Personalized Email Aliases

All CU faculty, staff and students may select a personalized email alias. A number of choices are offered based upon a person's name as it appears in Columbia's Human Resources system (PAC) or the University Student system (SIS). Your alias options will change if your name is modified in either of these systems.

For example, George Jetson (UNI gj5437) might be provided with the option for choosing email alias [email protected].

In this case, email addressed to [email protected] and [email protected] would be delivered to the same mailbox. You should never forward your email to your email alias!

Sometimes numbers are included in a person's alias choices, for example [email protected], if a certain combination has already been acquired by another person.

The email alias is never used to log into any online services. The login process for all University services continues to use solely the UNI and its password.

How to choose, change or remove your email alias

  1. Visit Manage My UNI.
  2. Click the Email Alias icon.

You can also visit Manage My UNI and click Change Your Published Email Address to indicate that you want your email alias displayed in Columbia's online directory and be used as your sending address in LionMail. You may also use this page to change your address back to the [email protected] format in the online directory.

Note: Your email alias delivers mail to the same place as [email protected]. You should never forward your email to your email alias!

If you plan to use your email address for an official communication (job, etc.), we recommend you use your [email protected].
Do not send a test message from your LionMail [email protected] to your new Lionmail alias. This will cause an email loop with your test message and will never arrive.
You should send a test message from an external mail account to your LionMail address.

In order to change your default sending address in LionMail to your email alias:

1. Visit the Manage My UNI page and click on Change Your Published Email Address.

2. Log in and choose the Publish email address in the Columbia University Online Directory option.

3. Select the option to change your default sending address to your email alias.

After you have followed the above steps, you may also change the sending address on your iPhone or iPad.


A Columbia email alias is a "virtual" email address that points to your destination UNI email address mailbox where your email actually resides. Sending mail to it  is the same as sending to your UNI email address. You may also use your email alias as your “from” address when sending mail from your UNI account. These aliases became available at the University beginning in early 2015.

Columbia University faculty, staff, and students are eligible for an email alias.  

New faculty and staff must wait until their appointment has been finalized in the CU HR system (PAC) before selecting an alias. 

Teachers College, Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff are not eligible. CUIMC students, faculty and staff are not eligible. Columbia University temporary employees and contractors are not eligible. CU alumni who do not currently have CU faculty/staff/student status are also not eligible.

New faculty and staff must wait until their formal appointment is completed in the University Human Resources system, People @ Columbia (PAC). Note that you will receive a UNI assignment from your departmental administrator or HR manager, but this is typically around a week before the formal appointment is completed.

After logging into the email alias service, you will see a set of available choices. The choices are based upon your name as it appears in PAC (for faculty and staff), or the Student Information System (SIS), for example, "[email protected]". Depending on which aliases are available and/or potentially common names, you may be presented with some choices that contain a number, such as "[email protected]." 

You may not select more than one email alias. If you previously received an alias, you have the option of keeping that alias or selecting a new one from the options presented.  

Only those whose surname is longer than 12 characters may request an alternative to the provided options.

Note: The sources of the name data used to generate alias options are the Student Information System (SIS) and the People@Columbia HR system (PAC). Your alias options will change if your name is modified in either of these systems.

Yes, but you will need to wait 180 days before selecting a new one.

No, email aliases are not reassigned.

Messages are delivered to your UNI mailbox, the same as mail sent to your [UNI] address.

Yes, you can still send and receive emails using your existing UNI email address. Your new email alias is just another way to do this.

No, you may only use your UNI to log into LionMail, as well as other password-protected University websites.

No, you should never forward your UNI email address to your email alias. Your email alias is already set up to deliver to the same location(s) as your UNI email address does.  

If you change or cancel an email alias, email sent to the old alias address will be forwarded for 30 days to your UNI mailbox. After 30 days, mail sent to that alias will be returned to senders as undeliverable.

If your surname is greater than 12 characters you may request an email alias that uses a sub-section of your surname.

Graduates and retirees may keep their email aliases for life. Aliases for all others will be terminated upon departure from the University.

No, periods must be used to divide the name parts in an alias.

You can change how your sender name is displayed in LionMail:

  • In Lionmail, select Settings, then Accounts.
  • Under Send Mail As, select Edit info next to the relevant email address.
  • Modify the name text to whatever you want and click the Save Changes button.

However, in order to change your name in the CU online directory, you will need to submit an official name change request. 

  • If you are a student and wish to change your name, follow the change process outlined by the Office of the University Registrar, and submit the change request to the Office of the Registrar. 
  • If you are faculty or staff and wish to change your name, ask your departmental administrator or HR manager to submit either a legal name change or a “preferred name” request to central Human Resources. Legal name changes are effective globally; on the other hand, preferred names are used only in the online directory.

Teachers College, Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary affiliates and Contractors are not eligible for these services.