The Mace

UMN Crookston Mace

The Mace is used for all University of Minnesota commencements. The word “mace” is from Middle English and was originally used to refer to the implement for breaking armor during the Middle Ages. Today its use is more peaceful, for it now is a staff borne by, carried before, or placed near a dignitary as an insignia of his dignity and authority. First designed in 1961 for the inauguration of O. Meredith Wilson, the original mace is made of aluminum and topped by a crystal ball, which symbolizes the illuminating quality and the clarity of thinking that characterizes education. The crystal ball is topped by a star representing Minnesota, the North Star State. The staff is carried by the most senior professor of the college.

The Regents' Medallion

Regent's Medallion

The five-foot Regents' Medallion is displayed at commencements and other official events of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. On the face of the medallion, silk screened in the University's colors of maroon and gold, is the seal of the regents. An antique lamp represents the metaphysical sciences; a telescope, the physical sciences; a plow, the industrial arts; and a palette with brushes, the fine arts. The Latin motto, Omnibus artibus commune vinculum, means “a common bond for all the arts.”

The Torch

Original Torch

A tradition unique to the UMN Crookston is the presence of a torch at special ceremonies. The symbolic light of the academic torch—the light of knowledge that permits understanding—represents the educational philosophy of the University of Minnesota.

There are actually three different torches that play a role in the history of the campus. The first is the original torch created by the final graduating class of the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) and passed to the first graduating class of the Technical Institute in 1968. That torch is on display in the Alumni Room in Kiehle Building.

In 2002, regional artist David Badman designed and handcrafted a new academic torch as a gift to the campus in recognition of its new academic mission as a baccalaureate university. That torch has been present at all commencement ceremonies and other special campus events since that time.

New Torch by Lew Hanson

In 2009, Lew Hanson, an employee of the University, and DeBoer Industries of Crookston created a new torch, called the Century Torch, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of graduation ceremonies on the Crookston campus. Inscribed on the handle of this torch are the five core values of the UMN Crookston: Integrity, Excellence, Diversity, Innovation, and Learner Centeredness.

During the commencement ceremony, the Century Torch is passed to the incoming president of the Crookston Student Association (CSA), maintaining the tradition that began in 1968 and acknowledging the history of the campus from its roots in the NWSA to the present.