College Mace

From Special Collections Research Center Wiki
Revision as of 22:36, 22 May 2007 by Acschi (talk | contribs) (added ref to subject file)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The College Mace is carried by the president of the Student Assembly at all official College of William and Mary convocations as a symbol of the authority vested in the rector of the College and delegated to the president of the College. As such, it always precedes the rector and the president.

Designed and handcrafted by the Gorham Company of New York, the mace is made of sterling silver. It was given to the College by alumni and students at Charter Day on February 8, 1923, upon the 230th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter.

The Sections

The College Mace is four feet long. Its 12 sections commemorate many of the people and events in the College's history.

  • An American eagle, symbolizing liberty and freedom of thought. The eagle stands on a sheaf of arrows, symbolizing the thirteen original states.
  • A sphere, symbolizing unity.
  • The coat of arms of the College and on its reverse the inscription: Collegium Gulielmi et mariae in Virginia Regia Carta Donatum Anno Domini MDCXCIII. The coat of arms initially on the College Mace was not the one granted to the College by the College of Heralds in 1694. The original design was re-discovered by President J.A.C. Chandler in 1929 and the mace, designed in 1922, bore the incorrect arms that was used by the College for many years. Some time after 1937, the original design replaced the Greek temple coat of arms on the College Mace.
  • The arms representing the early chancellors of the College:
  • the seven seals of Colonial Virginia;

full-size reproductions of three College medals; the names of 38 distinguished alumni; the earth, with the continents outlined; the names of the colonial governors of Virginia; Indian head emblems commemorating the Indian School, one of the three departments of the College before the American Revolution; and the names of the presidents of the College.

When not in use, the mace is on display in the Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library along with other academic regalia including the Marischal Mace and badges of the Rector and Chancellor under the care of the University Archivist.


  • Description of the Mace of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, E.G. Swem (1937) in Mace, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library.