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The school colors of William & Mary were first orange and white and are currently green, gold, and silver. The university has had several nicknames for its athletic teams and found a new mascot in 2010.

Orange and White, Orange and Black

The earliest known school colors of William & Mary were orange and white as early as 1894 through 1923 (see the Colonial Echo, p. 1; University Archives Subject File Collection, "Colors of William & Mary"). The university's sports teams were commonly referred to as the orange and black or orange and white before other nicknames were adopted beginning with the Indians in 1916.

Football jerseys were white shirts with orange numbers. In the 1910 Colonial Echo (p. 177) a color drawing shows a white shirt with 'WM' in orange on the chest. The orange color ran on the white shirts in the rain so they switched to Orange and Black colors.

From 1911 through the beginning of the 1923 football season, the school colors were orange and black. Originally, the colors orange and white were derived from William III (orange) and the white rose of York associated with Queen Mary II. In 1908, the colors of the athletic uniforms were changed to orange and black because the orange and white uniforms dirtied easily. However, the official school colors remained orange and white. Orange and black could still be linked to the royal family since King William was not only the Prince of Orange, but also the head of the House of Nassau whose colors were orange and black.

The 1910 and 1911 Colonial Echo's football team photo shows a dark jersey and dark 'WM' on the chest. Can't determine which color was used for the shirts or letters. The 1924 Colonial Echo, describing the football team for the 1923 fall season, refers to the team donning the orange and black jerseys. B&W photos show a dark arm and shoulder and a lighter toned chest


Green, Gold, and Silver

The colors green, gold, and silver have been used by the College from 1923 to the present. These colors came from the College's coat-of-arms, which features a golden sun rising over a silver-gray building sitting on a patch of green grass. According to the November 27, 1923, issue of The Flat Hat, the "change occurred at a meeting of the academic and athletic authorities for the purpose of restoring the original colors, and of making the College and the athletic colors identical." The article noted that duc caps would remain "as they are" (presumably orange, white, and black) for the 1923 session. This change in the school colors to those of the coat of arms came just after the rediscovery of the College's original coat of arms.

In the 1925 Colonial Echo, referring to the 1924 football season, the team was the green, gold and silver. It can't be determined from the photos which color was used for the shirts or numbers. And the Flat Hat doesn't refer to the jersey colors either.


  • Many. See the SCRC's Flickr account for a variety of representations of the College of William & Mary's current school colors.


  • Colonial Echo.
  • "Colors of William & Mary College," University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • College colors changed to green, silver and gold, The Flat Hat, 27 November 1923, p. 1, 4.
  • Indians victors over Jacket Basketeers, The Flat Hat, 18 January 1924, p. 1; describes new basketball uniforms.


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Questions? Have ideas or updates for articles you'd like to see? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.