What’s in a name? Adding a preferred name in CUNYFirst

As the semester begins, it’s a good time to update our accounts – triple-check that we have all the correct CUNY logins, and that we can easily log into the Library’s numerous databases from off-campus.

We can also take a moment to update our name in CUNYFirst – the portal that you’ll use to register for classes, access financial aid, grades, and HR tools. At the top right of the Library website, you can also log into My Account with CUNYFirst credentials, to see current loans, holds, and any library fines.

Even if your CUNYFirst Username displays your legal first name [in the format Firstname.LastnameNN@login.cuny.edu], you can still change how the system sees you. Adding a preferred name means that it will be displayed when you log in, and will be the name that librarians see as they check out books for you, or look into your Library account.

If you are a current CUNY student, you can do so by logging into CUNYFirst and following these steps (also illustrated in these slides from John Jay College):

Adding a Preferred Name in CUNYFirst

    • Visit the login page for CUNYFirst – Log in with your username and password
    • Go to Student Center
    • Scroll to Personal Information and Click “Names” on the left hand side
    • On that page you can add a name and indicate that it is your preferred name.

As noted in this documentation from the CSI LGBTQ Resource Center, “Please note that this will only change your name on CUNYfirst, it is not a legal name change [and does not require a legal name change to be added]. After making this update your preferred name will also be shown on class rosters and Blackboard.”

Again, to update your name in CUNYFirst does not require legal documentation, but it will also not affect the entirety of your CUNY records. Without further action, your transcript will reflect the legal name on record in the CUNY system. Be sure to consult the Office of the Registrar at The Graduate Center for procedures regarding a formal name change request, gender change, and other related topics.

As per a 2018 memorandum re: Student Requests for Name and/or Gender Changes, “documents and records that may display a preferred name include course rosters, student identification cards, student email addresses, and honors, awards, and prizes issued by the University.” Similarly, “students should be free to change their gender on all prior, present, and future college records at their discretion.”

Welcome to the Mina Rees Library, and we look forward to working with you.

About the Author

Elvis Bakaitis is currently the Head of Reference at the Mina Rees Library. They're also proud to serve on the University LGBTQ Council, and as a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies.