Red Oak Hollow

Woodturning, a joyful hobby making round things out of wood

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Academic Mace completed for Patrick Henry College

The first mace I made, which started me in the mace business!

Patrick Henry College now has an academic mace
In May 2005, just in time for graduation, I delivered this academic mace to Patrick Henry College, a Christian institution located in Purcellville, VA. The mace 45" long and is primarily made of mahogany with three sets of three olivewood beads, or rings, inset at the top of the mace just above the medallion, just below the medallion, and near the bottom. The face of the large ball section near the top was flattened and then a recess cut into the face of that flat place to allow a brass medallion symbolizing the college to be inset and bonded in place. It has turned out that this mace was the first of many which I have made. Once this story appeared on my web site, search engines have found me whenever "academic mace" has been searched. Thank you for looking here. This one was the first.

The Administration Building for Patrick Henry College, Purcellville, VA
The meaning of the olivewood rings has been provided by the college for our information: "The three lowest olivewood rings represent righteousness, justice, and mercy, because with these virtues our students will serve the Lord and impact our society. The middle set of olivewood rings represent virtue, leadership, and commitment, because these form the character of our community life. The larger mahogany rings on either side of these represent faith and learning, because Christian faith and genuine learning frame our community life and cannot be separated. The uppermost olivewood rings represent God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, because the college shall always remain a Christian institution dedicated to bringing honor and glory to God."

A close-up view of the medallion inset in the ball of the mace.
The academic mace is an historic symbol of the authority of a college or university to confer degrees. Patrick Henry College was established in 2000 and this mace was carried in the graduation ceremony by Dr. Paul J. Bonicelli, Dean of Academic Affairs, as a symbol of that authority. An instrument of authority such as this academic mace will become for Patrick Henry College a significant part of the collection of artifacts of the college which will be accumulated over many years and something which administrators, faculty, students, and alumni will remember and cherish as they recall their time at PHC in the years to come.

Dr. Bonicelli carries the school's academic mace for the first time for graduation.
If you have a friend who knows of a college without an academic mace, I would certainly appreciate it if you would refer them to this web site to see what I have made for Patrick Henry College. Perhaps there are other colleges out there which would like to have a similar symbol representing their authority. I would be most happy to discuss with them the making of such an item for their ceremonies. For me, the most difficult part of the process is turning the wood to the right size and shape in accordance with the design approved by the college or university. For that college or university, the most difficult, and really, the most important, task is to relate the history, mission, purpose, and philosophy of the school in the shape of the mace. Patrick Henry College did well in relating the shape of the mace to the mission of the school. I will work with any college or university persons who are seeking a new academic mace to properly reflect that which is important to them. This has been a unique and enjoyable project and it was an honor to have been selected to produce this mace for Patrick Henry College.