George Washington University is officially retiring its “Colonials” moniker, a nickname it’s used since 1926. The university announced the move Wednesday, adding the moniker “can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies.”
GW’s renaming process began in November 2019, when the Board of Trustees appointed the Task Force on Naming. The task force was designed as a special committee with objectives such as determining the circumstances of the name change request and creating principles to help make the decision.
“As institutions across the nation grapple with how best to confront difficult legacies of racial injustice, our hope is that we have given the university a guidepost in the form of a useful set of questions to ask in the extraordinary circumstance of reconsidering the name of a building or memorial,” Trustee and Naming Task Force Chair Mark Chichester said in a statement.
In a statement, GW president Mark S. Wrighton acknowledged that some people might disagree with the change, but also said he believes that this is the right decision for the university.
“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,” he said.
A new name has yet to be introduced, so GW’s use of “Colonials” is expected to continue until the 2023-24 academic year at the latest.