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University of the Pacific - Commencement 2014


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Historical Significance of Mace
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Historical Significance of Mace

Professor holding maceOriginally a weapon of offense used in medieval warfare by a king or a noble, the mace has been refined to a symbolic device used on ceremonial occasions. The mace, as an academic symbol, dates back to 16th century England when Queen Elizabeth I presented a replica of her own royal mace to the corporation of the University of Oxford. She ordered that it be used in all ceremonies to represent the royal presence and the authority given to the university to grant degrees under the royal insignia. King Charles I made a similar gift to Cambridge University in 1625.

Robert E. Burns, Pacific president from 1946-1971, asked Stuart Devlin, an internationally known London silver designer, to create the University of the Pacific Mace. It was commissioned in recognition of the University’s transition from a college to a university with several colleges and professional schools that were to be modeled after Oxford and Cambridge. It was first used at a Founders Day ceremony on March 6, 1966, and is constructed entirely of silver with a gold plated seal of the University in its head. The mace is approximately four feet long and weights 15 pounds. It was a gift from Mrs. Winifred Olson Raney, a regent of the University. The mace is displayed at all official University functions and generally is carried by the chair of the Academic Council at Convocation and Commencement ceremonies.

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