The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Life

The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Life

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Name Changes

Vanderbilt Name Changes

Without legal documentation students have two (2) options to alter their exposed name in many (not all) university systems. Students can:

Secure an undocumented name change to have only their legal first and middle initials show in most university systems (i.e. from Marcus Jason to M. J.). To do this, students may print a Name Change form  from the University Registrar website or pick one up in person. Write “undocumented” as the reason for the name change.


Create a preferred name change that puts the name of a student’s choice on select internal university systems (i.e. from Olivia to Liv). To do this, students may print a Name Change form  from the University Registrar website or pick one up in person.

There are separate processes for each change. Students can do one or both processes based on their needs.

For questions about navigating this process, contact:

Matthew L. King, Senior Associate University Registrar, 615-322-7701,
Chris Purcell, Director, Office of LGBTQI Life, 615-322-3330,

Class Rosters & Brightspace

An undocumented name change (see above) allows first and middle initials and the last name to be shown to represent the first and middle names of the student. (For example, Mary Janelle Smith will be recorded as “M.J. Smith”).

A preferred name change allows in some internal University systems for a student to be known by a name of their choosing. In most cases, the faculty/staff member will still have access to the student’s legal name (unless you’ve also gone through the undocumented name change, in which case your first and middle initials will show.

If you would like additional support or assistance in contacting faculty in your classes in regards to names and pronouns. Please contact LGBTQI Life.

Student ID’s

An undocumented name change (see above) allows first and middle initials and the last name to be shown on the student ID. Please wait for your “undocumented name change” form to be processed through the office of the registrar. Preferred names are not currently allowed on student ID’s.

Financial Aid & Work Study Timesheet

For federal purposes your legal name will show on your financial aid documents and work study time sheets.

Email Address & VU Directory Information

To change your email and VU directory settings:
1. Go to accessVU
2. Click on Existing User
3. Scroll down to Modify personal options
4. Log-in with your VUnetID and password
5. Select Set Preferred Email Address to change your email address
6. Select VU Directory Options to change your directory information


Go to anchor link website: 
1. Log in to your Anchor Link account
2. Go to Settings under your profile picture on your home page
3. Edit your preferred first name and click save.

Please note: Your preferred name will show up on all Anchorlink rosters available to the public and most Anchorlink users. However, page managers will have access to the name that is on file through the Registrar’s office, in addition to your preferred name (i.e. Christopher (Chris)).


An undocumented name change (see above) allows the legal first and middle initials and the last name to be shown on the diploma. Preferred names cannot currently be used on diplomas.

Legal Name Changes

In accordance with Tennessee legislation, T.C.A. 29-8-102, you must be a resident of Davidson County, Tennessee to petition for a name change recognized by the United States government. Forms for an adult name change are available for downloading at Chancery Court Clerk & Master. Please be advised that all blanks must be legibly filled in with accurate information.

Fill out the petition form and the order form under Petition for Name Change of Adult.

DOCUMENTS TO BRING WITH YOU to legally change your name:
1.Completed Petition form and Order form to be presented to a Chancellor.
2. A copy of your birth certificate.
3. Photo identification (such as a driver’™s license, passport, or comparable photo identification).
4. Social Security card.
5. $159.50 cash or cashiers check (no personal check accepted). This fee covers two certified copies of the court order changing your name.

Be Advised:
Name change petitions are heard Monday-Thursday between 8:30 am and 9:00 am. The address is Public Square, Nashville, TN and travel to the 3rd floor suite 308 (this location is for Davidson County residents only). They encourage you to arrive at 8:10am to guarantee you are seen that day.

A student who is able to change their name through legal documentation (process above) can present this documentation and a œ”documented name change form” to the Office of the Registrar to ensure their name in University systems is correct. Graduate students employed at the University should also submit this paperwork to HR for your correct name to be ensured in all employment purposes.

Legal Passport Changes
If and/or when you change your name legally and if you have a passport you’d like to update, follow this link to find out how: