Cardinal and Gold
The saga of Iowa State's colors began in the 1890s...
Originally, silver, black, and gold were selected, chosen for the following reasons noted somewhat tongue in cheek in the I.A.C. (Iowa Agricultural College) Student newspaper:
May 15, 1891: "The college colors are thought by all to be a wise choice and the committee deserve our praise...The first, a Silver denoting the mechanical department on which is engraved the violet colors the letters, "I.A.C." Next Yellow signifying the golden harvest which is claimed by the generals. Last, Black, denoting death, assigned to the Vet Department who kill but never cure."
But the new colors proved difficult to use....
May 2, 1899: "Rumor has it that the ISC colors are soon to be changed. May the day hasten. The silver, gold, and black have for some time adorned our standard, and right royally have they been carried. But these colors as a college emblem almost approach the bounds of superfluity."
Oh, for a sweater....
October 3, 1899: "The matter of colors has proven a stumbling block and this is not to be wondered at. As we have stated before, the silver, gold, and black are approaching their last days. They are pretty, but absolutely impossible to use in any way that would uniform our athletes...so the colors adopted for a college athletic team determine what shall be the colors of the college. It follows then, that we should be very careful in this matter...We should be conservative and careful in this matter. What the Council does now will probably hold for all time and they must not blunder this time."
Cardinal and Gold it is!
October 10, 1899: "At Thursday's Council meeting the special committee appointed to investigate and report on suitable colors for the sweaters, reported in favor of a cardinal sweater with a gold letter...This is a commendable improvement and makes a distinctive and striking set of colors. From the prominence of cardinal and gold at the Nebraska game, it is evident that common consent will very soon adopt these as the college colors."
This site is co-sponsored by the ISU Alumni Association and the University Archives, ISU Library.