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Historic Campus Tour: Color Post

A Self-Guided Multimedia Tour of the History of the University of Puget Sound's North Warner Campus

The Original Color Post

The original Color Post, which was erected in 1917, was "a four-sided section of a large fir tree, [measuring] about eight-feet long, sixteen-inches wide at the base and twelve-inches wide at the top; each side was enameled with a color signifying some field of knowledge... [and] a record of the graduating classes – the year, the number of freshmen admitted, and the number graduated four years later."  (Earley 1987:37) This wooden Color Post was a feature of Puget Sound's older campus site at the corner of Sixth and Sprague. When the college moved to its current location on North Warner in 1924, a number of current students "built a cradle" and carried carried the Color Post to its new home, for "such was the respect which had been engendered for it in the hearts of the students, [that] the faculty put on their academic caps and gowns; and, with the student body, followed these young men in a dignified procession." (Todd 307)

The Color Post Ceremony

From its inception during the tenure of President Edward H. Todd, the Color Post was the centerpiece of a ceremony designed " to relate the alumni to the current class on the campus, so that the alumni would always feel that there was a class representing them."  (Thompson II.107) During this ceremony, incoming freshman would be greeted first by the student body president, then they would pass by the Color Post, where their class information was listed on one of the four sides, and then they would shake hands with the president of the college and be formally welcomed into the student body. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the new students would walk through the outer gates of the enclosure which then surrounded the Color Post and gather together to sing the Alma Mater. This ceremony would be performed at graduation as well, to welcome students into the Alumni Association. This ceremony became more complex over the years of Todd's presidency, including such rituals as dropping one's student ID card into a slot specially carved into the post itself. 

The left image shows the original Color Post being used in the Senior Day ceremony of 1917, on the Sixth and Sprague campus (Image source: A Sound Past). The right image shows the current Color Post, in Karlen Quad