Image of the Tempietto in Kogan Plaza during cherry blossom season

Colors & Mascots

In 1904, the Columbian University became the George Washington University. As an institution, we embraced symbols and imagery associated with our new namesake. While Columbian’s school colors had been orange and blue, GW adopted blue and buff, the colors of the military uniform worn by George Washington both throughout the War of Independence and when he resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on Dec. 23, 1783. In the 1930s, the official blue and buff colors were matched to the original uniform, now found in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Blue and buff have been incorporated into GW’s visual identity and are found throughout the university.



George (formerly known as George 1) is the namesake mascot of the George Washington University. This mascot wears a buff and blue military uniform with “George Washington” across his back. A powdered wig sits beneath George’s large tri-cornered hat, and a pale blue sash drapes across his chest. George turns up at athletic events, waving his powerful golden hatchet. He also makes appearances at other events, both on campus and off, to rally the school spirit, unity and pride that mark life at GW.

Big George

This 10-foot inflatable mascot is George’s favorite sidekick and GW’s biggest sports fan. Big George can be found at all the men’s and women’s home basketball games, as well as university events held in venues with ceilings that are at least 12 feet high. Big George’s job is to cheer the Colonials to victory!

The Hippo

The Hippo is GW’s widely loved – though unofficial – mascot. In 1996, a bronze statue of a hippopotamus was presented by then-President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg to GW’s Class of 2000 and installed at the center of campus. Since taking up residence, the Hippo has become a real presence as the university’s student-life mascot. Inspired by the statue, the version spotted at campus events wiggles his ears, shakes his tail and, most impressively, stands on his head. That 9-foot-tall inflatable Hippo mascot makes appearances all around campus and at many university events. According to legend, if you rub the Hippo sculpture’s nose, you’ll have good luck. As for the inflatable Hippo, you’ll have to settle for rubbing its belly. The Hippo’s likeness is found on posters promoting student events. Hippo merchandise is available at the bookstore.

The Unofficial Mascot

In 1996, GW’s then-President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg gave a gift to the Class of 2000--a bronze hippopotamus. Since it was installed at the corner of 21st and H streets, NW, the hippo has become an unofficial GW mascot.