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Local students create symbol of power for the UMass Worcester


- View the mace slideshow
- Worcester Telegram & Gazette article

When Chancellor Michael F. Collins decided UMass Worcester needed its own mace, a traditional symbol of power carried with pride in ceremonies such as Commencement, he could have commissioned a professional manufacturing company and spent thousands of dollars. Instead, he looked to the experts in UMass Worcester’s own back yard, and turned the project into a learning experience for students at Worcester Technical High School.

The result is an impressive four-foot-tall wood, corian and metal creation that will play a central role in UMass Worcester’s significant events for years to come.

Under the guidance of machine technology teachers Michael Hurley and Brian Cummings, six Worcester Tech students spent four weeks designing, etching and milling the mace using mostly donated material. To mark the first use of the mace, the students were invited to the 2010 Commencement exercises where Chancellor Collins recognized them for their contributions.

“The students were honored to work on this project,” said Hurley. “They not only did all of the craftsmanship that went into the construction, but they learned the history behind in the mace, what it represents and how it was going to be used.”

Junior Teedelle Damon, who helped mill the cedar for the mace said, “It’s a great privilege to be able to work on a project for somebody else that has special meaning and value. Knowing that this will be around for years makes you feel good about the work you’re doing. ”

Ceremonial symbols of authority and power, maces were originally hand-held weapons designed for use against armor. During Commencement exercises, the mace is carried at the head of the processional. In the past, the UMass Worcester has borrowed the UMass Amherst mace for Commencement exercises. Adorned with agricultural symbols, the Amherst mace was an odd fit for the Medical School. This year, Chancellor Michael F. Collins wanted a symbol more befitting the Worcester campus mission.

Designed by the students, the center piece of the mace has the University seal etched in brass and framed by mahogany-stained cedar as a focal point. Below the seal, and offset by corian disks, is a brass hexagon engraved on three sides with the names of the three UMass Worcester schools—School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Graduate School of Nursing—all of which sits atop a four foot cedar staff and is topped with a brass finial.

Joseph Harlacher, ’10, Teedelle Damon, ’11, Brandon Tibbetts, ’11, Brendom Bermudez, ’11, Lucas Lagares, ’11, and Eric Sanchez, ’13, were responsible for designing and constructing the mace. Materials for the mace were donated by CNS Lumber in Millbury and the Countertop Shoppe in Leominster.

Beginning in 2011, the mace will be borne at the head of the processional by the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, the UMass Worcester's highest faculty honor.