GW Releases Guiding Principles for the Selection of the New Moniker

GW community members can submit their suggestions until Jan. 31.

January 18, 2023

Men's basketball game

The new moniker will reflect the GW community's shared experiences, connect its history to its future and serve as an identifier for GW athletics spirit.

Based on input from nearly 4,000 GW community members throughout the first phase of the moniker development process, the George Washington University Moniker Project has released a set of guiding principles for the selection of the new moniker. While the university has already received hundreds of new moniker name suggestions, GW community members are encouraged to submit moniker suggestions that align with the themes and personality traits outlined in these newly released guidelines.

Members of the GW community can review the guiding principles and submit their own suggestions at Suggestions will be considered through Jan. 31.    

The guiding principles provide a framework to help identify moniker options that reflect the GW community’s shared experiences, serve as an identifier for GW athletics spirit, connect GW’s history to its future and are as inclusive and diverse as the global GW community.

“We’re pleased to have had such robust participation from the very beginning of this process, with thousands of members of the GW community already providing feedback on the direction of the new moniker,” said Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ellen Moran. “As we begin to explore options for the new moniker, we will continue to engage our community each and every step of the way.”   

The new moniker must be related to at least one of the themes outlined in the guiding principles as noted below:

  • Shaping the Future: This will honor GW’s long history developing students into leaders, doers and thinkers.
  • Free to Be Bold: This will symbolize the university’s trailblazing spirit.
  • At the Center of Power: This will reflect the energy and drive that brings the GW community to Washington, D.C., to be changemakers on the world stage.

The guiding principles also outline personality traits that should be represented in the new moniker, including tenacious, electric and open.

In releasing the guiding principles, the university also shared that “Hippos,” or variations of it, will not be considered in the moniker selection process. As a moniker, it would not align with the guiding principles and received negative feedback during engagement events from various members of the community, including student-athletes who are closely identified with the moniker in competition. The hippo and statue on campus will remain an important part of the university’s traditions.

The GW Moniker Project partnered with the marketing agency Sullivan to craft its guiding principles based on research and several community engagement activities during the fall semester, including the GW Moniker Feedback Form, an engagement booth during Alumni and Families Weekend, focus groups with students and alumni and multiple student-athlete town halls. In total, the process has included more than 20 hours of direct stakeholder input, 55 individual interviews, 237 engagement booth participants and 3,000 feedback form responses.