It’s a given. Universities will produce leaders for the 21st Century.
Some of those universities are well known and world renowned: Harvard and Oxford, for example. Some are known primarily in their regions: Governors State University, in our case.
Regardless of fame or reputation, each university observes the same traditions and honors the same practices - commencement, convocation, and presidential installation.
In higher education, the coming of a new president is as significant and important an event as commencement or convocation, if not more so. Famous or not, universities are equal members in a worldwide community of scholarship, teaching, and service, whose graduates go on to serve and excel.
The installation of a new president goes beyond the borders of the university itself. It touches the community, the region, the worldwide assembly of colleges and universities. Universities from across the country and around the world send representative to participate in presidential installation ceremonies for universities large and small.
Installation ceremonies also serve to celebrate past university accomplishments and act as a staging ground for the announcement of new initiatives.
Few single events have the potential to make such an important contribution on so many fronts.
The Governor's Mace
The governor's mace, carried by the marshal who leads the academic procession, is a symbol of the authority of the university as a degree-granting institution. The legal authority of the university is grounded in the intellectual authority of the distinguished faculty who follow in the procession.
In antiquity, the mace was a weapon used to establish the “authority” of the physically strong. Its transformation into a symbol of intellectual authority is both a tribute to and a reminder of the civilizing force of a university’s teaching, research, and community service functions.
Engraved on the four side-panels of the governor's mace are (1) the seal of the state of Illinois; (2) a cardinal, the state bird; (3) the seal of the former Illinois Board of Governors Universities; and (4) an inscription which reads “The governor's mace, a symbol of tradition and authority of Governors State University, dedicated to the search for excellence in the pursuit of truth, knowledge, and the love of learning. Presented by Peter Levin, friend of the university, June 2, 1979.”
The three sides of the “triangle” symbolize the university’s teaching, research, and community service functions. The three lines visually suggest the shape of a rocket, reminding us both that the university was founded within days of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon and that the university is a hope-filled, pioneering community, committed to a better future for all men and women.
The circle symbolizes the fact that the university is, indeed, a community. Finally, the fact that the tips of the triangle reach beyond the circle indicates the university's outreach into the region, state, and nation and its commitment to teaching, research, and community service.