The Class Colors Tradition

The tradition of assigning a color—red, green, yellow, or purple—MDC class colors, 1938to each class at Lawrence has a long history. It began at Milwaukee-Downer College, the women’s college that consolidated with Lawrence in 1964. In the fall of 1914, Milwaukee-Downer held its first Colors Day, in which the incoming freshman class was formally presented with a banner in its designated color.

The four colors had been chosen, according to a 1922 Milwaukee Journal article, to represent “the purple of the spring violets, the green of the first grass, the yellow of the July dandelions while the red comes from the hawthorne berries, the deep color of the ripened oak leaves and from the tint of the college buildings.” For the next 50 years, each Milwaukee-Downer student received a blazer and beanie in red, green, yellow, or purple. The colors provided a sense of class unity that was reinforced through competitive events like the annual regatta and Hat Hunt.

The tradition did not immediately carry over with the consolidation. But in 1988, it was reinstated for all incoming classes at Lawrence. Today, class colors serve as an important reminder of our Milwaukee-Downer heritage, as well as a way to identify with class compatriots.

Class Color Legacy Scholarships

The Class of 2016 has the distinction of kicking off a series of Class Color Legacy Scholarships. Established during their senior year, the aptly named Yellow Class Legacy Scholarship provides support for a member of the Yellow Class of 2020. From one “yellow” class to the next, this scholarship recognizes the importance of providing a legacy to keep the tradition going and providing for a successful Lawrence education. The Yellow Class of 2020 was also asked to support the Yellow Class Legacy Scholarship so a member of the next Yellow Class—the Class of 2024—will have support from other Yellow Class alumni as well.

While this started as a senior class tradition, everyone is invited to give to their respective Class Color Legacy Scholarship—Red, Green, Yellow, or Purple. The funds will go to support a student in the current class of that color. Use the Class Color calculator to find your Class Color!