentation

How often can I change my preferred name?
To prevent misunderstandings or misidentification, a preferred name change may be made only once per academic year. Identifying a preferred name is an important decision that impacts how you will be regarded on campus and should be made with careful consideration.

Where will my preferred first name be used?
The preferred first name will show up on the systems listed above. Your legal name will be used on other statements, documents, and systems, such as financial aid and billing statements, transcripts, and official enrollment/degree verifications.

How do I change my legal name with the university?
Students need to furnish the university with legal documents verifying the legal change of name, such as a court document, Social Security card, marriage certificate, or driver’s license. This will change your name on all university systems and documents. Contact the Registrar’s Office for more details.