Throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries, Davidson College paraphernalia could be recognized by our striking black and red colors. In our earlier days, however, Davidson College was known by less intimating colors: pink and light blue.

Davidson students voted for a "judicious change" for school colors to red and black.

Davidson College Colors

Davidson College colors

These colors were chosen to represent Davidson College “in tribute to the literary societies,” Philanthropic and Eumanean. [Beaty 159] The Eumanean Society’s color was a pale pink, while the Philanthropic Society’s was a light blue.

Near the end of the 19th century Davidson College athletic teams began participating in intercollegiate play, and the Davidson men became uncomfortable with their current fight song ( “Run, Run, Run / Pink and Blue / Davidson”) and the teasing that their college colors inspired. So, in December 1895, the student body voted for what Mary Beaty called “a judicious change.” [190] They voted to change the school colors to red and black.

Eu and Phi Society Marshals still sport traditional pink and blue sashes.


Eu and Phi Society Marshals still sport traditional pink and blue sashes.

But what shade of red? Cornelia Shaw refers to the Davidson College shade of red as “crimson” [259], while in 1924 President W.J. Martin referred called it a “bright cardinal red.” [Davidson] In the early 21st century Davidson College’s official approved HEX code colors for use on their website were 000000 (black) and 970213 (red).

Historically, both the Philanthropic and Eumanean societies provided marshals for Davidson College Commencement ceremonies; these marshals would wear pink or blue sashes to designate their society halls. Though the college’s official colors have changed, these pink and blue sashes are still worn by Eumenean and Philanthropic Society marshals at Commencements.

Works Cited

Davidson, Chalmers G. Letter, 20 March 1947. Colors – Official Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives., Davidson, NC.

Beaty, Mary. A History of Davidson College. North Carolina: Briarpatch P, 1988.

College Communications, “Davidson College Web Color Palette.” Davidson College. 7 April 2008. <>

Shaw, Cornelia Rebekah. Davidson College. NY: Fleming H. Revell Press, 1923.

Author: Tammy Ivins
Date: April 2008

Cite as: Ivins, Tammy. “Colors”
Davidson Encyclopedia April 2008.

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