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Preferred First Name & Pronoun FAQs

What is a preferred name?

A preferred name is the name someone goes by in day-to-day life. For example, some people named “James” go by “Jim.”

What is a preferred pronoun?

A preferred pronoun is a pronoun one uses to best represent one’s gender identity. The preferred name and preferred pronoun will appear on faculty class rosters, academic advising lists and Campus Health providers to support students during their time at Tulane. The entry of a preferred pronoun is entirely optional. Students who would like to indicate their preferred pronoun can enter this information via in Gibson Online. Preferred names and preferred pronouns will be included on faculty class rosters, grade rosters and academic advising lists beginning in the Spring 2016 semester.

How do I add a preferred name and/or pronoun?

Log in to Gibson Online. Click on the student tab and select the link, Update Preferred First Name and/or Preferred Pronoun, on the left side of the page under Records:

Can I put anything as my preferred name?

Your preferred name should be the name that you use in social interactions. It should be a name that you want your professors and fellow students to call you. You cannot list a preferred name for the purpose of evading legal obligation. The University reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language, or is being used for misrepresentation.

Do I have to provide and set a preferred name or pronoun?

No. Using a preferred name or pronoun is entirely optional.

May I specify a preferred middle or last name?

Preferred name pertains to your preferred first name, only.

Where will my preferred name be listed?

Your preferred name will appear on Splash Cards created after October 19, 2015, on online faculty class rosters and grade rosters, academic advising lists, advisee lists, unofficial transcripts and on other internal Tulane University documents. Your preferred name may also appear in Tulane’s public online directory (unless you withhold your directory information via Gibson Online).

Where will my legal name be listed?

Your legal name will appear on all external documents including diplomas, official transcripts, student employment/payroll records, financial aid and Accounts Receivable documents, enrollment certification/verifications, international student status, student employment records and any document requiring a legal name. It will also be reported to external entities such as the National Student Clearinghouse and all other external third parties.

When/why will campus departments use my legal name?

Some campus departments must send student data to government agencies that verify the identity of students using the legal name, in some cases Social Security Number, and other personal identifiable information that prohibits the use of preferred name.

Will my preferred name and/or pronoun appear or be used everywhere in university systems?

The preferred name/pronoun option will appear via Gibson Online) starting on October 19, 2015. Throughout the remainder of the fall 2015 term preferred name information will be disseminated via various electronic feeds across campus. By the start of the Spring 2016 semester preferred name, if entered by a student, will replace the legal first name in most university systems. Legal name will always be stored and used in business processes that require use of the legal name, such as diplomas, official transcripts, financial aid and accounts receivable documents, enrollment certification/verifications, international student status, student employment records and any document requiring a legal name.

Can I update my preferred name and preferred pronoun at any time?

Yes! You can update your preferred name or pronoun at any time during the semester via Gibson Online).

How do I obtain a new splash card with my preferred name?

Students who would like to have a preferred name on their Splash Card should first log in to Gibson Online), click on the student tab and under Records select, Update Preferred First Name and/or Preferred Pronoun. After entering your preferred name you can visit the Splash Card Office in the LBC to receive a new card.

Can I have my preferred name on my diploma?

Unfortunately you cannot have your preferred name on your diploma. Your legal name must appear on your diploma.

How do I correct or change my legal name for university systems?

Students who wish to change their legal name must supply supporting legal documentation and complete the request for name change form with the Office of the Registrar.

Can I change my email address to better match my preferred name?

At this time changes to email addresses are not available. Please contact the Registrar’s Office for further information.

Why is the University offering these options?

These improvements originated from recommendations by the Tulane Undergraduate Student Government, and represent best practices of university Registrars. President Fitts and the President’s Cabinet have supported the changes.

Why are employees not included in the use of preferred name?

This initiative began with the Undergraduate Student Government on behalf of students. As a result, all improvements were made in the student database. The employee database, which is distinct from the student database, does not currently have an option to enter preferred names and/or pronouns. If you are a staff or faculty member who would like to see similar options for employees, please contact Katie Canella of the Professional Gender & Sexuality Coalition, which seeks to create an inclusive environment for all faculty and staff at Tulane University. She can be reached at or 504-865-5836

How much will it cost to receive a new splash card with my preferred name?

You will receive one free splash card with an updated preferred first name if you turn in your old splash card during the same transaction.