A Colorful Tradition at Wellesley

June 6, 2013
red, green, purple, and yellow: Wellesley's class colors

Wellesley's campus has recently been awash in green—not just with spring’s arrival, but in honor of the departing Green (make that Emerald) Class of 2013, and it will be green again to welcome the class of 2017 to Orientation in August. Why so green?

Wellesley has a long history of assigning a color to each incoming class, and for the last 50 years, the classes have rotated through the four-color spectrum of red, green, purple and yellow. Commencement and Orientation in 2014 will thus be studies in purple. But Wellesley is now gearing up for the show of colors that Reunion will bring this weekend. All are represented as the four-year color cycle crosses the five-year reunion cycle.

Reference to class colors started as early as 1879. Back in the day, blue was one of the four class colors, but in 1953, as blue became the college color, green was the new color assigned to every fourth class. Even incoming first-years who may not have an innate personal love of their assigned color grow loyal and connected to their class color over the years. While at Wellesley, class colors help amplify class spirit, and at Reunion, they help unite Wellesley siblings across the generations.

Each class individualizes their assigned color by voting on how to more specifically describe it. That is how the recent graduates became known as the Emerald Class of 2013, and next year’s seniors are the Royal Purple Class of 2014. A blog post by Loriade Akin-Olugbade '14 describes the process:

Every class can pick what shade of color they want to be associated with... the shades usually get decided in Class Council in the fall. Class Council is a subdivision of Student Government and one of the many ways a student can get involved in leadership here at Wellesley.

Class Council helps organize class-specific activities, and they often sport the color of that class.

Akin-Olugbade goes on:

There are several ways to show class pride at Wellesley. Some include: competitions between class crew teams; Homecoming Weekend when each class has to decorate its golf cart for the parade; the first year class photo during Orientation; Stepsinging throughout of the year; and as alumnae during summer reunions.

Class colors are also the theme of this year’s fundraising participation drive: A friendly competition has been set up between the colors. Which color can get more alumnae to participate? Size of donation is immaterial—participation numbers are everything! If you’re an alumna, do you Love Your Color? You can help it win.

On Friday, June 7, Wellesley alumnae will take back the campus for the weekend, and class colors will be flying!