The Revolutionaries have arrived at Foggy Bottom.
Revolutionaries will replace GW’s outgoing Colonials moniker, officials announced in a Wednesday afternoon release.
Officials said the Revolutionaries will become the University moniker beginning in the 2023-24 academic year and represent all of GW’s athletics teams and branding. The announcement follows a year-long assessment of feedback from students, faculty, staff and alumni through online engagement forms, private focus groups and ranking activities for community members to weigh in on various moniker options.
The release states that “George,” who currently represents the University at athletic and community events by sporting a George Washington head and a colonial suit, will remain GW’s mascot.
“This is an exciting day for the George Washington University Revolutionaries,” interim University President Mark Wrighton said in the release. “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.”
GW alumnus and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd introduced the moniker in a post published to Facebook and Instagram. The release states community members ranked Revolutionaries as the top-ranked option during every round of moniker selection feedback.
The Board of Trustees voted to retire the Colonials moniker in June following years of pressure from student activists who said the moniker glorified the legacy of colonialism, slavery and racial discrimination. The Board formed a task force to evaluate the naming of GW’s moniker and buildings in fall 2019, which approved a set of guidelines that required officials to consider students, employees or alumni opinions for name changes across campus in June 2020.
Officials selected the Revolutionaries from a list of four finalists released in March that also included Ambassadors, Sentinels and Blue Fog. Community members rated the four options from March to April based on “hype videos” that display each potential moniker on-campus branding and athletic uniforms in the second phase of “Moniker Madness.”
Officials said the Revolutionaries moniker represents the GW community because they are unafraid to “break boundaries” and “change the game.” The release states the GW Revolutionaries go beyond what’s “conventional” to focus on shifting mindsets and creating a new future for the community and the world.
“Over the coming weeks and months, GW will develop the visual identity for the Revolutionaries moniker and begin the process of bringing it to life on athletic uniforms, campus signage and merchandise,” the release states.
David Silverman, a professor of history, said in April that Revolutionaries is the most appropriate moniker finalist because of George Washington’s leadership of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
“Revolutionaries both speaks to George Washington’s legacy and is something that the University can slogan the hell out of,” Silverman said. “They’ll say, ‘Have a revolutionary experience at George Washington University, revolutionize your career, revolutionize your lives.’”
Officials launched an online engagement form in August in partnership with Sullivan, a New York-based branding firm, to collect community members’ thoughts on the next University moniker.
The first phase of “Moniker Madness,” a two-phase community engagement initiative for moniker feedback, allowed community members to rank 10 moniker options in an online survey between February and March and during an activity during a men’s basketball game where attendees could choose to wave a pennant with their favorite moniker option on it.
Officials curated the list of 10 moniker options after select students participated in six private focus groups in February where they delivered feedback on 15 moniker options in partnership with Chicago-based marketing firm Yes& Lipman Hearne.
In November, officials declined to comment on the cost of changing the moniker. Experts in higher education marketing and branding said officials will need to update new merchandise and campus facilities renovations to transition to the new moniker.
The Colonials moniker had lost visibility on campus about three years prior to its official retirement, including renaming freshmen orientation from Colonial Inauguration to New Student Orientation in 2019.
This article appeared in the May 25, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.