|The Mission-- er, Blues men's basketball team huddles during a game at Whitworth.|
Whitman College announced that its athletic teams will be known as the Blues effective this fall. The school's teams were previously known as the Missionaries in reference to Marcus and Narcissa Whitman who came to the Walla Walla Valley as Protestant missionaries in the 1830s.
According to The Seattle Times, the College decided in April 2016 to drop the Missionaries because it was "noninclusive, imperialistic and incorrectly implied that Whitman was a religious school." It was also considered insufficiently intimidating and prone to mockery.
In early November President Kathy Murray announced that the College would use the Blues as a mascot in reference to the local mountain range. Other mascots considered were the Appaloosas, the Sockeyes, the Blue Ravens.
Whitman is the first Division III school to use the Blues as its mascot, though Wellesley is known as the Blue and Millikin as the Big Blue.