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From the archives: The Elon mace decoded

An emblem of authority, the mace incorporates symbols that represent the values of an Elon education.

By Sarah Mulnick ’17

The Elon mace made its first appearance on April 25, 1989, when the late President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley ’46, the senior faculty member at the time, carried it during the school’s Centennial Convocation. The tradition started that day continues today. At official campus events such as convocations and commencements, a senior member of the faculty is chosen to carry the mace and lead the procession.

 A symbol of authority, the Elon mace was designed by graphic designer Gayle Fishel ’78. It was gifted to the school by the estate of E. M. Martin in memory of Elon professor Alonzo L. Hook, who graduated from Elon College in 1913 and joined the faculty in 1914. During his time at Elon, Hook taught a variety of science and mathematics courses and served as registrar and dean of the college. He attended every Elon commencement from 1910 to 1982, and died on commencement day in 1983.

The ornamental staff, which weighs 12 pounds and is approximately 40 inches in length, was handcrafted in Portugal and incorporates some of Elon’s most representative symbols. 

  • A gold acorn, representing the seed of learning, is carved at the end of the shaft. 
  • In gold at the top is the Elon seal, which includes the motto Numen Lumen, Latin words meaning “spiritual light” and “intellectual light” that signify the highest purposes of an Elon education. Other symbols represented in the seal signify strength and power and other values upon which the institution was founded and built.
  • The shaft of the mace has four distinct sections, representing four years of study at Elon. It is decorated with fluted silver bands that alternate with bands of oak leaves and bright silver.
  • Crowned by the seal is a five-sided, sterling silver replica of the brick colonnades, including archways. This represents the strength and stability of the university. The pentagon shape is also the Greek symbol for “universe.” 
Keren Rivas,
5/8/2017 9:20 AM