Today is National College Colors Day

by | Sep 6, 2022 | Our Blog | 0 comments

Today is National College Colors Day!

What does that mean? It’s the day when you, your teens, family and friends can show their team spirit by wearing the colors of your favorite college team(s).

You might want to take some time to reminisce or tell some stories from past games you played in or attended; if your teen is just starting college this year, it’s a great way to encourage and support team/school spirit. If you’re nearby your alma mater, maybe take a walk through campus. Or perhaps College Colors Day is just a reason to share some time with friends or loved ones watching your team play a game on tv—and to cheer them on together.

With this day in mind, we thought it might also be fun to explore and share the history behind the colors at a few of the colleges and universities throughout the United States.

For instance, at Smith College, my alma mater, the official college color is white—traditionally trimmed with gold. Until I did the research for this article, I didn’t know this! According to the website, “in the 1970s, the athletic teams, who needed a dark color for their away uniforms, chose to compete in blue and white; and the college’s official stationery carries the college logo in blue and yellow. All this time, I thought the college colors were blue and yellow!

Do you know why The Ohio State University’s colors are scarlet and gray? According to their University Archives, “A committee of three students decided on the colors for the university during the 1878 Spring Term. The original colors selected for OSU were orange and black. However, because Princeton had already chosen those colors, the committee decided to change their decision to scarlet and gray. Alice Townshend, one of the members on the committee, reported that the colors did not signify anything. Instead, the committee wanted to choose something that was a nice combination and had not been used by any other college.”

The University of Miami chose the colors of the orange tree to represent the school. “Orange symbolizes the fruit of the tree, green represents the leaves and white, the blossoms.”

Here’s a unique story from the University of Washington’s website about how the school colors of purple and gold were selected: they were adopted in 1892 “by a vote of a student assembly on the original downtown Seattle campus. One patriotic group favored Red, White and Blue as the University’s colors, reasoning that since the school was named after the father of our country, our national colors should be the school’s colors. The opposing faction argued that national colors should not be degraded for such everyday use. The debate was ended when a young English instructor, Miss Frazier, stood and read the following excerpt from Lord Byron’s “Destruction of Sennacherib”

“The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,

And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;

And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,

And the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee”

“Orange and white were first used as UT Austin colors in 1885, when two students on their way to a baseball game stopped at a general store to get ribbons for the crowd. The most plentiful colors in stock were orange and white. After experimenting with gold and white and even orange and maroon, UT officially adopted orange and white as its colors in 1900. Over the years, the shade vacillated between bright orange and burnt orange. Coach Darrell Royal revived burnt orange as the preferred shade for good in the early 1960s, abandoning bright orange for a hue that more closely matched that of a football.” And so burnt orange and white it is for the Texas Longhorns!

According to nationalcalendarday.com, the holiday was started in 2004 by the National College Licensing Company, and while it’s a relatively new holiday, it’s certainly a fun one. So don your college colors, swap stories, celebrate, watch a game and share your vibrant photos on social media with #CollegeColorDays. Oh – and if you don’t know the history of your favorite college, do a bit of research and you may learn a new fun fact or two.

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