George Washington University Unveils New Nickname After Complaints Of ‘Extremely Offensive’ Moniker

George Washington University is getting a new nickname after students complained that the “Colonials” mascot was offensive.

The university, located in Washington, D.C., announced that its new moniker will be the “Revolutionaries” after months of debate and complaints that the term “Colonials” was “extremely offensive” to the “ nation and world at large.”

“This is an exciting day for the George Washington University Revolutionaries,” said Mark Wrighton, the president of the school. “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.”

The term “Colonials” was chosen in 1926 and referenced many of those in the original 13 colonies who fought for independence from the British from 1775-1783. Other names floated as replacements included Ambassadors, Blue Fog, and Sentinels. 

An announcement video featuring school alumnus and NBC host Chuck Todd focused on the school’s commitment to making change around the world. 

“We are a truly global community, shaping the future of the world every day. We are always pushing, always learning. We are excited by new people, new experiences, new ideas, and new ways of thinking. We are in the center of power where our energy and drive fuels Washington, D.C., and beyond. We are dedicated to changing the world for the better,” a narrator said in the video, which featured footage of Vice President Kamala Harris at the university. 


The push to change the name began in 2018 when more than 500 students submitted a petition linking the school’s mascot to “systemic oppression.”

“The use of ‘Colonials,’ no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only students of the University, but the nation and world at large. The historically, negatively-charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression,” the students said

The school said it received more than 47,000 responses during its search for a new name. “To have 47,000 points of feedback from the GW community is a testament to the pride people have in this institution, and we are proud to offer them a new moniker that will propel us as we move ahead in our third century,” said Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ellen Moran.

George Washington University was chartered in 1821 by Congress.

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