The Mace

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The University of Miami’s current mace, which dates back to 1986, was sculpted by former UM Professor of Art William Ward.

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The academic mace an enduring symbol of institutional authority and prestige, is a vestige from prehistoric times. First used as a battle weapon, the mace evolved into a ceremonial staff carried in processions of royalty, magistrates, and church or university officials.

The University of Miami’s current mace, which dates back to 1986, was sculpted by former UM Professor of Art William Ward. He chose a contemporary design, one that reflects the University’s timelessness and perpetual growth from a young institution to one of national prominence. The clean lines and polished silver surface are elegant, dignified, and reflective of colors, textures, and forms in the ever-changing environment. Ward indicated that timelessness is further represented by the mace’s geometric design. Rather than employing symbols like books, candles, or globes, he noted that “these geometric shapes are not tied to fad or style but are an integral part of our world. There are obvious relationships to mathematics and the sciences, and as the mace is rotated, some of the planes at the top resemble letters. Its complexity is like the unfolding plot of a good story.”

The University of Miami’s current mace serves as a symbolic weapon to protect the ideals of truth, justice, and learning. During the commencement ceremony, it is carried at the head of the academic procession by the Grand Marshal, whose symbolic duty is the protection of the University, its people, and its processes.