Preferred Name Update

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OU/OUHSC students, faculty, and staff can refer to themselves by a "Preferred Name" other than their legal given or first and/or middle initial. Only your first and/or middle initial can be replaced by a Preferred Name. This article provides steps for OU/OUHSC students, faculty, and staff account holders to update their preferred first names. If you have an exception or sponsored affiliate account, please submit a general IT ticket.

Student, Faculty, and Staff Preferred Name Change

If you are a current OU/OUHSC student, faculty, and staff and wish to update your preferred name, you may do so at

  1. To begin, log in to
  2. In the upper right corner, click on your name, then Account Settings.
  3. Next, in the Personal Information section, click the “Edit preferred first name” option.
  4. You may now enter your preferred first name, when done, click the “Update preferred first name” button.
    • Additionally, one may update their Preferred Name within the Canvas system by logging in at, clicking your Account, clicking the Edit Profile button, then entering your updated name.
  5. Your name should now update on supported systems in 12-24 hours.

Display Name

Several university systems, such as email, use a display name to identify you. If you have not previously set a preferred name, your display name will show as your legal last name, your first name and, when available, middle initial (e.g., Sally, Wood E.) If you have set a preferred name, your display name will show as your legal last name and preferred name (e.g., Wood, Sally).

Display names will update in university systems approximately 12-24 hours after updating your preferred name. Please refer to this FAQ if you've updated your preferred name and your display name is not updated.

Legal Name

@OU.EDU Students - If you wish to change your legal name with OU, please see this page for more information.

@OUHSC.EDU Students - If you wish to change your legal name with OU, please see this page for more information.

All University (OU/OUHSC) faculty, staff, and student workers need to reach out to their campus HR representative to update their legal name in the OU HR system.

Display Name/Preferred Name FAQs

Q: Why isn't my display name updated in Outlook/Teams after 24 hours?

A: The most likely reason your display name is not updated is because your desktop clients are using cached versions of the OU Global Address List (GAL). To confirm, log into and visit the GAL to verify if the changes are replicated. If they've replicated you can clear your GAL cache by visiting this article; otherwise, please submit a General IT ticket for assistance.

Q: Will updating my preferred name also update my email address?

A: No, your email address will remain the same.

@OU.EDU account holders may create an alias by logging into and visiting Account settings > General > OU email. (Note: Alias changes can take up to 24 hours to sync across all systems. Users are encouraged to set the alias during a time when they do not expect to need immediate access to their email, such as a weekend.)

@OUHSC account holders are not currently able to set or request an alias change.


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Article ID: 241
Sun 9/6/20 2:47 PM
Wed 11/1/23 10:26 AM