Our School Colors
Lehigh students have been fond of brown and white since 1867 – two years after the school's founding. Why did it take so long to choose official school colors? When the school was founded, individual classes had their own unique colors. But soon the university realized it needed colors that could unify the entire student body. Hoping to create greater school spirit, Lehigh selected brown and white as the official school colors. Why brown and white? It seems that explanation has gone missing from the official history books. But Lehigh folklore offers up one suggestion: A woman wearing fashionable brown and white stockings crossed the path of a group of men discussing school colors and, as they say, the rest is history. Brown and white stockings may not be as popular today, but both colors are still proudly worn across campus.
Lehigh didn't debut its first official mascot, the Mountain Hawk, until 1995. Prior to that, Lehigh athletic teams were known as the Engineers. While many believe the Engineers referred to Lehigh's strong engineering program, it in fact reflected the university's early ties to the railroad industry. Lehigh's founder, Asa Packer, built the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company right here in eastern Pennsylvania. To preserve Lehigh history, the university still refers to athletic teams prior to 1995 as the "Engineers" or even the "Brown and Whites." While there is no species of bird known as the "mountain hawk," it is not uncommon to spot hawks sailing over Lehigh's home on South Mountain. And our fine feathered fan, Clutch, can always be spotted cheering his fellow Mountain Hawks to victory.
Our Seal & Motto
Lehigh trustees followed several principles in setting up the university. One was that of combining scientific and classical education; they considered both to be practical. The principle carried forward an ideal of the great 17th-century Moravian educator John Amos Comenius. A motto taken from the works of Francis Bacon was used to summarize this principle, namely, "Homo Minister et Interpres Naturaeman," which translates loosely to "Man, the servant and interpreter of nature." This motto lives on at Lehigh, being an element in the university seal, which was officially adopted in 1866.