Syracuse University celebrates its sesquicentennial this March. We’re looking back at 150 Years of Tradition with University Archivist Meg Mason at the Special Collections Research Center.

University colors. So, many people know that our very first colors were actually pink and green. They were established in 1872. And just a year later, they were changed to Azure and Rose, which is a classy way of saying pink and blue, or blue and pink, that kind of thing. And we had those colors for many years, until 1890, when apparently the students found those colors very babyish, finally, and the senior class asked the Chancellor, if they could change…look into changing the color, and he said: “Sure. And no University College had the singular color orange, so they decided on orange and it had to be approved by not only the Board of Trustees, but also the faculty and the alumni. And that wasn’t done till Commencement Week, which is when the alumni were in town, and that was the first year that diplomas had an orange ribbon on them. So that is how we got the color orange.

You’ve been listening to Oh Syracuse by the Men’s Glee Club under the direction of Dr. Irving Cheyette, an RCA 78 from 1950.

Click here for the digital exhibit “150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University”.