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The West Virginia Humanities Council and WVPB created this series to present important people, places, and events in Mountain State history.

March 8, 1963: W.Va. Legislature Adopts Blue and Gold as the Official State Colors

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On March 8, 1963, the West Virginia Legislature adopted blue and “old gold” as the official state colors.

Many West Virginians think that blue and “old gold” have always been the state colors, but it didn’t occur officially until West Virginia’s Centennial celebration in 1963.

Prior to that, the state often used blue and gold in ceremonies because those were the official colors of West Virginia University. So, when the legislature adopted blue and “old gold,” it came as a surprise to many West Virginians that we didn’t already have official colors.

The next question then is, “How and when did WVU pick blue and old gold for its colors?” They were chosen by WVU upperclassmen in 1890 because the colors were featured so prominently in West Virginia’s state seal, which was adopted in 1863, just months after our state entered the Union.

And why was WVU and the legislature so adamant about specifying “old gold” as opposed to just regular gold? Well, blue and gold are the official colors of the University of Pittsburgh—which, of course, has traditionally been WVU’s arch football rival.


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