Herb Juliano

In Herb's Archive we'll discuss the history of the school colors. (Hint: they're not Blue and Gold!)

Our Lady on the Dome.

Our Lady on the Dome.


In Herb's Archive we'll discuss the history of the school colors. (Hint: they're not Blue and Gold!) This article is from the 1973 Monitor, the magazine of the campus newspaper, The Observer. It was found in Herb's files under the heading: "The Fighting Irish - Origins of the name and Spirit"

School Colors Not Such A Mystery
(They Have To Be In The Right Order Though)

The origin of the Notre Dame school colors has been the subject of much curiosity of late.Theories on the matter vary .Some even speculate that the colors have not always been what they are today.

This possible incongruity of tradition at ND, added to basic inquisitiveness, sent Monitor reporters scurrying all over campus in quest of the essential truth in the matter .

The files of the archives, our first stop, proved fruitless. No mention of the colors anywhere. A visit with Band Director O'Brien turned up similar results, as did question and answer periods with such campus notables as Father Thomas Blantz, Ceil Popovich, Bill McLean and Rod Braye. Finally a trip to the bookstore gave us a lead!

Under the gold dome our reporter visited the information services. The secretary here laughingly suggested that the colors were chosen to represent the gold of the dome against the  occasional blue of the South Bend sky. She referred us to Jay Kane of public information. Kane's theory is that the colors had been chosen because they are the colors most often associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patron. They could, therefore, have been blue and white at one time, Kane allowed, as these actually are the Virgin's hallmarks.

Just to be sure, Kane referred us to Chet Grant,  curator of the university sports and games collection. Grant, once the sports editor of the South Bend Tribune, a member of the ND varsity under Rockne, and the author of Before Rockne at Notre Dame, answered our question.

"The colors are gold and blue," said Grant, "not blue and gold.
There is a difference, you know ."

"As far back as I can recollect, about 1902, and as far back as I have read, about 1887, the varsity has always worn gold and blue."

As Grant details in his book, these are the colors of the patron Lady. They are represented in the university seal by a cross of gold on a field of blue.

The Fighting Irish nickname was created in the 1920's. This tag has lead many to believe that at one time the colors were green and white. Up until this time the teams were usually called the Notre Dames, Notre Damers, Ramblers and South Benders. The colors, therefore, the gold and the blue, have been the most constant trademark.

Grant reiterated one point: gold and blue, not blue and gold.

For the right sequence, envision the gold of the Dome and the statue of Mary against the blue of the sky

To read previous installments of Herb's archive please click below:

1998 1999 2000 2001
September 1998
October 1998
November 1998
January 1999
March 1999
May 1999
July 1999
August 1999
October 1999
December 1999
January 2000
February 2000

March 2000

April 2000
May 2000
June 2000
July 2000
August 2000
September 2000
October 2000
November 2000
December 2000
January 2001
February 2001
March 2001
April 2001
May 2001

June 2001

Back to Irish Reveries