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New SHSU Presidential Medallion Features Chain Of Office

Feb. 22, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

President Dana Gibson will receive the recently redesigned mediallion on the right during her investiture on March 8. The medallion on the left represents the first official SHSU seal and dates back to the university's ninth president, Elliott Bowers.

Guests at the investiture of Sam Houston State University’s 13th president, Dana L. Gibson, on March 8 will have the opportunity to see a new presidential medallion crafted especially for the event.

Presidential medallions are closely allied with maces and seals as traditional symbols of authority. A medallion is typically inscribed with the seal of the institution and is worn over academic regalia on ceremonial occasions, particularly at commencements and convocations.

At many universities a medallion is presented at the president’s investiture signaling the beginning of a new president’s tenure in office.

Weighing approximately 3 pounds, SHSU’s new presidential medallion features a 4 1/8-inch by 3 3/16-inch bronze cast of the official Sam Houston State University seal, a high-contrast image of the statue of General Sam Houston, which stands in front of Austin Hall on the north end of the campus quadrangle. Around the image in the seal are the words "Sam Houston State University," two stars, and the year in which Sam Houston Normal Institute was founded—1879.

The medallion is suspended from a chain on which are two black ovals containing the “SH” letters of the university’s official logo in bronze. Directly above the medallion is a bronze plate engraved with Gibson’s name and “2010,” the year she became president. Leading to the medallion above the SH ovals are individual plates engraved with the names of Sam Houston State University’s previous 12 presidents and the years they served.

The tradition of a presidential medallion at SHSU dates back to the university’s ninth president, Elliott T. Bowers, who served from 1970 to 1989. The original medallion was cast to represent the first official Sam Houston State University seal, which featured a head-and-shoulders image of Sam Houston on centered round disc, with the words “Sam Houston State University 1879” in a circle around the disc.

The new medallion is a gift from Randy and Trisha Pollard, members of Sam Houston State University’s Class of 1974. Trisha serves as a member of SHSU’s governing body, the Texas State University System Board of Regents.

“The old medallion had been used for so many years, and it was time for an update,” she said. “Because we are in a new era with a new president, it seemed appropriate to introduce a new presidential medallion at Dr. Gibson’s investiture.”

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