A mace is a club-shaped staff often used as a symbol of leadership and authority. It was originally used as a weapon during the Medieval Ages, but over the years it has gradually become more of a ceremonial item to be used in legislative assemblies and academic processions.
The Berea College Mace was created at the request of President Willis D. Weatherford Jr. for his inauguration in October 1967. Oscar H. Gunkler, its designer related, “One week before the inauguration, Willis Weatherford announced that he would like the Marshal to carry a Mace. This sent us all into a tailspin as there was no Mace. I was asked to design and produce a Mace which could represent the College.”
The Mace was constructed from native Appalachian walnut and maple wood by the College’s Woodcraft Department. On the top is a spherical globe symbolizing the college’s motto, “God hath made of one blood all peoples of the Earth.” Directly beneath the globe is a three sided section embellished with carvings representing three major principles of the college: Christianity, academics, and labor. Christianity is naturally symbolized by a cross, academics are represented by an open book of knowledge and lamp of learning, and finally the labor aspect of the institution is signified by a handsaw and spade.