The formal installation of a college or university president is a ceremony steeped in academic tradition, including the processional and recessional of robed members of the faculty and special guests lead by the university marshal. It is an age-old tradition, which reaffirms our heritage and our roots as an institution. The ceremony is customarily held during the new president’s first year in office or at the conclusion of the first year.
The Ceremonial Mace
The ceremonial mace is traditionally carried by a university marshal at all formal academic occasions. The staff, which stands 36 inches high from top to bottom, is made of walnut with a mahogany finish. It is trimmed in 14k plated gold. At the top of the mace is the great seal of South Dakota State University. The engraved inscription reads “South Dakota State University founded 1881.” The mace was presented to the university as a gift from the SDSU Alumni Association and was used for the first time at President Peggy Gordon Miller’s inauguration, September 19, 1998.
The ceremonial mace has an ancient history as a symbol of authority. In medieval times it was a studded, clublike weapon, made of iron and capable of breaking armor. It became associated with the protection of the king in France and England and was carried by the king’s sergeant-at-arms. In the 13th century, it was used for civil purposes and figured in the processions of city mayors and other dignitaries. Eventually the mace became a symbol also for academic institutions, an emblem of order and authority in the pageantry of ceremonial occasions.
The University Presidential Medallion
The university presidential medallion, a traditional symbol of authority of the Office of the President, is a 14k gold replica of the University Seal, is 3 inches in diameter, and is cast as a single piece.
The reverse side of the medallion is engraved with the names the university has formally held since its inception: Dakota Agricultural College, 1884-1889; South Dakota Agricultural College, 1890-1907; South Dakota State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts, 1907-June 30, 1964; and South Dakota State University, July 1, 1964-Present.
The university presidential medallion was designed by Sioux Falls artist Jurek Jakowicz and was presented as a gift to the university by the SDSU Foundation. The medallion is part of the university’s heritage and will pass to future presidents. It is traditionally worn by the university president at important ceremonial occasions.