Maroon, Maroons, and the Phoenix

Maroon & Maroons

Maroon and Maroons became the University of Chicago's official color and nickname, respectively, at a meeting of students and faculty on May 5, 1894.

Before the University held its first classes on October 1, 1892, the Board of Trustees had selected goldenrod (yellow) as the school's official color. By 1894, however, UChicago's legendary football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg believed that a change was necessary.

"The yellow ran, soiled easily, and had a regrettable symbolism which our opponents might not be above commenting upon," said Stagg in his autobiography, Touchdown!

Because maroon was not already in use by any major school in the Midwest, Stagg and his associate J.E. Raycroft brought a selection of maroon shades to the 1894 meeting of students and faculty. From those ribbons, a choice was made, and the baseball team appeared in that color during its final games of the 1894 season.

On July 21, 1894, the first mention of a UChicago athletic team as Maroons appeared in the Chicago Tribune in an article about the baseball team.

The Phoenix

While Maroons is the official nickname of the University of Chicago's sports teams, the Phoenix – which is featured as part of the University's shield – serves as the school's mascot. The University of Chicago Board of Trustees adopted the shield in 1910. "Phil the Phoenix" can usually be found pumping up the crowd at football games, basketball games and other special events.