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The use of a mace during university graduation ceremonies combines symbolic communication with the principle of vested authority at the most traditional and sacred of academic celebrations.
The Texas State University ceremonial mace is made of cherrywood adorned with gold-plated brass accents. Atop the mace is the university seal displayed on gold-plated bronze medals on both sides of a cherrywood disk.
Beneath the seal, a cherrywood cylinder bears four 24-karat gold-plated bronze medals engraved with the words AUCTORITAS, GRAVITAS, HUMANITAS, and VERITAS. These words come down to us from antiquity and represent the following shared academic values:
- Auctoritas — the sense of one’s standing gained through experience, industriousness and service to others
- Gravitas — a sense of dignity, seriousness and duty
- Humanitas — an appreciation for refinement, civilization and learning
- Veritas — truthfulness
The mace adds meaning and dignity to the commencement ritual. It reminds both participants and spectators that education is one of the most cherished attributes of a free and democratic society.