When thousands of University of Toronto graduands take the stage to convocate this week, they will pass by the mace – a part of the convocation ceremony that symbolizes the institution’s history and authority.
The current mace was unveiled at convocation in June 1951, a gift from Lt.-Col. Eric Phillips, who was then the chair of the Board of Governors – now called Governing Council. The ceremonial mace is a highly ornamental staff, made of gold-plated silver and covered with images that reveal some of U of T’s cultural origins and influences.
“I think it really continues to do what it was always meant to do,” says Sheree Drummond, secretary of the Governing Council. The mace provides “a sense of tradition, history, longevity of the institution and the gravitas for what’s happening in a convocation ceremony,” she says.