Syracuse University Magazine

Orange Plus

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Rose Pink and Pea Green. While this may be hard to envision, these two colors were Syracuse University’s original school colors in 1872! It wasn’t until 1890 that the University adopted Orange as the official school color. When I heard about this recently, it got me thinking: What other facts about SU were out there? I found the best place to go for these answers was on the sixth floor of Bird Library in SU’s Special Collections and Research Center.

In fall 1871, SU admitted its first students—34 men and seven women. The chairman of the Board of Trustees at the time, the Rev. Jesse Peck, stated, “The conditions of admission shall be equal to all persons. There shall be no invidious discriminations here against women or persons of any nation or color.” These were astonishing words at this time in history.

■    Three national sororities were founded at SU—Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Phi, and Gamma Phi Beta.

■    It is widely known that Ernie Davis ’62 was the first African American student-athlete to win the Heisman Trophy, but did you know that SU alumnus Joseph Trigg (1915) was the first African American member of a college crew team?

■    Syracuse University was the first college to teach photography. It was also the first one to offer a four-year degree in fine arts.

■    The word “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was written by an SU student as an expression of all things wonderful.

■    The Carrier Dome was the first domed athletic stadium on a university campus. 

■    The first woman to run in the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry was Kathrine Switzer ’68, G’72.

While this is certainly not a complete list of firsts and areas of distinction for Syracuse University, I hope I have at least piqued your curiosity into thinking about all the things that make SU such a unique and amazing institution.

Go Orange!

Laurie Taishoff ’84
President, Syracuse University Alumni Association

P.S.  Aren’t you glad I didn’t say, “Go Rose Pink and Pea Green?”