Goodbye, Colonials: George Washington University announces new nickname following student pressure


The George Washington Colonials mascot, George, is seen during a game against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the 2014 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

(The Hill) – George Washington University has selected “Revolutionaries” as its new moniker, after the school decided to scrap its former team nickname — Colonials — under growing student pressure.

The new nickname, announced Wednesday, will take effect starting in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Since making the decision to replace the school’s Colonials nickname last year, University officials said they received 47,000 points of feedback and 8,000 moniker suggestions, according to a press release. The school’s trustees ultimately approved the new moniker among four finalists proposed by a committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni.

NBC’s Chuck Todd, an alumnus of the school, announced that “Revolutionaries” would be replacing the “Colonials” in a video posted by the university.  

“This is an exciting day for the George Washington University Revolutionaries,” University President Mark Wrighton said in a statement, adding that the moniker “broadly reflects our community — and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.” 

The press release noted that revolutionaries “are not afraid to break boundaries and change the game.” 

Calls to change the school’s moniker ramped up in 2018, when a group of students led a petition demanding a less “offensive” moniker, saying that the centuries-old moniker of “Colonials” evoked tropes of international colonialism, slavery and racial discrimination.

The petition included recommendations for new monikers, including the “Revolutionaries,” or the “Hippos,” the GW Hatchet noted.  

The student sports section changed its name from “Colonial Army” to “George’s Army” in 2019, the student newspaper reported. Since then, school officials had also walked back some of the university’s Colonials branding, and officially retired it last year.  

Officials formed a task force to put forward new suggestions for the moniker last year, with the list of finalists including “Revolutionaries,” “Blue Fog,” “Ambassadors” and “Sentinels.”

Despite the new name, “George,” the school mascot, will remain unchanged.

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