History of the Colonials
The George Washington Colonials are the athletic teams of George Washington University of Washington, D.C. The Colonials compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference for most sports.
On June 15, 2022, the board of trustees announced that George Washington University would drop the "Colonials" nickname because it "no longer does the work that a moniker should—namely, unifying the campus behind our academic and athletic institutional aspirations." A new name is expected by the 2023–24 academic year.
College Sports Established
Washington, District of Columbia
George Washington University
1976 - Present / NCAA Division I
1976 - Present / Atlantic 10 Conference
Colonials - Along with the name change from Columbian University to The George Washington University in 1904, the mascot and colors were altered to commemorate George Washington. The colors – buff and blue - were chosen to match the uniform George Washington wore as he resigned his position as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783. The original colors of the Columbian University were blue and orange.
GW teams were referred to as the "Buff and Blue" for many years, and in the 1920's the football team was known as the "Crummen" (after coach Henry Watson Crum) and the "Hatchetites" (after the student newspaper called the Hatchet). The name "Colonials" came into use in the fall of 1926. An editorial in the Hatchet from October 27, 1926, explained the new nickname:
Dissatisfaction has been expressed for the past several years with the nicknames usually associated with the George Washington University’s athletic teams. Some years ago the name “Hatchetites” was invented for the team and it, or some corruption of it has been used ever since. Now the terms “Hatchetites,” “Hatchetmen,” “Hatchets,” Crummen,” “Axemen,” “Tongmen,” and so forth, are all very well, if not entirely euphonious, but they hardly carry the dignity that our team should bear. In the place of the names the University Hatchet suggests the use of the connotation “Colonials” for the teams of the Buff and Blue. What name could be more fitting? This, the school named after George Washington, and having as its colors the Continental Army buff and blue, the colors of Colonial America, should be entitled to bear the name of “Colonials” if any school is so entitled. George Washington University, in its antecedents, is a colonial school. Dating back to very early post-Revolutionary days, it was founded when the term “colonial” still applied to an era which was then passing. Let us then, in just regard for our precious heritage, adopt as the name for the warriors wearing the Buff and Blue the term “Colonials.”
The “Colonials” nickname has also been attributed to a faculty member and former student at GW, Elmer Louis Kayser (who held a number of positions at GW from 1914-1985 [this is not a typo, he was affiliated with GW for 70 years!]), the last being University Historian. Perhaps he suggested it to some students who took it to the editorial board of the Hatchet. At any rate, GW teams have been known as the “Colonials” ever since.
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
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