George Washington University Discontinues ‘Colonials’ Moniker

The George Washington University Board of Trustees has decided to discontinue the use of the Colonials moniker based on the recommendation of the Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker. Both the board and special committee ultimately determined that given the division among the community about the moniker, it can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies.

“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, J.D. ’82. “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.”

georgePresident Mark S. Wrighton agreed and noted the “principled” approach the university took to come to this decision.

“As we embark on our third century, we must continue to lead with our values, strengths and the diversity of the George Washington University community,” Wrighton said. “I was impressed by the principled and collaborative approach of the special committee, and it was clear this process was driven by research and robust engagement with the community. While some may disagree with the outcome, this process has determined that changing the moniker is the right decision for our university.”

Christopher Alan Bracey, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, also noted the importance of the university’s values and changed demographics of its community in assessing whether the current moniker serves its purpose.

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“We have evolved over our 200 years as an institution and a community,” Bracey said. “Today, the moniker no longer does the work that a moniker should—namely, unifying the campus behind our academic and athletic institutional aspirations.”

Colonials will continue to be used until a new moniker is introduced, which is expected by the 2023-24 academic year after a broad university community engagement process.