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April 2019


With the NFL draft happening this weekend, the Packers have been dominating the news. I know the Packers and St. Norbert have a close relationship that goes back years, but I was curious, who used the green and gold colors first?

Erika Ditzman ’21


Dear Erika,

Thank you for your splendid question. Interestingly, this is a topic that prompts many queries like yours. It’s been too many years since I addressed it for a new generation. In fact, it was as long ago as 2007 that our esteemed alum, Brian Bunkelman ’94, asked the same question, and I answered him thus:

“Thanks for asking, Brian. I was hoping someone would follow up on the subject since this is one of the most misunderstood facts about Green Knight athletics.

“St. Norbert’s school colors were originally Dartmouth green and white, with gold. In 1931, to differentiate between the high school and the college, the high school (later known as Abbot Pennings High School) was given the green and white, while the college adopted Dartmouth green and light old gold. It is important to note that the Green Bay Packers didn’t adopt the green and gold until Vince Lombardi ordered it in 1959!”

Why Dartmouth, do I hear you now asking? I am reminded that Dartmouth College left a favorable impression on one of the college’s early rectors, my dear confere Father John Van Heertum. Accordingly, that estimable school’s colors of green and white were adopted for the seal.

Aah, our dear Green Bay Packers! It’s been years, and many coaches, since Vince controlled the sidelines. I hear there is another first-year head coach for our Packers friends this year. I don’t recall his name, but it struck me that it sounded French in origin. I’d like to wish him, his staff and all the new members of our beloved Packers a wonderful season. We will be excited as usual to once again welcome them to our beautiful campus this July.

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, who founded St. Norbert College in 1898. 

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