What is Chosen Name?

A Chosen Name is the name a student wishes to be known by in the Elon community that is different from a student’s Legal Name.

What is Nickname?

A Nickname is the name a student wishes to be known by in the Elon community that can be a variation of a student’s Legal or Chosen Name.

What is Legal Name?

“Legal Name,” as defined by the Department of Homeland Security for issues relating to driver’s licenses and identification cards, and the name which can be accepted by Federal agencies for official purposes, is the “individual’s first name, middle name(s), and last name or surname, without use of initials or nicknames.” 6 CFR 37.1, 37.3 That name might appear on a passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, U.S. Social Security Card, or an official court order of name change.

For foreign nationals, not U.S. citizens, the “Legal Name” is the name that is entered in the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) of a passport.

Who can elect a Chosen Name?

Any student who attends Elon University may elect to use a Chosen Name.

Do I need to provide any documentation to elect a Chosen Name or Identity?

Documentation is not needed to elect a Chosen Name or identity. The student makes the choice. However, documentation is needed to change a sex marker.

Do you have to use a Chosen Name?

No. Use of Chosen Name is optional.

Will a change in a Chosen Name affect a student's legal name?

No. Both Chosen and Legal Names are stored in Elon’s student records system.

Will a student's Chosen Name show up in Elon's directory?

Yes. Chosen Name will show up in the directory instead of Legal Name unless the student has requested directory block. Students who do not want their Chosen Name made available as directory information should consider restricting access to directory information, in accordance with FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act). Changes to directory information may be updated by filling out a Directory Information Withhold/Release Form.

Are students required to get a new Phoenix Card if they select a Chosen Name?

No. Use of a Chosen Name identification card is only an option for students, not a requirement.

How do I request a Chosen Name on my Phoenix card?

Once your Chosen Name is updated with the Registrar’s Office, you may visit the Phoenix Office located in Oaks McCoy Commons, Room 201, to request a new valid Phoenix card reflecting your Chosen Name.

What name will be used for graduation and on my diploma?

When students apply for graduation they are instructed to indicate the name they wish to appear on the diploma and in the commencement program. Students may select to have their Chosen Name appear on the diploma and called at graduation, however the transcript will reflect the Legal Name.

*If you are an international student, we recommend you use the name on your passport for your diploma name. Otherwise, there may be problems with your home government if the diploma does not match the name on your passport. If you want a different name read aloud as you walk across the stage to receive the diploma, you may contact Susan Patton, in the Registrar’s Office.


Where can students elect a Chosen Name, pronoun, and/or gender identity?

The Registrar’s Office, located in Alamance Building, Room 102.

What is the difference between sex and gender?

In general terms, “sex” is assigned at birth and refers to biological markers such as genitalia and chromosomes.
“Gender” is personal and continually evolving. Each dimension of gender is informed by our unique intersection of identities, experiences, and personal characteristics. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex at birth.

I found a place/system that appears to use my Legal Name and I think it should use my Chosen Name. What should I do?

Contact Rod Parks at rparks4@elon.edu or 336.278.6670 or Robin Straka at rstraka@elon.edu or 336.278.6679. You may also come see them in person at the Office of the Registrar, located in Alamance Building, Room 102.