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Man holding the university mace during commencement


The mace, which traces its roots to medieval weaponry, has become a symbol of scholarship and integrity for universities since the eleventh century. The NKU mace represents the light of knowledge and academic excellence, and is only used during official academic ceremonies: commencement and university presidential inaugurations. The President of the NKU Faculty Senate serves as Grand Marshal for these events, and carries the mace in and out of the ceremony in recognition of the solemnity of the occasion.

Northern Kentucky University’s mace is rich in symbolism. The spiral base, made of walnut-stained mahogany, suggests growth, evolution and higher achievement. The gold-leaf flame, inspired by NKU’s official seal, the lamp of learning, symbolizes eternal light and learning. The gold and white braided cords flowing from the base of the flame represent purity as well as NKU’s school colors.

The mace was presented as a gift to the university from the NKU Foundation, Inc. It was designed by Kari Messner (‘91) and was sculpted by local artist Jack True.