Anoka Technical College publicly unveiled its first ceremonial college mace at its December graduation ceremony Dec. 20.The mace was designed and constructed over the past year by college machine trades faculty members Jesse Oldenburg, Jerry Showalter and Jim Peterson.
Each year, the senior faculty member is asked to lead the commencement processional at the fall and spring ceremonies. This year, Marietta Saxon, occupational therapist assistant faculty member, carried the mace to honor her 30-plus years of service.
“Anoka Tech is such a remarkable college that I was honored to have the opportunity to use my skills to produce the mace as a symbol of the powerful role the college plays in the community and the lives of its residents,” Oldenburg said.
“Students got to see the nearly 700-hour process of research, development and production that ultimately produced the mace, and we are very proud of the work.”
According to Oldenburg, the Anoka Tech mace was designed to represent the college’s commitment to excellence as well as to commemorate and pay respect to the college’s history and its membership in the Minnesota Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system.
“Graduation ceremonies are traditional academic rites of passages that mark a student’s transition from being an apprentice to an alum and colleague,” said Kimberly Roan, college registrar.
“We wanted to make sure Anoka Technical College’s commencement embraced the traditional costumes by incorporating the mace.
“We are grateful to Jesse and the others for accepting our idea and working so hard to produce such a masterpiece.”
The ceremonial mace was designed and constructed from distinctive woods and metals.
The ebony colored wood, called wenge, is from the Millettia Laurentii tree in the Congo. It was chosen for its tight grain to represent Anoka Tech’s closeness to the community as well as its broad canapé to signify the shade upon the mind as it dreams.
The light-colored wood is maple and was chosen for its gentle nature and lightness to symbolize the brightness in a student’s eyes the moment fresh knowledge is attained.
The primary metal for the head of the mace is bronze. Often referred to as the “metal of the ages,” bronze remains the metal of choice for memorialization.
It was selected for its antiquity to commemorate and honor the college’s history and its membership in the MnSCU system.
The base of the mace contains a spiral with seven spaces to represent the seven values on which the college stands.
The body of the mace contains aluminum rings inscribed with the names of the college’s current and past presidents.
Finally, the head of the mace consists of the laurel leaf wreath, an emblem of prosperity and a symbol of victory, the MnSCU logo and the Anoka Tech logo.
“I am so thrilled that Anoka Technical College participated in this timeless and significant tradition,” said Dr. Jessica Stumpf, interim president of Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
“We know how important commencement is to our students. The addition of the mace to the ceremony added to the importance and significance of our commitment to scholarship and integrity for our graduates.
“I am so proud and thankful for the remarkable work that our machining faculty — Jesse Oldenburg, Jerry Showalter and Jim Peterson — dedicated to instituting this tradition at Anoka Tech.
“By designing and creating the college’s very distinctive mace, they have instilled even greater significance in its use.”
Oldenburg is currently working on a glass case to display the mace, which will stored in the vice president for academic and student affairs office when not in use.