I know we're in the thick of summer, but school buses continue to operate for summer school and summer camps in the Quad Cities. My family and I drove past the bus barn near Brady Street Stadium the other day and as I glanced over at the sea of yellow buses, I thought to myself, "Self, why are school buses yellow?"

It surprises me just how many things get tied by Iowa. The Father of the Yellow School Bus (yes, that's this dude's unofficial title in history), actually began his education journey at a college in Iowa.

Who is the Father of the Yellow School Bus? Let's meet Frank.

The Father of the Yellow School Bus

I want you to meet Dr. Frank W. Cyr. Born in Franklin, Nebraska in 1900, Frank began his education journey to become the Father of the Yellow School Bus in Iowa. Before I tell you what college he went to, let me tell you how he landed on making school buses the bright yellow color we know and love today.

Shiny School Bus

In April 1939, Cyr organized a conference at Teachers College that drew transportation officials from each of the then 48 states, as well as specialists from school bus manufacturing firms. At that conference, the participants established national school bus construction standards, including the standard color of yellow for the school bus, according to Dr. Cyr's alma mater.

Cyr found that there was no standard for school transportation and even found that a school in Kansas was transporting kids in horse-drawn wheat wagons.

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Why Yellow School Buses?

During that 1939 conference, Dr. Cyr, the teachers, the engineers, and even paint specialists that were present came up with 42 pages worth of school bus regulations including the yellow paint you see today.

Yellow was the final color because black letters were the easiest to see with a yellow background. Plus, yellow stood out in the semi-darkness of early morning and late afternoon, and even in bad weather. The original color they picked, Dr. Cyr thought that it was more orange than yellow.

Go Hawks...?!

Even though yellow and black letters are associated with school buses, he didn't go to the University of Iowa.

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Dr. Frank W. Cyr actually began his education journey at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. Frank went to Grinnell and graduated in 1922. He received the Alumni Award in 1992.

Dr. Cyr passed away on Tuesday, August 1, 1995, at a nursing home in Stamford, New York. He was 95 years old.

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