GW Seeks Community Input for Moniker Change

In partnership with the branding firm Sullivan, outreach and engagement will play crucial roles in the development of a new moniker.

September 28, 2022

Professor's Gate

George Washington University students, faculty and staff as well as attendees of this week’s Alumni & Families Weekend will have one of the first opportunities to offer input and ask questions about the development of a new moniker.

In June, GW’s Board of Trustees announced the discontinuation of the Colonials moniker, stating the name no longer serves its purpose as a unifier of the university community.

In an effort to gather feedback on the direction of the new moniker as part of the project’s discovery process, a booth will be set up in the University Student Center starting on the afternoons of Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 as well as on the morning of Oct. 1. The project team will also be present at the GW Athletics Hoops Fest to engage with sports fans through informal conversations.  

Additionally, an online engagement form open to the GW community is available, and the project team plans to hold detailed discussions with many university stakeholders, including the GW archivist and historians, to learn about GW in a deep, meaningful way.

During the long-term engagement process, the university and its partner in the project, the New York-based branding firm Sullivan, will listen to ideas from the entire GW community to ensure the university’s values, strengths and diversity are reflected in the new moniker.

“Community engagement is truly at the heart of this whole process for developing the new moniker,” said GW Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ellen Moran. “From the very beginning, we are striving to ensure that the GW community is the key to creating a moniker that we can all rally around for generations to come.”  

After a competitive bidding process, university officials selected Sullivan, a woman-owned firm with about 60 employees—including several GW alumni—to assist GW on the project. The firm specializes in helping to solve complex, high-stakes branding and marketing challenges for organizations in higher education, finance and other businesses.

“GW was an incredibly formative place for me, and this project is personal–we want to make our school proud,” said Rachel Quintner, B.A. ’05, who is a principal at Sullivan. “I know what it means to be part of the GW community and want to ensure our team gets it right by doing deep research, doing a lot of listening and engaging with all the various constituents. We feel how important it is to find the right moniker that honors our past but also telegraphs something about our future as an institution.”

The process to determine a new moniker is scheduled to be concluded by the 2023-2024 academic year following a robust community engagement effort for stakeholders