George Washington University picks new nickname: Revolutionaries

George Washington University has adopted a new nickname: The Revolutionaries.

The school announced the new moniker Wednesday in a video on Instagram featuring “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, who is a GW alumnus.

School officials announced last summer they were retiring the old nickname — the Colonials — because it was felt to be too divisive and did not unify the campus.

School officials said they received 47,000 “points of feedback” and 8,000 suggestions on a new nickname before settling on Revolutionaries. The school’s mascot “George” — a bewigged George Washington in a tricorner hat — will not change, the school said.

“This is an exciting day for the George Washington University Revolutionaries,” said GW President Mark S. Wrighton in a statement.

“I am very grateful for the active engagement of our community throughout the development of the new moniker. This process was truly driven by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the result is a moniker that broadly reflects our community—and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.”

Earlier this year, GW fans and students were asked to weigh in on four possible names. In addition to the Revolutionaries, the other potential options were: The Blue Fog, The Ambassadors and The Sentinels.

The school’s Board of Trustees formally adopted the new name, but it will be fully rolled out starting next school year. The school said it will work over the next months to develop a “visual identity” for the nickname and “begin the process of bringing it to life on athletic uniforms, campus signage and merchandise.”

The school had used the Colonials moniker since 1926.

The effort to change the school’s nickname began several years ago. In April 2019, students approved a referendum to change the name. In October of that year, the school launched a task force to study the issue.

When it decided last summer to drop the Colonials nickname, the school pointed to a report put together by a special committee that examined the issue that found a wide divergence in views about the name.

“For supporters, the term refers to those who lived in the American colonies, especially those who fought for independence and democracy,” the report stated. “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.”

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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