In a move driven by student concerns, George Washington University has decided to change its nickname from the “Colonials” to the more empowering and inclusive title of “Revolutionaries.” The decision comes after intense scrutiny from students who found the previous mascot name offensive.
The university, located in Washington, D.C., made the announcement with the help of NBC anchor and alumnus Chuck Todd, who unveiled the new name. This change marks a significant departure from the school’s centuries-old tradition of being known as the Colonials, a name it has held since 1926.
To ensure an inclusive and community-driven process, the school committee received an overwhelming 8,000 suggestions and collected 47,000 points of feedback. Through this extensive collaboration, they narrowed down the options to the top 10 names that best align with the university’s values and aspirations.
The decision to transition from the Colonials to the Revolutionaries emerged in 2018 when more than 530 students voiced their objection to the former nickname. They argued that the term “Colonials” carried deep connections to colonization and glorified the acts of systemic oppression. In response to these concerns, the university took proactive steps to address the issue and create a more inclusive environment.
The implementation of the new moniker is set for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year. President Mark S. Wrighton expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This is an exciting day for the George Washington University Revolutionaries.” Board Chair Grace Speights emphasized the importance of a unifying and prideful moniker and highlighted the ongoing inclusive process to identify a name that embodies these values.
In a video showcasing the name reveal, students, alumni, and professors shared their perspectives on the new mascot name, proudly expressing their support for the Revolutionaries. Alumni Jake Sherman praised the choice, stating, “I like Revolutionaries because it references George Washington in a positive way, alluding to the original foundation of our country while also carrying a modern application.”
Professor Monica Ruiz enthusiastically added, “Revolutionaries are bold; they embody creativity and passion. They’re change-makers who refuse to accept the status quo.” This sentiment reflects the university’s commitment to nurturing a spirit of progress and transformation.
It’s important to note that while the moniker is changing, George Washington University’s beloved mascot, “George,” will continue to represent the school’s spirit and values. The university remains dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment that celebrates the revolutionary ideals of its namesake.
In embracing the new moniker, George Washington University aims to redefine its identity and inspire its community with a name that resonates deeply with their shared values. The transition to Revolutionaries is a bold step toward a more inclusive future, where the university’s name represents unity, progress, and the relentless pursuit of positive change.