Health Update: Preparing for Return to Campus

Preferred First Name

To foster a campus environment that is inclusive and that encourages self-expression, Granite State College has established a policy whereby any current student may use a preferred or chosen first name. We strive to have this name used wherever a legal name is not necessary.

Preferred First Name Use Policy

Granite State College recognizes that students may use names other than their legal name to identify themselves. These may include, but are not limited to, students who use their middle name instead of their first name, students who use nicknames of a legal name, students who use an anglicized name, or students who use a name that affirms their gender identity.

As a student, you will be able to designate one preferred first name. Your preferred first name is the name you would like to be referred to in your courses and within basic College communications. Other official College documents will display your legal name. You may change your preferred first name no more than once per academic term.

Granite State College reserves the right to decline or remove inappropriate preferred first names for the reasons set forth below:

The College will not permit a preferred first name if:

  • The preferred first name contains symbols or characters not in the English 26 letter alphabet.
  • The preferred first name carries a connotation that is profane, obscene, is a swear word or depicts a swear word.
  • It is sexually explicit or graphic.
  • It is excretory-related.
  • It is used to describe illegal activities or illegal substances.
  • It is used to disparage, promote or condone hate or violence directed at any type of business, group, person or persons.
  • It is for the purpose of avoiding legal obligation or for misrepresentation/impersonation.

This list is not exhaustive; we reserve the right to remove any preferred first name that could be deemed detrimental to the learning environment.


Should a student update their preferred first name to one that violates College policy, the Registrar’s Office will revert to the legal name and contact the student. If the Registrar’s office is unclear about whether the preferred first name is a violation, they will contact the Director of Student Affairs.

The Director of Student Affairs has the authority to deny any request for a preferred first name or remove a preferred first name, especially in cases where the preferred first name was created for the purpose of avoiding legal obligation or misrepresentation; names which are not administratively possible to implement (such as symbols or images); or names deemed inappropriate, offensive or derogatory.

What is a preferred first name?

A preferred first name is a name that you commonly use that is different from your legal first name.

  • A shortened derivative of a name (e.g., “Beth” for “Elizabeth”)
  • A middle name instead of a first name
  • First and middle initials (e.g., “TJ” for “Thomas James”)
  • An anglicized name (e.g., “Peter” instead of “Xingyu”)
  • A name that better represents the individual’s gender identity
  • A name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing


How to Set Your Preferred First Name

  • Sign in to your WebROCK account
  • Select “Personal Information”
  • Click on “Display/Update Preferred First Name” and follow the instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a preferred first name?
The name a student wishes to be known by in the College community that is different from a student’s legal name. Last names/surnames can be changed only with a legal name change.

What is a legal name?
The name that appears on your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or U.S. Social Security Card.

Where will my preferred first name appear?
It will appear in the following systems and communications:

  • Canvas profile
  • Advising and student support communication
  • IT support communications
  • Zoom

Granite State will continue to identify and modify additional locations to reflect preferred name.

Where will my legal first name appear?
There are certain academic records and business processes that require the use of your legal name. These include:

  • Financial aid documents
  • Your student account
  • Official student record

If I update my preferred name, will my email address automatically change?
If preferred name is provided at the time your account is created, your display name and email address will reflect your preferred name. For new applicants, your display name and email address will reflect your preferred name. For current students, updating your preferred name will change your display name, but not your email address. To request a change to your email address, complete a request form through the University System of New Hampshire.

Do I need to provide a preferred first name?
No. The choice to use a preferred first name is entirely up to you. Your legal name as reflected in Granite State’s systems will be used unless you select a preferred name.

Once I change my preferred name, how long do I have to wait until it begins to appear in communications?
Changes should take effect within 24 hours. Please be advised that preferred first names will appear in Canvas, our online learning management system.

Are there any preferred first name restrictions?
Your preferred name may not be used for purposes of fraud or misrepresentation. Granite State reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language.

Once I change my preferred name, will it affect my legal name?
No, setting or changing your preferred first name will not affect your legal name.

How often may I change my preferred name?
You may change your preferred first name as often as you like.

After I change my preferred name who at Granite State will have access to my legal name?
After you add or change a preferred first name, staff with an administrative need (e.g. Advising, Financial Aid, Deans’ Offices, Human Resources, Student Accounts, Registrar, or similar) may still see both a person’s legal and preferred names. As with Grade Point Averages and other sensitive information, these staff members shall be trained on the implications of this access.

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