Chosen-Name Policy

Approved by: Officers
Responsible Office: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Responsible Administrator: Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Date Established: August 2020
Date Last Revised: August 2020

Mount Holyoke College is a women’s college that is gender diverse. We seek to support individuals across the gender-diversity spectrum by providing options to indicate a chosen name to be used on campus. We affirm every individual’s right to be represented by the name they choose for themselves.

Name Policy

Mount Holyoke College supports the need for individuals to choose a name that accurately reflects their identity. This policy provides specific support for transgender and nonbinary individuals, any individuals who choose to regularly use a name that is different from their legal name and those whose professional name is different from their legal name. The chosen name will be used for College purposes as broadly as possible on campus whenever a legal name is not required.

Definitions of terminology

A legal name refers to the name assigned to individuals in government-issued identification cards, such as a passport or Social Security card.

A chosen name refers to the first name any individual uses to represent themselves, other than their legal first name, for College purposes that don’t require use of the legal name.

A nickname refers to a name that a person prefers for informal communications and greetings. It will appear in the College directory and whenever possible in systems that can include a nickname as an additional field. It will not appear in place of the individual’s legal name or chosen name on any official College documents.

Most College functions are met through the use of the legal name, chosen name or nickname. Additional names may be collected by the College for specific purposes (e.g., a diploma name or name used in citations.)


Mount Holyoke College upholds that personal pronouns are essential in affirming the diversity and fluidity of gender identities. Pronouns are neither preferred nor optional. We strive to ensure that every member of our campus community is addressed in a way that acknowledges and respects the fullness of their gender identity. We encourage all students, faculty and staff to communicate their pronouns to others, through spoken communication when meeting or greeting someone in person or virtually, or in writing, such as email signatures, business cards, resumes or nametags.

To learn more about pronouns:

Where Names Appear

Legal names

Legal names may appear on documents or in office systems that rely on legal and medical records, such as systems within Health Services, Human Resources, the Registrar’s Office, and Student Financial Services.

Chosen Names

  • Campus Directories (students: internal directory; faculty/staff: internal and external directory)
  • Gmail and GSuite services profile name (email address does not change)
  • Moodle
  • my.mtholyoke
  • OneCard
  • Pathways
  • Various other systems (LinkedIn learning etc.)

Do you have another example to add to this list of where names appear? Please let us know. Thank you for supporting and participating in this policy.

How to change “first name” to a “chosen name” on campus

  • Log in to my.mtholyoke.
    • Students: Go to the Self-Service Menu and click on “Demographics & Contact Info” and then “MyProfile.”
    • Employees: Go to the Self-Service Menu and click on “Employee Profile” and then “MyProfile.”
  • Click on “Edit Personal Identity.”
  • Update your chosen name and nickname, as applicable.
  • Click “Save.”


How can I communicate my name and/or pronouns?

If you want to communicate your name and/or pronouns, introduce yourself with the name you would like to be addressed by. Please note that offices that rely on legal, medical or academic records may need to know your legal name in order to find your records.

How can I change my legal name?

The process required to change one’s legal name is based on the state and/or country in which one resides permanently.

A person who lives in Hampshire County can obtain a change of name by filing a petition with the Hampshire Probate and Family Court. More information is available in The Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Western Massachusetts Trans Resource Guide. Transgender people living in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont) seeking to update their legal name and gender on federal and state documents can receive free legal representation through GLAD’s Transgender ID Project.

Once you have a court order, if you are a current student, you can change your legal name on current College records by bringing a copy of the order, a driver’s license, or passport with your new legal name to the Office of the Registrar. If you are a current employee, bring your documents to the Human Resources Office.

Which name should I use to address someone?

Refer to a person by the name they use to introduce themself. If a person tells you a name that is new to you, or if you are unsure if they use the same name in every circle, it is a good idea to clarify where it is safe and comfortable to refer to them by their chosen name.

Review Mount Holyoke resources for affirming and supporting pronouns such as the LGBTQIA+ Student Resources and FAQ and Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Students.

What to do in the event of refusal or misuse.

Refusal to use or consistent misuse of someone’s stated name or pronouns is a form of gender-based harassment protected under Title IX. If someone is not using your requested name or pronouns, you can fill out a bias report (either anonymously or by name) or contact the Mount Holyoke Title IX officer at for more guidance.

How are a chosen name and nickname different?

A nickname is a shortened or familiar form of a person’s name. A chosen name is not a nickname, although some people with a chosen name also may have a nickname they use informally as well.

How do I change my name/gender as an alum?

You can change your name, prefix and/or gender notation by contacting College data services directly at