University provides option of using a preferred name

by Marketing & Communications,

Willamette students, employees and staff may specify a name other than their legal one for use within the university’s information systems.

Do you use a different name from your legal one? Do you get tired of seeing your legal name used in the university’s information systems? Then, you’re in luck.

Students can now specify a chosen or preferred name — first, middle and last — in Colleague Self Service. Employees have this option in Workday.

Jade Aguilar, Willamette’s vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion, says the university’s leadership recognizes that many members of the community use names other than their legal ones to identify themselves.

“We’re doing this with the intention of serving our transgender students, but it also benefits a variety of people, such as those who use a nickname or an abbreviated version of their legal name,” Aguilar says. “This is one part of our many-pronged and whole-campus approach to realizing the university’s commitment to be a more equitable and inclusive community.”

The plan is to display preferred names in as many systems as possible. It will take some time to change all systems, so please be patient. Some documents and systems — such as financial aid and billing records and communications, tax or benefit-related documents — still require a person’s legal name under federal or state law and will not include the preferred one. Email addresses will also remain unchanged, and at this time, ID badges will show only legal name. For project updates and more information on where legal and preferred names are currently used, go to

Community members are asked not to abuse the use of a preferred name for purposes of misrepresentation, identity theft or other inappropriate purposes including inclusion of inappropriate language. These actions are cause for removal of the preferred name and could result in disciplinary action. As long as the use of a preferred name is not abused, the university will work to use preferred names wherever possible in the course of university business and education.

If you don’t have a preferred name, no action is required on your part. Your legal name serves as a default. Here are directions for those wishing to use a preferred name.

How to enter your preferred name


  • From the student portal, go into Colleague Self Service.
  • Click on your user ID at the top right.
  • Enter your preferred name into the drop-down fields.


  • From the employee portal, go into Workday.
  • Click on the ‘Personal Information’ icon.
  • Click on ‘Preferred Name.’
  • Enter your preferred name.


If you have technical questions about entering a preferred name, please contact the WITS Help Desk at 503-370-6767.

If you have questions about use of preferred names, please contact Jade Aguilar at 503-370-6195.

Willamette University

Marketing and Communications

Waller Hall, Fourth Floor
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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