Clarion University's Spring 1997 Commencement marked the inaugural use of the current mace.
In medieval times, the mace was a weapon held ready to protect the dignitary in a procession. Early in the history of the academy, the mace was borrowed from royalty and utilized to symbolize the power of the rector of the university, a power shared with the faculty.
Over time, symbols of learning were incorporated into the mace, transferring the power from a person to the process of education. The position of the mace bearer is one of honor given to a senior member of the faculty.
The Clarion mace is truly a community effort. It was designed and created by Kaersten Colvin, assistant professor of art. The shaft of the mace was crafted by University maintenance staff member Terry Byerly, while the production of ceramic molds for its head and its casting were done by Franklin Bronze and Alloy Company of Franklin.
Fashioned after Byzantine architecture, a style represented in some of the earliest institutions of learning, the head structure of the mace consists of three cupped units, each one slightly raised above the other. Each unit is made from a highly polished yellow brass alloy, and is molded from various thin, randomly positioned brass leaves.
The individual brass leaves, which replicate leaves gathered on campus during the Fall of 1995, symbolize the intellectual and cultural diversity of the university community as well as the physical beauty of its campuses. The University’s seal is embedded in the upper cupped unit.
The shaft of the mace is made of black cherry hard wood, which is native to western Pennsylvania. It, too, is finished with a brass ornament, creating a chromatically balanced piece. The overall dimensions of the mace are set at a traditional three feet.
Private donations supported the development of the mace.