Chosen Name Policy

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The University recognizes that there are many reasons why an individual may prefer to use a name other than their legal name. The University also recognizes and supports individuals whose birth name and/or legal name does not reflect a person’s gender identity and/or expression. When an individual would like to use a “chosen” name instead of a legal name, and the desire to use a chosen name is for a significant reason, and is not intended for the purposes of avoiding legal obligations, in jest, or for misrepresentation, the University permits the use of a chosen name in the course of University business and education, where possible and practicable.

The chosen name MAY be used in University communications and informational materials except where the use of the legal name is required by University business or legal need. The chosen name will NOT be used in cases where the legal name is required, including, but not limited to, financial, medical and law enforcement documents; transcripts; W-4 forms; I-9 forms; 1098-T forms; background check documents; payroll documents; Visa/immigration documents; employment-related documents; and similar types of documentation.


For a current list of places where chosen names can be displayed and where an individual can go to identify their chosen name, see Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh.  

Not all University systems, databases, and processes may be able to display a chosen name.  The University continues to explore ways to allow those systems to display chosen names and updates Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh as those changes occur.

In addition, because legal names are contained in the University’s systems, they may appear in an unexpected context.  As the University utilizes a number of systems, the timeframe in which changes can or may be updated within those systems may differ. 

Keeping Your Legal Name Private

If a student does not want their legal name shared with external individuals or organizations, the student may request the exclusion of their directory information pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). By requesting the exclusion, the student is limiting the University’s right to share the student’s directory information with external parties, excluding the government under certain circumstances. This also means that the student’s information will not be listed in the University’s directory and that the University cannot confirm their status as a student at the University to external organizations such as employers, credit card companies, etc. There are limited exceptions to FERPA in which the University may share information without the student’s consent.

Please contact to request the exclusion of directory information pursuant to FERPA.

Changing Your Legal Name

Listing a chosen name is not the same as changing one’s legal name. Changing a person’s legal name requires a court order. Once an individual legally changes their name, the individual may submit the proper legal documentation to the University and their legal name will be changed on all University records. For information and links to resources pertaining to changing a person’s legal name, see Updating Chosen Name and Gender Identity at Lehigh.


Lehigh University upholds the Principles of our Equitable Community and is committed to providing an inclusive educational, working, co-curricular, social and living environment for all members of its community that is free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Any person who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression may file a report with the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator at or by completing the online harassment reporting form.


Anyone with questions about this policy should contact one of the following offices:

The Pride Center for Sexual Orientation & Gender Diversity | 610.758.4126

Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity | 610.758.3034

Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator | 610.758.3535

Library and Technology Services

LTS HELP DESK - Get immediate assistance with library and technology questions.

Chat, email, call 610-758-HELP (4357), text 610-616-5910

Come to EWFM Library's main lobby

REQUEST HELP OR - Submit a service request/ticket, work order, or consultation request.

Office of the Provost | 610-758-3605