Lafayette College is home to an incredibly storied and tradition-rich 23-sport intercollegiate athletics program. In addition to boasting four national championships and 64 Patriot League regular season and tournament championships, the Leopards have shaped the game of college football with the invention of the helmet, the invention of the huddle and the game's most played rivalry.
The Leopards' success extends well beyond the competitive venues, annually ranking among the nation's leaders in student-athlete graduation success rate and individual scholar-athlete honors.
The first time the nickname "Leopards" was used at Lafayette College, as far as can be determined, was the Oct. 22, 1924 edition of "The Lafayette" (the student newspaper) and the recap of a student council meeting.
"The Leopard is to be the official mascot of the Lafayette football team. This was decided last night at the regular meeting of the Student Council held in Brainerd Hall. A Leopard skin has been ordered and will be worn by a student at the Penn and W. & J. games, and was met with approval."
A further explanation came three years later (October 7, 1927) in The Lafayette. That article said there is no real explanation as to why the nickname was suddenly used or who decided upon "Leopards." George Parkman, who then served as sports editor recalled that "a number of our opponents had animal nicknames and someone decided Lafayette should also have one." Prior to that time, Lafayette teams had been referred to as "The Maroon," based on the school colors, maroon and white.
With the help of Phoenix Design and Jay Williams '80, Lafayette developed a visual identity program for athletics that was introduced throughout the 2004-2005 seasons. The new identity includes a full-body leopard and typography treatment as well as secondary elements such as a paw print and leopard head.
In January of 1875 Lafayette participated in the first "American Intercollegiate Oratorical Contest" in New York City. Sponsored by Mrs. John Jacob Astor and other prominent New Yorkers, it was attended by Lafayette, Cornell, Williams, Rutgers, Princeton, and the University of the City of NY. This is the first known intercollegiate contest for which Lafayette needed to display school colors. It is said that President Cattell himself chose Maroon and White for the event, a color scheme which still denotes the college to this day.
Lafayette student-athletes and coaches annually earn numerous individual honors at the Patriot League, regional and national levels for both academic and athletic prowess. The athletic department annually presents two major awards to the most deserving senior student-athletes: Charles L. Albert '08 Award Class of 1913 TrophyLafayette's Lehigh Valley Alumni Chapter regularly presents an award for exceptional service to the cause of Lafayette Athletics: Danny Hatch '04 Award
Words and Music by Walter C. Stier, Class of 1884
We'll gather by the twilight's glow In front of old Pardee, In all the world no other scene, So fair, so dear to me. O Lafayette, O Lafayette, To thee our voices raise! While loyal lips and loyal hearts Unite to sing thy praise.
Chorus We'll gather by the twilight's glow In front of old Pardee, In all the world no other scene, So fair, so dear to me.
And future years shall not erase These gems of mem'ry rare, But oft we'll live the scenes again, Impressed so firmly there. O Lafayette, O Lafayette, O joyous college days! E're while these loyal hearts shall beat, We've loyal lips to praise.
Down the field we we swing in perfect trim Behind the team we've played to win And as we swing we sing a marching song; And the song we sing is on the theme Of Lafayette and of Her team. We'll swing the Chorus as we swing along.
Chorus On, Lafayette! On Lafayette! On, on to greater deeds, Lafayette, Give, Lafayette! Give, Lafayette, Give, give the best that's in you And hope for a vict'ry. FIGHT! LAFAYETTE! FIGHT! LAFAYETTE! Fight the fight and keep your heads unbowed; Win, you're victorious! Lose, just as glorious! Men of Lafayette, of you we sing. FIGHT!