A common fixture at University commencement, the University mace has become a symbol of strength and unity since its creation in 1950.
The original mace was made out of the walnut staircase from University Hall, which was torn down in order to make room for additions to Angell Hall, according to an article published in the University Record.
The original mace had 15 rods symbolizing the University’s schools and colleges. Each rod was painted the color of its respective school and the rods were united with maize and blue ribbon, according to the article.
The design for the mace was developed by Warner G. Rice, marshal of the faculty and Frank E. Robbins, assistant to the president.
Rice expressed to Robbins that his office lacked a symbol and together they began the initial plans for the mace, according to the article. Rice and Robbins used John Monteith’s Temple of Wisdom description of a mace, which included six pillars and a dome with the motto “Epistemia” at its base.
The mace was then created by the Plant Service Carpenters and painters under the direction of Plant Superintendent Walter M. Roth. The original mace is currently housed at the Bentley Library.
But the mace built in 1950, isn’t the one that students see at convocations and commencement. The current mace is made of red oak with silver ornamentation, according to the article.
The mace was given by the Senior Board of 1968 and was used for the first time in the 1968 Spring Commencement. It’s just a little over two pounds and has engravings of the names of the University presidents, a drawing of an open book and scales of justice among other engravings, according to the article.