Beloit Adopts Gold as Single Color
Published in The Round Table October 27, 1966
This statement about the Beloit College color is based on the research of Robert K. Richardson (History, 1901-1947 and College Historian), who used as his sources Faculty Minutes, reports in the ROUND TABLE of student meetings on the subject, and the investigation of a faculty committee of 1925, the chairman of which was Henry H. Armstrong (Languages, 1918-1935).
Prior to 1876, Beloit College had no color. "In 1876, agitation led to action." A.R. Sprague, '76, was chairman of a meeting which adopted the colors blue and ecru. "The sentiment was far from unanimous," and "the colors were never really popular." But "these were the colors of Beloit College for 13 years, from 1876 to 1889."
In 1889, largely because the then fashionable striped wool jackets called "blazers" could not be obtained in blue and ecru, a meeting of the whole body of students appointed a committee "to look up some better colors to be adopted by the College." The outcome was the adoption, by "a small majority" of the colors sky blue and navy blue. An editorial in the ROUND TABLE of December 6, 1889 doubted whether these colors would ever become popular with the students, much less the alumni. They lasted only a month.
A Single Color
The revolution against the short-lived navy and sky blue occurred on December 14, 1889, a Saturday. There was to be a football game with the University of Wisconsin in the afternoon. At a special meeting of all students at 9 in the morning, they endeavored to find a color that would call out the loyalty of everyone, a color worth fighting for. "After much hot discussion...a happy inspiration came to a junior, and with great self-sacrifice through him on the part of the class, he proposed for a college color the one that had lately been adopted for the Junior class – gold." A motion that gold be the color was carried almost unanimously.
To quote the ROUND TABLE OF December 20, 1889: "This, it seems to us, is the best single color that could be found...There is...richness and meaning enough in it to represent Beloit College.... We want a color that shall be kept for all time and not be changed every few years, a color that shall mark everyone that wears it as a Beloit student or alumnus, wherever he may be. As a Yale man is known by the blue, a Harvard man by the crimson, a Princeton man by the orange, so in a few years a Beloit man shall be known by the gold."
The football game that ushered in its use was won, 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Faculty, "perhaps more aware of the wider implications of the choice of a color than the average student," suggested consultation with the alumni. This was carried on by letter, and the replies were in general in hearty concurrence with the choice of gold.
Beloit College's color is the single color – Gold. Where it is necessary to use the letter, B for instance, against a gold ground, it should be black, not any other color. Professor Armstrong wrote in the ROUND TABLE of October 24, 1934: "...the fact is that since 1889 the only authentic color of Beloit College has been, not blue and gold, not black and gold, but gold. Our former coach, Tommy Mills, is responsible for the erroneous idea that blue and gold are our colors.
Banner in Error
"Without any authority, he arbitrarily discontinued the custom of giving gold-colored sweaters with a black B to our athletic teams, and substituted blue and gold sweaters. Tommy was wrong, the inventor of that "blue-gold" cheer was wrong, and the college banner that has a blue B on the gold background is wrong.
"The title of our annual is correct; the stickers and other objects that have the gold background with black letters are correct; the linings of the official hoods and diplomas conferred by the college which are plain gold are correct; your reporters are right when they speak of the "Gold" in the sport columns; and we are all right every time we sing the 'Gold Victory Song.'"
There are preserved in an enveloped attached to the Faculty Minutes of 1925, two ribbons of nearly the same shade that were used as samples when the Faculty adopted Professor Armstrong's report. These are nearer old gold than a yellow gold.
Robert K. Richardson's conclusion after his research is probably mirrored in the last stanza of verses he wrote after the completion of Morse-Ingersoll Hall in 1931.
But for the best thing in this
Building – it's true!
Is the fact that it's made with a
hole right through –
A tube whence emerges a glow
like rare knowledge,
When the sunshine reflects from
the bricks of North College :
And we sense that the new doth
the ancient enfold,
And what's freshly minted is
still the Old Gold.