The sophomore class was welcomed back to campus Thursday at a ceremony in Memorial Church that featured the official presentation of the Class of 2015’s color: blue.
The ceremony, hosted by the Harvard Alumni Association in conjunction with the Undergraduate Council, revives a tradition of each graduating class passing down its color to the sophomore class.
“To me, class colors celebrate much of what’s special about Harvard,” said Annie E. DeAngelo ’12 to the Class of 2015. “They celebrate Harvard’s past and the traditions that make Harvard how it is today. They celebrate your particular class, which is the group that you truly experience this wonderful place with. And most importantly, they celebrate people and the connections between thousands of students and alumni that span centuries.”
Following DeAngelo’s remarks, a new Class of 2015 banner with blue trim was revealed from behind the Class of 2012’s banner. Later, students were given blue-trimmed class t-shirts.
Class colors date back to the late 1800s when classes adopted the colors of Yale, Dartmouth, and Princeton to foster class unity. The colors—blue, green, and orange—also made it easier for fans to differentiate athletes at sporting events.
At past Commencements, seniors would present their colors to rising sophomores. Freshmen were always represented by the color crimson. The tradition continued into the 1960s until it “mysteriously faded out,” DeAngelo said.
Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67, Associate Dean of Harvard College Joan Rouse, and UC President Danny P. Bicknell ’13 also spoke at the well-attended event.
Dingman welcomed back the sophomore class, while Rouse encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities that surround them.
“Do blue proud!” said Rouse. “Be blue in all the things you want. Find once-in-a-blue-moon opportunities. Sing the blues.”
The event’s revival—following a nearly 50-year hiatus—is the result of a few students’ efforts to build class unity and bring back lost traditions.
Bemoaning the loss of class community she said she experienced after leaving the Yard, Catherine G. Katz ’13 approached administrators with the idea of creating a sophomore class event.
“I felt that it was a shame that the kind of community we worked so hard to build our freshman year was suddenly gone,” said Katz. “Your class community and House community are great communities to be a part of. Why do they have to be mutually exclusive?”
Katz’s idea for a “welcome back” event was combined with a proposal by Justin Lanning ’12 of the HAA’s Building Community Committee to bring back class colors.
“We are trying to strengthen that sense of class identity,” said Bicknell. “This isn’t to counteract House life, it’s to complement it.”
Members of the Class of 2015 said they appreciated building connections to classes past.
“It was nice to see upperclassmen take an interest in our class,” said Ariane Berelowitch ’15 as she exited Memorial Church. “It’s also really nice to see everyone at the beginning of the year.”
—Staff writer Quinn D. Hatoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.