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Rosemont Mace Fast-Facts

RoConnections - April 4, 2017

What It Is: According to The University of Alabama at Birmingham, the ceremonial academic mace appeared in European universities during the fourteenth century and represented the amalgamation of two much older staff-like devices of similar length and shape. These were the regal scepter and the medieval battle mace. The royal scepter and the battle mace were combined to produce the ceremonial academic mace.

Why/How It Is Used: Originally, it was carried before royalty, mayors of cities, and chief officers of the medieval universities. In modern times, the mace is used on ceremonial occasions in the life of a college. Specifically in commencement exercises, the mace specifically indicates the authority of the president to award degrees.  Although a mace is typically only carried during the graduation procession at other colleges and universities, it has been used for the procession at the inauguration of new college presidents and at Cap and Gown ceremonies at Rosemont.

Where the Rosemont Mace Came From: Around 1982, Rosemont College President, Dorothy Brown, asked adjunct fine art professor, Jim Victor, to make a mace for the college. Brown recalls that when she was inaugurated, Rosemont did not have a mace and had to borrow one. As President, Brown wanted to rectify this situation and had asked Victor to make one. Victor was teaching sculpture at Rosemont during this time and enjoyed working in wood and bronze. He made the mace from a piece of cherry wood with embedded bronze medallions. The process took several months and the design was inspired by the shapes of the college logo combined with an ancient weapon of war. Victor also recalls that he made a wall-mounted holder for it, also carved from wood. The Rosemont mace was the first collegiate mace that Victor had ever created. Subsequently, he went on to make maces for Hahnemann Medical College, Albright College, and Drexel University.


Who Will Carry It at Commencement 2017: The mace is often carried by the highest senior faculty member or by the faculty member who is retiring that year. The decision of who will carry it at Commencement 2017 is yet to be decided. Attend the festivities on May 13th to find out!