TJU Commencement Information
Jefferson Commencement History
The University Mace
TJU Registrar's Office
The University Mace
Originally a medieval weapon, the mace evolved from a short staff weighted with metal (used for breaking armor) into a bejeweled and sculptural relic. It fell into disuse by the 16th century as firearms made protective armor and some hand-to-hand combat weapons obsolete. In one of the earliest ceremonial uses of a mace, it was carried by the royal bodyguard before the French king in the 1200s. Examples of the mace as a symbol of authority in modern government include its use in the British House of Commons where the ceremonial mace has a presence on the Treasury table, and in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is placed on a pedestal to the right of the Speakers podium when the House convened. Universities also used the ceremonial mace, borne by the chief marshal, during academic processions.
The Thomas Jefferson University Mace, carried for the first time in the 1986 commencement ceremonies by the Grand Marshal Robert Mandle, PhD, was designed and cast by Howard Serlick, member of the Guild of Master-craftsmen, Winterthur Scholar and Chief Conservator (Gilding) of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It was crafted by silversmith Eugene Zweigle and woodturner Michael Copeland.
The four-foot-long, 14 pound mace is made of ebony highlighted with lapis lazuli to reflect Jefferson's colors (black and blue). It features a miniature of Henry Mitchell's sculpture, the "Winged Ox of Saint Luke", symbol of Saint Luke the Physician, the original of which stands on campus beside the Scott Building on Walnut Street. The miniature was cast in silver by Zweigle.
Mitchell's original statue of the "Winged Ox", adopted by the University in 1976 as its symbol of clinical excellence, is mounted on a column containing the names of 50 medical scientists who have most advanced the art of healing. It also reflects the historical evolution of Thomas Jefferson University from its beginnings as Jefferson Medical College in 1824 to its current status as an academic institution comprising of Jefferson Medical College, the Jefferson College of Graduate Studies and the Jefferson College of Health Professions. The mace, a grand emblem of the University's heritage, is carried at the head of all formal academic processions.