Eastern’s ceremonial maces honor academic tradition

At this year’s Fall Convocation, Dr. Caroline Cherry and Dr. Ken Maas wielded something unrecognizable to most students: sleek wooden maces.

However, these are not the kind of maces used in epic medieval battles. They are ceremonial maces used in many esteemed areas such as governments, churches and universities.

In academia, they are often presented and borne by select faculty members known as faculty marshals at formal occasions like convocations and commencements. It is a tradition that spans centuries, and Eastern has entered into that tradition.

The process of creating and acquiring the maces began last spring when Dr. Joe Modica, University Chaplain, Dr. David King, University Provost, and some other faculty members met with Dr. Ron Morgan, husband of former Academic Dean Betsy Morgan. Dr. Morgan formerly taught English at Eastern, and after leaving he went into woodworking.

“When we got the idea to do ceremonial maces, he was the first person we thought of,” Dr. Modica said. “These maces are particularly personal because of the person who sculpted them.”

Over the summer, Dr. Modica, Dr. King and Dr. Morgan held meetings to discuss what the maces should look like and what they would say.

“[They are] very simplistic maces that are so Eastern to me,” said Dr. King, who financially supported the project.

The maces are inscribed with Dr. Cherry and Dr. Maas’s names, the Eastern seal and the words “Faith, Reason and Justice.” The final products were delivered just before convocation.

“We used this opportunity to reinforce symbols and language that are important to Eastern University,” Dr. King said.

The maces will be dedicated to Dr. Maas and Dr. Cherry, who are retiring soon, at either the December or May commencement.

Eastern’s maces will be used at commencement, convocation, baccalaureate – any ceremony on campus where the faculty are robed. “I think they’ll get good use and good exposure,” Dr. Modica said.

When the maces are not in use, they will be sitting on their stands in the Provost’s and President’s offices.

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