Colonials No More: George Washington University to Stop Using Nickname by 2023-24

After a multi-year process, George Washington University will no longer be nicknamed the “Colonials” starting in the 2023-2024 school year. 

Since 1926, the Colonials nickname has been used to describe George Washington’s sports teams, but the “Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker” was created in July 2020 to determine the future of the nickname after the name was “identified as a matter of concern.”

The decision to change the moniker was announced on Wednesday on the school’s official online news source, GW Today. 

George Washington Colonials will stop using nickname
The George Washington Colonials mascot performs in the second half against the Massachusetts Minutemen during the Second Round of the 2022 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 10, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

“The board recognizes the significance of changing the university’s moniker, and we made this decision only after a thoughtful and deliberate process that followed the renaming framework and special committee recommendation that considered the varying perspectives of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and athletics community,” said Board Chair Grace Speights. “A moniker must unify our community, draw people together and serve as a source of pride. We look forward to the next steps in an inclusive process to identify a moniker that fulfills this aspiration.”

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The Colonials nickname will continue to be used until a new name is selected. 

According to GW Today, the decision to change the name was done in order to “unite” the community, and the Colonials’ nickname came about “casually and haphazardly.”

The Special Committee recognized that there will be those who support the decision as well as those who will be against the committee’s decision to change the nickname. 

“For supporters, the term refers to those who lived in the American colonies, especially those who fought for independence and democracy,” the special committee found. “For opponents, Colonials means colonizers who stole land and resources from indigenous groups, killed or exiled Native peoples and introduced slavery into the colonies. These are perspectives that cannot be easily harmonized, the committee concluded. Use and popularity of the moniker also has declined in recent years.” 

The search for a new nickname will include partnering with a firm and establishing a special advisory committee. 

“The moniker is one way in which our student-athletes, athletic staff and fans build community,” Director of Athletics Tanya Vogel said. “I know some people will be disappointed today, but we see this as a tremendous opportunity to come together, share our experiences and consider what is important to our GW community as we launch the new moniker development process.”

Written by Joe Morgan

3 Comments

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  1. I went to Long Beach State. We changed from the 49ers, to the Sharks. They specified it is a “non binary Shark” whatever that means. Needless to say I will not be donating to my alma mater

  2. I played basketball for the Colonials while at GWU from 1986 to 1991. I think the schools decision to ditch the Colonials mascot asinine. While I find this embarrassing, I’m not that surprised. The liberal/woke mentality is a cancer on our society. I think Clay is right, they will eventually go after the George Washington name. Washington and the rest of the brave colonists decision to embrace and defend a Constitutional Republic is the reason why we live such privileged lives. We owe them our thanks and admiration, not our scorn. I am shocked at how blind present day academia is to these truths. Couple years ago I published a novel very loosely based on playing days at GW called The Blue Team. Wonder what affect, if any, the new name will have my book.

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