School Colors

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The school colors of the College of William and Mary were first orange and white and are currently green, gold, and silver. The university has had several nicknames for its athletic teams and found a new mascot in 2010.

Orange and White, Orange and Black

The earliest known school colors of the College of William and Mary were orange and white as early as 1894 through 1923 (see the Colonial Echo, p. 1; University Archives Subject File Collection, "Colors of William and Mary"). The university's sports teams were commonly referred to as the orange and black or orange and white before other nicknames were adopted beginning with the Indians in 1916.

Football jerseys were white shirts with orange numbers. In the 1910 Colonial Echo (p. 177) a color drawing shows a white shirt with 'WM' in orange on the chest. The orange color ran on the white shirts in the rain so they switched to Orange and Black colors.

From 1911 through the beginning of the 1923 football season, the school colors were orange and black. Originally, the colors orange and white were derived from William III (orange) and the white rose of York associated with Queen Mary II. In 1908, the colors of the athletic uniforms were changed to orange and black because the orange and white uniforms dirtied easily. However, the official school colors remained orange and white. Orange and black could still be linked to the royal family since King William was not only the Prince of Orange, but also the head of the House of Nassau whose colors were orange and black.

The 1910 and 1911 Colonial Echo’s football team photo shows a dark jersey and dark 'WM' on the chest. Can’t determine which color was used for the shirts or letters. The 1924 Colonial Echo, describing the football team for the 1923 fall season, refers to the team donning the orange and black jerseys. B&W photos show a dark arm and shoulder and a lighter toned chest

Examples:

Green, Gold, and Silver

The colors green, gold, and silver have been used by the College from 1923 to the present. These colors came from the College's coat-of-arms, which features a golden sun rising over a silver-gray building sitting on a patch of green grass. According to the November 27, 1923, issue of The Flat Hat, the "change occurred at a meeting of the academic and athletic authorities for the purpose of restoring the original colors, and of making the College and the athletic colors identical." The article noted that duc caps would remain "as they are" (presumably orange, white, and black) for the 1923 session. This change in the school colors to those of the coat of arms came just after the rediscovery of the College's original coat of arms.

In the 1925 Colonial Echo, referring to the 1924 football season, the team was the green, gold and silver. It can't be determined from the photos which color was used for the shirts or numbers. And the Flat Hat doesn't refer to the jersey colors either.

Examples:

  • Many. See the SCRC's Flickr account for a variety of representations of the College of William and Mary's current school colors.

References

Need help?

To search for further material, see Finding Materials in the SCRC for an introduction to the SCRC Collections Database, card catalogs, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, etc.

Questions? Contact the SCRC at spcoll@wm.edu or 221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary (hours).


A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fire, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the SCRC's collections and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the SCRC's access tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.