Academic Mace to be Introduced at Commencement

Having its origins in the Middle Ages, the mace, a large wooden staff or club, was utilized as a weapon by royal bodyguards to protect kings during processions. Today it is a ceremonial staff used by colleges and universities to lead the academic procession at commencement and other special ceremonial events. Traditionally, a marshal at the head of the procession carries the mace.

The Academic Mace symbolizes authority and scholarship, as well as the history and traditions of the institution. It signifies the confirmation of the academic process, along with the opening and closing of the ceremony by its placement and removal from a designated place of honor.

The Potomac State Academic Mace

The Potomac State College Academic Mace is a custom design fabricated by the Northwest Territorial Mint- Medallic Art Company of Dayton, Nevada. Each component of the mace symbolizes an aspect of the college's history and heritage.

The MaceThe head and staff of the mace are comprised of oak. Oak was chosen because of its association with strength, courage, and endurance. The mighty oak stands strong through all things. This symbolizes the institution's ability to rise up from the tragic 1917 fire, which completely destroyed the West VirginiaPreparatory School, and survive to become the Potomac State School in 1921. Potomac State has two large black oaks that are probably the oldest trees on campus. The oak in front of the Science Hall is also believed to be the largest on University property.

The head of the mace is encircled by four three inch diameter gold-plated bronze medallions. The medallion facing forward is the official seal of Potomac State College of West Virginia University. To the right is the "Flying WV", official logo of West Virginia University, representing the school's long affiliation with WVU. To the left is the "WVP" logo, representing the college's beginnings as the Keyser Preparatory Branch of West Virginia University. On the back is the first official seal of the Potomac State School, designed by a student in 1925.

The head and the staff of the mace are accented with gold-plated brass bands engraved with Rhododendron flowers and leaves. The Rhododendron is West Virginia's state flower. The flowers and leaves are of the same design as is depicted on the 1925 Potomac State School seal. They symbolize more than a century of service and commitment to the state of West Virginia.

The top of the staff has two gold-plated brass bands, positioned together, engraved with the names of the school's founders:  Colonel Thomas B. Davis and Judge Francis M. Reynolds. Colonel Davis donated the property on which the school building was constructed and Judge Reynolds drafted and presented the legislation establishing the Keyser Preparatory Branch of West  VirginiaUniversity in 1901.

Just under the two brass bands engraved with the names of the founders are attached old gold cords with tassels and navy blue ribbons. The tassels and ribbons in the school colors represent pride, spirit, and loyalty to our Alma Mater.

Near the center of the staff is a large gold-plated brass band engraved with the first line of text on Potomac State's historical marker - "Potomac State College­ Chartered February 15, 1901as the Keyser Preparatory Branch of West VirginiaUniversity''. The historical marker is located on the campus at the comer of State Street and Route 220.

Encased in a special metal lined compartment in the head of the mace is a plastic tube containing the following items:

A piece of coal and coke retrieved from the former site of the coking ovens of the Davis Coal and Coke Company located near Thomas, West Virginia. The operation of this company not only provided jobs for many West Virginians, but the profits made it possible for Colonel Davis to give many generous donations to the school, thus providing exceptional educational opportunities to the area's youth.

A piece of original buff brick from the Preparatory School Building. This building, a red brick structure with a stone foundation and slate roof, was massive and impressive. Leading up to the main entrance was a large porch, which was enclosed except for five huge stone arches. Arising from the center of the porch was an imposing tower, designed to accommodate a bell and huge four sided clock (donated by Col. Davis). At the time of its construction, it was considered one of the handsomest and most complete school buildings in the state.

A donated piece of charred wood, believed to be part of the burned out structure of the Prep

School Building, found during the construction of the connector between the Administration Building and Academy Hall. The fire, which occurred in May of 1917, totally gutted and destroyed the building.

A piece of red brick from the Administration Building. This building, built on the former site of the Preparatory   School, was made possible through the determined efforts of Principal Joseph W.  Stayman and his staff, Judge Francis M. Reynolds, and the citizens of the City of Keyser, who refused to allow the school to be closed because the main building had burned down. Completed in 1919, the Administration Building assured everyone that the school would have a future.

An acorn from the massive oak tree in front of Science Hall. Acorns are a symbol of luck, prosperity, and growth. This represents Potomac State's ability to face adversity through the years with strength and courage, while always providing generations of students with the tools to unlock their unlimited potential.

Sitting atop the head of the mace, is a crouching wooden Catamount on an ornate platform. The Catamount (or mountain lion) has been the official college mascot since 1929. The cat statue was designed, hand carved and installed on the mace by local artisan, Dr. John R. Garton, owner of Garton Originals in Petersburg, West Virginia. He describes the carving as, "The resourceful Catamount ascends the summit of opportunity and surveys, with confidence, a future shaped by the students of Potomac State."


The PSC Mace Project Design Team

Terry G. Falkowski

Patricia S. McGuire

Patty Lee

Leonard Colelli

Henry S. Falkowski

John R. Garton

Kathy Ludwick

Patricia Harman

JoAnn S. Harman

The Design Consultants at

Northwest Territorial Mint- Medallic Art Company

Dayton, Nevada