Syracuse University

Why Orange?

SU SealHow Orange was adopted as the color of Syracuse University was described in June 1940 at the fiftieth reunion of the class of 1890. The chronicler was Frank J. Marion, the motion picture pioneer. Marion, a member of the class he said was responsible for the change from the colors pink and blue, recalled:

"At the end of our senior year Syracuse accepted the challenge of Hamilton College to a track meet and...a number of us went along to cheer our team. We wore high collars, right up to our chins-cutaway coats, baggy trousers, and rolled-brim derby hats. On our canes we had ribbons of the college colors, pink and blue.

Much to our surprise, we won the meet, and on the train coming home from Utica we tried to "whoop it up." What kind of "whoopee" can be made with pink and blue, the pale kind you use on babies' what-do-you-call-thems? It just couldn't be done!

So on Monday morning a lot of us went to see the chancellor in his office and told him our tale of woe. Chancellor Sims was a kindly old gentleman, a real father to us all, and he was very sympathetic. He agreed that pink and blue were not very suitable colors.

"Professor J. Scott Clark was named chairman of a committee to find new colors, Marion said. "I recall that we seniors had a sneaking idea that we might put over the class colors, orange and olive green." Professor Clark consulted Baird's manual, then the authority on college matters, to see what combinations of orange had already been taken. Orange and blue were the most popular, but orange alone apparently was not claimed by any school and was Syracuse's for the taking. It was adopted unanimously by the committee, the faculty, the Alumni Association, and finally the trustees."

* Syracuse University, The Critical Years, v. 3, 1984, pp. 391-392. (Wilson, Galpin, Barck).

From an article printed in The Daily Orange - September 26, 1904:

THE SYRACUSE FLAG

For the protection of our honored college color, "The Orange," we desire to call the attention of the freshmen to the fact that the only Syracuse flags or banners which are truly representative of Syracuse are the ones with the entire orange field.

Unfortunately there are among the stocks of the city dealers a few flags with a field half orange and half blue.

Some of these have already been sold to students ignorant of the fact that Orange is the college color. It is true that we use blue for lettering purposes; but this color has never been either officially or customarily adopted as a coordinate color.

Buy a Syracuse flag and buy it right away; but see to it that it has an all orange field.