Royal roots: K-State and its color


Purple is synonymous with Kansas State. Everywhere you look on campus, there’s purple.

Royal purple, the name for K-State’s official shade of purple, is represented all around campus. Because of the university tie, it is a color some grow up on, so it means much more than . The use of royal purple has carried tradition and memories here, setting K-State apart from the rest.

Maria Vieyra, senior in psycholoogy, said royal purple means unity and represents the K-State family to her.

“I think it is a strong and definitive color that sticks out compared to the normal uses of primary colors from other schools,” said Vieyra. “It’s cool to see that K-State spirit can be represented through one color.”

In the fall of 1896, K-State adopted the color through a committee made up of just three female seniors, and it remains the only official color of the university.

White and silver have been commonly as complementary colors, but not in any official capacity. Gold and yellow were used with royal purple for a two-year period by former head basketball coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, but the trend did not catch on after he left in 1970.

“When I see students wearing purple around campus, I see unity and the K-State family image,” said Morgan Ruhkamp, sophomore in business administration.

Through the seas of purple seen on game days and on campus, Ruhkamp said she is happy to see the royal purple as a piece of unity.

According to the K-State Brand Guide, all trademark images must be in black, white and royal purple. These can never indulge in colors other than those approved by the university.

Purple has always held through the years, though. In 1978, the new royal purple which was known by printers as PMS 527, was slightly more blue than what was in use previously.

According to David Stone, former professor of history, the color has “royal” in the title for a reason.

“Purple dye was made from the murex, a kind of carnivorous sea snail,” Stone said in a press release K-State in 2011. “Since each snail produced only a few drops of dye, purple was very expensive, and became associated with royalty and power.”

Kohl Case, sophomore in business administration, said he never thought he would end up at K-State, but now K-State traditions resonate with him.

“Royal purple signifies the images K-State represents, including those who currently wear [it], have worn [it] and those who will wear it in the future,” Case said.