Guilford Nicknames

Our primary and official nickname has been the Quakers for as long as Guilford has sponsored club and varsity sports.  We were founded by the Society of Friends, colloquially called Quakers, so I won’t detail the obvious.
Quaker Man live mascot from mid-20th Century. Photo by Guilford College.

We are also called the Fighting Quakers. Being that Guilford was founded by the Society of Friends and a healthy portion of staff and students in the old days were Quakers, the “fighting” part of the name is truly ironic, and meant to be tongue-in-cheek...a pun. 

Although the 1932 Quaker Football Team cannot be termed an outstanding success from the standpoint of games won and lost, it did at times show flashes of brilliance and always gave a credible account of itself from the standpoint of sportsmanship and 
Quaker “fight.” (The Quaker, 1933)

Examples of this nickname being used are numerous in campus publications of the past, including this entry from the 1936 Quaker:

"Once again the fighting Quakers were forced to bow down in defeat 
before superior weight odds..."

However, there could be some actual teeth to the moniker, as the name arose during the time of and due to the intense nature of those early football contests from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Football began at Guilford in 1892 and was played without the aid of helmets and padding, with only a dozen or less on the team, playing both offense and defense. In fact, football in those days was so violently bloody that it was banned as a varsity sport at Guilford (and many other colleges) in 1905 and wouldn't be reinstated until 1915. Despite the consternation of a few of the more “Quakerly” faculty and student body, past and present, the Fighting Quakers nickname has stuck and is heard in various school cheers, an older version of our primary "fight song," by alumni at games and sometimes on branded apparel.

A Guilford gridman swarmed, yet still exhibiting the 
"Fighting Quaker"way. 
Football game, mid 20th Century. 

(Photo by Guilford College.)

Another nickname, which I’d never heard during my time at Guilford, was the Crimson Quakers

I found our teams being referred by this nickname many times in old yearbooks while doing research. The reason is also somewhat obvious, being that our primary school color is Crimson. (Or burgundy, or maroon - depending on whom you ask, the apparel manufacturer, or the year. More on this confusing tid-bit in a future post...) 

Guilford uniforms and letter sweaters of old were a dark, blood red (as seen on the 1918 footballers to the right), so the nickname Crimson Quakers would certainly make sense. Kinda’ has a nice ring to it...and probably would appease the small percentage of Quaker faculty, students and staff who might cringe at the "Fighting Quakers" designation. Regardless, the Crimson Quakers seems to be a forgotten nickname and is probably not heard much on campus. I might have to holler it out at the next sporting event, just to see if I get any quizical looks!

Yet another (somewhat forgotten) nickname, used informally:  "The Crimson and Gray."  It's repeatedly peppered in old yearbooks, particularly from the early 20th Century.

The track team of 1915, however, was successful in the only meet of the 
season, and the indications point to a fair team to represent the 
Crimson and Gray on the cinder path this spring. 
(The Quaker, 1916, pg. 98.)

Flashy Red Maxey of William & Mary wrought havoc with the Guilford machine by his elusiveness and scoring genius to lead his team to a decisive victory over the fighting Crimson and Gray on the Virginians' mud-soaked gridiron. 
Guilford, 0; William & Mary, 32. 
(The Quaker, 1932, pg. 60.)

On the right, some football contests from 1932, showing the "Crimson and Gray" in all their "Fighting Quaker" glory! 

(Still trips me out that some guys didn't use all.)

(All Photos: Guilford College.)

Finally, there are a few lesser-used nicknames for Guilford College: Ole' GC and GuilCo. The first refers to the fact that there are two "GC's" in Greensboro: Guilford College and Greensboro College. Our designation of "Ole' GC"means that Guilford is the first and older "GC."

GuilCo is simply an abbreviation of Guilford College and quicker to say and write for many alumni. "Ole' GC" is hardly ever used, while "GuilCo" is used by many Guilfordians.

* It should be noted that a few other Quaker-founded schools use the Quakers and/or Fighting Quakers nicknames, including Earlham College, Wilmington College (Ohio), and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).

No comments:

Post a Comment