The George Washington University has reached its final four.

No, it has nothing to do with the men’s or women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments, but rather the school’s new nickname as it moves further and further away from the Colonials. The school announced last week that they had narrowed it down to four possibilities.

Ambassadors, Blue Flog, Revolutionaries, and Sentinels were all named as possible replacements for Colonials. The school will hear feedback from students, faculty, staff, and alumni on the last four nickname options.

«It has been exciting to see so many members of the GW community participate in the development of our new moniker,» Ellen Moran, the school’s vice president of communications and marketing, said in a press release. «As we begin this next phase of feedback, I hope all members of the GW community will continue to join us in this deliberate and thoughtful process to develop the new moniker.»


The George Washington Colonials logo on the floor before an Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Tournament – First Round college basketball game against the Richmond Spiders at the Smith Center on March 3, 2020 in Washington, DC (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Last June, the school’s board of trustees and a special committee determined that the name Colonials «can no longer serve its purpose as a unifying name.»

The school said the process to change the name began in 2019, adding that the special committee «found that the Colonials moniker does not adequately align with GW’s values ​​and can no longer serve its purpose as a name that unifies the community.» .

Furthermore, the committee said that when the nickname was adopted in 1926, those who chose it lacked «thoughtful consideration throughout the university.»

The committee outlined why those who favored the nickname supported it, saying it was a term for those who lived in the American colonies before the United States became independent and for those who fought for independence. The committee said that for those opposed, «colonial means colonizers who stole land and resources from indigenous groups, killed or exiled native peoples, and introduced slavery into the colonies.»


The committee said that George Washington «firmly rejected» the term colonial, and the term itself «was not used during the colonial era of 1607-1776, and did not become popular until the colonial revival period of the late 19th and 20th centuries.» «.

«The board recognizes the importance of changing the university’s nickname, and we made this decision only after a thoughtful and deliberate process that followed the name change framework and the recommendation of the special committee that considered the different perspectives of our students, faculty , staff, alumni and athletic community,” board president Grace Speights said in a statement.

«A nickname should unify our community, unite people, and serve as a source of pride. We look forward to the next steps in an inclusive process to identify a nickname that meets this aspiration.»

The nickname came under fire in 2019 after a student-led petition appeared calling for the nickname to be changed. The Colonials nickname is «extremely offensive not only to students at the university, but also to the nation and the world at large,» the petition says.

A new nickname will be released before the start of the 2023-24 academic school year.

In recent years, professional sports teams and universities have come under pressure to change their nicknames despite objections.

Proponents of the nickname Colonials have argued it as a defining word for Americans during the British colonial era, according to The New York Times. Opponents see it as a name associated with violent settlers.

The George Washington Colonials logo on their uniform against the Massachusetts Minutemen during the second round of the 2022 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 10, 2022 in Washington, DC

The George Washington Colonials logo on their uniform against the Massachusetts Minutemen during the second round of the 2022 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Capital One Arena on March 10, 2022 in Washington, DC (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Multiple sports teams have changed their names in recent years. The Washington Redskins switched to the Washington Football Team and then the Washington Commanders. The Cleveland Indians traded to the Cleveland Rangers.


The Nebraska Cornhuskers altered Herbie Husker to separate themselves from an alleged link to white supremacy. PETA called on baseball to change the name of the bullpen to the «arm barn.» Quidditch leagues sought to change the name of their sport to break away from «Harry Potter» author JK Rowling. Even the Texas Rangers were called upon to change their name.