RCW: A Look Back 4.34

This week, let’s take A Look Back at one of the early KU school colors, Harvard crimson. As early as 1858, two rowers purchased crimson handkerchiefs for their teammates, so spectators on shore could identify the Harvard crew out on the water during a regatta. Crimson was voted by faculty, students and alumni to be the school color in 1875, but wasn’t officially designated as such by the school’s governing corporation until 1910.
Having previously used the maize and sky blue of the University of Michigan, the University of Kansas adopted “Harvard Crimson” as a school color in 1890 to honor Colonel John J. McCook, a Harvard alum who donated the funds to build McCook Field, the first campus athletic field used by the Jayhawks. The current crimson color of KU is more yellow-toned and less cyan- and black-heavy than the original shade, resulting in a brighter red than the original color used in the late 19th and early 20th century.