Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Why did the Board of Trustees decide to discontinue the Colonials moniker?

The decision to change the Colonials moniker was the result of a thoughtful, deliberate process that spanned many years. This decision was not taken lightly. Ultimately, both the Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker and the Board of Trustees determined that the university would be better served by a new moniker that will help unify the GW community and increase pride in the institution. In the end, we all want to ensure that the university’s moniker accurately reflects the values, strengths and diversity of the George Washington University.  

In 2019, the Board of Trustees began to address naming concerns on campus by forming a Task Force on Naming. At this time, Colonials had already been identified as a name of concern after years of discussion among the community.  Based on the work of the Task Force, in July 2020, President Emeritus Thomas LeBlanc convened a Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees on whether Colonials should be changed.

The Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker, which understood the sensitivity and importance of its work, took its role seriously and followed the process and considerations established by the Board’s renaming framework. The Special Committee did extensive research and engaged the GW community for crucial feedback before making a recommendation to discontinue the moniker in a report to the Board.


Q: Where can I learn more about the Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker’s work and how they came to their recommendation to discontinue the Colonials moniker?

The Special Committee’s report is public and available here.


Q: How can you ensure that a new moniker will unite the community?

We will work with our community to develop a new moniker through a transparent and inclusive process. As members of this institution, we have an opportunity to choose a new moniker together. More information on engaging in this process is forthcoming. 


Q: Why are you doing this now?

At various times over the past several years, members of the university community have requested that the university consider changing the moniker. After this deliberate, inclusive and collaborative process and with a final decision, it is important to move forward with plans to engage with the university community on a new moniker.


Q: Will the university continue to use Colonials until there is a new moniker?

Yes, Colonials will continue to be used until a new moniker is introduced.


Q: How do I share my thoughts on a new moniker?

More information on engaging in the process for determining a new moniker is forthcoming. In the meantime, if you would like to share your thoughts, please do so here.


Q: What details do you have about the process for selecting the new moniker? 

The university has already determined some of the next steps in choosing a new moniker, including:

  • Consideration of a firm that will partner with GW and its diverse stakeholders in the development of strategies, processes and creative recommendations.
  • Selection of a special advisory committee that includes GW leaders, alumni, faculty and students to monitor progress of work and make recommendations.
  • Commitment to a broad engagement effort for stakeholders throughout the entire GW community to participate in the creation, evaluation and ultimate selection of the new moniker.

We will share more updates with the community soon.