MyUW - Bug - Setting Preferred Name After a Legal Name Change

A "preferred name" can be set in MyUW for those who use a first or middle name other than their given, legal, name. A recently discovered bug may prevent users from updating their preferred name after a legal name change.

Nature of the Issue

When updating preferred name, only very specific aspects of the last name field can be altered (capitalization, spacing, and some punctuation). If a preferred name is set and then a legal name is updated in the Student Information System or the Human Resource System, any attempts to change preferred name will be checked against previous legal last name. The following error will appear:

"For last name, you may only change capitalization, spacing, apostrophes and hyphens."

Example: John Anderson has a preferred name of "Jack Anderson". Jack gets married and changes his last name, so he is now legally John Smith. Jack's HR Department updates his legal name to "John Smith". MyUW shows Jack's legal name as "John Smith", but his preferred name is still "Jack Anderson". When he tries to update his preferred name to "Jack Smith", he gets the error above.

Note: If no preferred name is set prior to the legal name change, then a user should be able to set one without error post-legal name change.


Users affected by this bug can take the following steps to update their preferred name:
  1. Log into MyUW and launch the Preferred Name app.
  2. Click Delete next to the current preferred name.

  3. A deletion pending entry will appear. Wait up to two hours for the pending deletion to take effect.

  4. When deletion pending no longer appears, click Change to set a new preferred name.

  5. The new preferred name should take effect in MyUW within two hours. Note that it will take up to 48 hours before this is reflected in all systems that use preferred name, including the UW Directory and Office 365 e-mail accounts.

Hope for the Future

The MyUW team is queuing efforts to resolve this issue and hopes to have it resolved in the near future. In the meantime, please use the workaround described above if you encounter this issue.