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The most common origin of New Mexico's school colors dates back nearly 100 years.
Apparently, the school colors in the early 1890s were black and gold. Ms. Harriet Jenness, a faculty member who taught drawing, delsarte (drama), penmanship and music, suggested a change in school colors because black and gold did not give a true feeling of New Mexico. She suggested the crimson evening glow of the majestic Sandia mountains to the east. The silver came from when students and faculty took picnics in the Sandias and noted the Rio Grande looked like a silver ribbon winding through the valley below. Her ideas were enthusiastically adopted by the faculty and staff. The crimson was later changed to cherry, the color of a Sandia sunset. Miss Jenness died in 1895, two years before the colors were adopted as "official."
From 1973-79, turquoise was integrated into the official school colors, at least, for the athletics teams. The football team wore turquoise jerseys at home during those years. Cherry and silver returned as the predominant colors in 1980.