University Mace

Faculty member holding Mace

The University Mace, an emblem of order and authority, is used at all formal convocations, at Commencement each year, and at presidential inaugurations. It is regularly borne by the student who has been recognized that year as the most outstanding, who marches at the head of the academic procession formed by the president and the platform party, the faculty, and the members of the senior classes. After the academic procession is concluded and the event is officially opened by the president or the university marshal, the Mace is placed on a velvet cushion, featuring the University’s colors, that sits on a stand in front of the rostrum and the presiding officer.

The University Mace was donated to the University in 1947 by Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman, eminent historian and, for sixteen years, the Rector of the University. Dr. Frederic William Boatwright, then the Chancellor of the University, after serving fifty-one years as president, is reported to have given much time and thought to the design of this silver Mace. The Mace was executed by Cartier of New York and was a handsome addition to the insignia of the University.

On the top of the Mace, all in silver, is an eagle with wings spread, below which is a replica of the official Seal of the University. On the silver head of the Mace, there is engraved the following statement:


The engraved name of each student so honored is then listed, along with the year of graduation.

On the silver portion of the staff of the Mace is engraved the following: “The Mace of the University of Richmond; Gift of Douglas Southall Freeman; Rector; Board of Trustees; 1947”. The remainder of the staff is made of fine wood, embellished with bands of ornamented silver.


Chain of Office

President wearing Chain of OfficeThe Presidential Chain of Office, an emblem symbolizing the Office of the President, holds a medallion bearing a replica of the official Seal of the University. The Chain of Office is part of the academic regalia of the President, worn at Commencement Exercises and at other formal academic functions of the University.

The Chain of Office was designed and executed by the eminent Kurt J. Matzdorf, Professor Emeritus of gold and silversmith at State University of New York New Paltz. It was introduced at the inauguration of Dr. E. Bruce Heilman, the University’s president from 1971 to 1986 and from 1987 to 1988. Current President Ronald A. Crutcher received the Chain of Office at his inauguration in October 2015.

Over four feet in length, the Chain of Office is made of sterling silver and includes gilding and enameling. The medallion, featuring the University Seal, is three and one-half inches in diameter, ringed by clusters of pine cones and pine branches in relief. The medallion is joined to the Chain by a link in the likeness of the tower of the Frederic William Boatwright Memorial Library, named for the University’s third President. Alternating links of the Chain, fourteen on each side, highlight two motifs: first, the open book representing the great books, predominant among which is the Bible, thus emphasizing the spiritual roots and intellectual character of the University; and second, the dogwood blossom, the state flower of Virginia, symbolizing the importance of the University in the life of the Commonwealth. An additional focal point in the Chain is the emblem in the back, which depicts the statue of George Washington in Richmond’s Capital Square, reflecting the close ties that exist between the University of Richmond and the City of Richmond.

The Presidential Chain of Office was the gift of Dr. and Mrs. Charles H. Wheeler III. Dr. Wheeler was vice president for financial and business affairs and treasurer, and professor of mathematics.


University Seal

one of the University's original seals, c. 1914In 1841, Andrew Broaddus designed the Seal of the University. The Seal was described, in the language of the time, as representing "an eye looking down from a cloud upon an open volume illuminated by a lamp above it. The eye may represent human sagacity or divine omniscience according to the fancy of the observer." The Latin phrase Verbum Vitas et Lumen Scientias translates as "the word of life and the light of knowledge." March 4, 1840 is the date of the establishment of Richmond College. In 1920, the Seal was modified to reflect the joining of Richmond College, Westhampton College, and the School of Law as the University of Richmond. The Seal binds all University legal documents and is impressed upon every diploma granted by the University.


Richmond College SealCurrent UR Seal