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Name, Gender, and Pronoun Records


Northwestern student records include the following three name types:

Name Type Definition Fields Included Uses

Display– NEW
(Formerly Preferred Name)

Name as you would like it to appear in university systems (if different from your primary/legal name). May include preferred/chosen, professional, or nickname.

First*, Middle, Last*

In campus systems like CAESAR, MyHR, Outlook, Teams, Sharepoint, OneDrive, the Google G Suite, housing, and the directory initially. Shows on most pages in CAESAR Guest access other than the bill. Will be added to other systems in the coming months with the intent of replacing primary name where possible in all campus systems. Find more information here.


Name reported via admission application. Should match one's legal name as displayed on the Social Security card or passport.

First/Given*, Middle, Last/Family*

Official and financial records like transcripts, financial aid, student accounts, and immigration documents. Currently the default name when administrative users (not faculty or other students) review a student's record in CAESAR.


Name as it should appear on your Northwestern diploma.

First/Given*, Middle, Last/Family*

Most Northwestern schools permit students to choose a diploma name when they apply to graduate. Find more information here. Also used for commencement and convocation ceremonies and publications.

Primary Name Changes

If you have an employment and student affiliation with Northwestern, you must notify your registrar and HR of a change to your legal/primary name. Find out more about changing your legal name with HR here.

The following are required to change your primary name:

Changes may take 48 hours or more to take effect. Write to email with questions about the process.

Current students who hold an F1 or J1 visa – submit these to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

Former students may request a change when the student's identity or safety could be compromised by the presence of a previous name on University documents. Contact your registrar's office to request this change and be prepared to provide all required documents except the Wildcard.

Display (Preferred) Name & Pronouns

Northwestern is engaged in a multi-phase project to update systems so that students, faculty, and staff can provide their name as they would like it to be displayed in University systems (e.g., "Display Name") and their pronouns. This initiative is a partnership between The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI), Information Technology, Human Resources, and the Office of the Registrar. Find out more information here.

To enter or change Display Name and Pronouns: Log into NUValidate and select "Edit Online Directory Information"

Display Name

Many people use a name that is different than their legal name (e.g., preferred/chosen name, nickname, professional name). Display Name is designed to allow people to choose which name they would like to have displayed in Northwestern University systems. See project FAQs for further information. Display name is not required.

Students who have designated a display name but who routinely see their primary name in campus systems unexpectedly are invited to write to for support. The Office of the Registrar coordinates a group of staff who will work with the systems and departments involved to ensure their correct use of students' preferred names.


The pronouns someone uses do not always align with their gender identity or gender expression, so it's important not to assume. Someone may use more than one pronoun set (e.g., they/he) and the pronouns they use can change over time. All faculty, staff, and students are welcome to enter, change, or delete their pronouns at any time at the link above. Find more information about using pronouns and answers to related questions on the project page.


Federal reporting requirements currently stipulate limited gender identities: male, female, unknown, and "another gender." Northwestern offers only these options in official records at this time but will expand them in the coming months as part of our Gender Inclusive Initiative. Current students may request their University gender marker be updated by filing an Bio/Demo Update form and selecting one of the above gender identities currently recognized by the Department of Education.

Gender markers appear on class rosters and are sent to other campus systems, including those used to manage healthcare and insurance. Students changing from female to any other gender should ensure that they will still have access to necessary healthcare in light of the change.