About Purple and White

The Purple And White was the Assumption College (later Assumption University) student newspaper for almost 35 years. It began publication on November 15th, 1924 and continued until early 1959. With the February 26th, 1959 issue, its name was changed to the Lance, the name the student newspaper still bears today.

Purple and white were the colours of Assumption College and reflected its affiliation at this time with Western University. However, the colours may go back to its founding in 1870. For example, Father O’Connor, its first president, apparently wrote and recorded everything in purple ink (1924: Dec. 15, p.3). In keeping with this tradition, perhaps, the newspaper was usually published in purple ink, at least for the first two decades of its existence.

In the 1920s, the Purple And White normally appeared semi-monthly during the school year. It was sold by subscription for 75 cents per year, but also attracted a healthy revenue from advertising. From the start, the newspaper was designed to appeal to both current and former students. Most issues contained an Old Boys’ Page, with news about alumni and often reminiscences of College life in the early years. Generally, the paper reflected the values of its Catholic students and the supervisory influence of the Basilian fathers. There were many stories that focused on the religious and moral life of the College. Nevertheless, there was still extensive reporting of class news, clubs, campus events, and campus life in general, including the construction of new buildings and facilities. Sports stories were very popular and included coverage of basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and a few other sports such as handball. Each issue also contained many literary contributions in the form of prose, poetry, and a few jokes.

Although the focus of the early newspaper tended to be inward looking, there were, nevertheless, a few articles on global political events and characters such as the Dawes Plan, the Locarno treaties, Mussolini, and then in the late 1930s, the impending war in Europe. There was almost a complete absence of articles on more local Windsor/Sandwich issues. One exception is the construction of the Ambassador Bridge (e.g. 1925: Dec. 15, p. 8 and 9; 1927: Oct. 15, p. 1)

Not surprisingly, it was difficult to publish during World War II, although a much reduced number of issues did continue to be produced. After the war, the Purple And White tended to reflect the now much larger institution with a more independent student body. Many students were returning soldiers, and so a little older and somewhat more interested in external events and politics. An informal student poll (1945: Oct. 28, p. 4) showed, for example, that 84% were in favour of labour unions and 66% supported co-education at the then all-male College. Sadly, most also felt that there would be another war, this time with Russia. Many articles reflected the desire for reform and modernization within the College. There was no longer much involvement by alumni. The Purple And White became a newspaper basically for current students only. Despite these changes, however, the Catholic tone and values of Assumption College remained omnipresent.

Katharine Ball