University Mace Given New Display In Student Center
June 22, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton
The tradition of commencement is one of the most celebrated occasions each semester at Sam Houston State University. Thousands of Bearkats cross the stage, realizing their dream of completing their journey to a degree. Although the names read aloud change, one constant at convocation ceremonies is the university mace.
Symbolic of the authority of The Texas State University System Board of Regents and the Office of the President of Sam Houston State University, the mace is carried at convocations by the senior tenured faculty member and leads graduates onto the floor at the beginning of each ceremony. The initial use of the mace at SHSU was on August 20, 1988.
When it is not in use, the mace is housed in the Lowman Student Center (LSC) and recently its case and display were given a revamped look. Rob Webber, director of the LSC, says the facility is delighted to showcase the mace, as it is a great reminder for students to reach toward their goal of graduating.
“We are excited the university has entrusted the mace for us to display. It is important for the LSC to embrace and support the academic mission of the campus community,” Webber said. “Displaying the mace in the student center acknowledges our support for the academic mission of the university and embraces the history and tradition that embodies the mace.”
The new case is located in the first floor atrium of the LSC, a very popular spot for students with lots of daily traffic after the most recent renovations.
“The location is one of prominence and significance in the facility and was purposefully selected because we knew the atrium space would be a highly visible location,” Webber said. “I am hopeful that with the new display we will bring more attention and awareness to this academic tradition on campus.”
The case features a walnut staff that is bound in brass and has a hexagonal head with inlays of pecan denoting the state tree and recessed brass medallions cast with designs of General Sam Houston, Austin Hall, Old Main, Bearkats, and the completion date of the mace. The crown is a circular casting bearing the name of the university and the date of establishment, 1879. The center of the circle contains the state emblem, the lone star. Below the crown, the names of past university presidents and the dates of service are engraved on a brass collar.
It was designed, and hand crafted by the late Charles R. Jedlicka, associate professor of Industrial Technology, who retired in 1989. It will next be used during the summer commencement ceremonies on July 31, 2021.
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