WCC's physical campus is closed, online services and learning continue. Stay healthy, stay informed. Find information, resources and how we're handling COVID-19 at

Request to change your primary name

Whatcom Community College recognizes usage of primary names whenever possible. We believe in creating an inclusive, welcoming, and affirming environment for all students. A primary name (sometimes referred to as “preferred name”) is a first name that students can designate to be used instead of a legal first name. Students may opt to use a primary name by completing the information below.

Students are able to request that the College update their WCC email address and display name to reflect a primary name. It is important to note that making these changes to the student email address and display name is not the same as a legal name change. For more information, please visit Primary Name Change FAQs. If you have questions, please contact Entry Services (LDC 102) or 360.383.3030. 

Current students may elect to have their primary name (first name only) displayed on class rosters and directories where legal names are not required.



How do I provide my primary name?

Follow these directions to set your primary name with Whatcom Community College.


When will I see my primary name reflected in my student account?

Once you have completed your primary name change process, it will take three business days for internal systems to update reflecting your primary name change. If your email address is changing, your old network account will be removed after seven days and will be replaced by a new one that reflects your primary name. During that window of time, you are responsible for backing up your emails and files before your old account is removed.


How do I get my primary name printed on my Orca ID Card?

Once you have provided the College with your primary name by logging into MyWCC and following the directions you may visit Office of Student Life and Development to have your Orca ID Card printed. Please allow 1-2 business days for your primary name to be updated in College system before visiting the Office of Student Life and Development.


Do I need to pay for an updated Orca ID Card?



Why would someone want to use a primary name?

The reasons for choosing a primary name that may be different from a legal name are personal and different for each individual. Students may have many reasons for asking to have their preferred names, over their legal names, displayed on non-legal documents including:

  • Choosing a name that aligns with their gender identity
  • Desiring to use a “Western” or “Americanized” name rather than their legal name from another country
  • Preferring to use a nickname or middle instead of their legal first name


Why does Whatcom Community College use primary names on non-legal documents?

Referring to students by the name they wish to be called in classrooms and when interacting with College faculty and staff supports a respectful learning environment. Whatcom Community College values and affirms diverse experiences and perspectives. We strive to create a welcoming and respectful learning environment, promoting access, opportunity and justice for all students.


Where will my primary name appear?

Currently, primary names appear in the following systems:

  • Canvas
  • Instructor Briefcase (class rosters)
  • WCC Student Orca ID cards
  • Student E-mail Accounts
  • Degree planner and Early alert (Starfish)
  • Student Conduct Data System (Maxient)
  • Access Services AIM Portal
  • RAVE Emergency Alert System
  • ALMA Library System
  • Student Recreation Center/Pavilion (Fusion)
  • Diplomas


Where does the college use my legal name?

All other activities that require use of a legal name such as:

  • Transcripts
  • International Students Documentation
  • Financial Aid Records
  • Student Employment Records
  • Federal Requests for Information
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Public Records Requests
  • Other Legal Documents

Students who want to change their first name on these documents must provide legal documents.

In some locations where your legal name is shown, an asterisk (*) may appear after your first name. The asterisk indicates that you have a primary name and will help ensure that faculty and staff refer to you by your primary name.


What is a legal name? 

A legal name is the name that appears on your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or U.S. Social Security Card. For more information on how to change your legal name, visit this informational page.


I changed my legal name. How do I update my education records?

Bring your court documents or marriage certificate to Entry Services (LDC 102).


What if faculty/staff do not refer to me by my preferred name?

Students who experience problems, bias, or discrimination related to their primary name may contact the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) for resources and assistance.


How do I report bias and/or discriminatory behaviors or processes?

Whatcom Community College’s Student Rights and Responsibilities (Student Code of Conduct) prohibits individuals from using lewd, indecent, and/or discriminatory behavior. You can submit an incident report or contact the Office of Community Standards at LDC 208 in the Laidlaw Center at (360) 383-3070. 


Where do I go to get support?

Whatcom Community College has a variety of resources to explore and address your needs:

Entry Services (Admissions & Registration) | LDC 102 | 360.383.3030

Counseling Services | LDC 116 | 360.383.3080

Intercultural Center | SSC 217 | 360.383.3100

Student Help Desk | HNR 104 | 360.383.3420

Human Resources | LDC 235 | 360.383.3400

Office of Community Standards | LCD 208 | 360.383.3070

Campus Safety and Security | ASB 114 | 360.383.3394