Whitman College announces new mascot: the Blues

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College has chosen a new nickname to replace the old Missionaries. The college's sports teams will now be known as the Blues.

The decision announced Thursday came after a survey to alumni, students, faculty and staff. That survey found 35 percent of respondents chose the Blues as their first choice, while 58 percent voted it their first or second choice.

The Blues are a mountain range near Walla Walla and have long been an important symbol for Whitman and the surrounding community.

Concerns had been raised over the years about the old Missionaries nickname, which was a reference to Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

School officials said the Missionaries' mascot was considered non-inclusive, imperialistic and incorrectly implied that Whitman was a religious school.