The Mace, Part II

A couple of years ago I ran across some correspondence about the origins of the Rice ceremonial mace that is used at commencement and I posted about it here. For those of you who can’t be bothered to click on these old links, I don’t blame you–so here’s what’s important for my purposes today:

Mace letter Carl McDowell 1985

The mace was designed by Civil Engineering professor Jim Sims ’41, but I didn’t know anything about the man who actually made the thing, Raymond Martin. I was delighted a little while ago, then, when I stumbled across an image of Mr. Martin holding it at his desk. He looks to me like a man to be reckoned with as well as one who knew his way around a machine shop:

Ray Martin with mace nd TL chickenscratch 047

Even better, this morning my dear friend, the estimable Dr. Keith Cooper, ’78, ’82, ’83, was presented with a miniature copy of the mace, which he’s carried as Chief Marshal for ten years. This was an inspired gift, presented to him on the occasion of his last commencement in that role. Here he stands with Nathan Zuege of the Carpenter’s Shop who made it for him:


We all owe Keith an enormous debt and there are many things I love about this but I’m going to single out just this: in the letter above Carl McDowell notes that the owl atop the mace was cast using a Lalique owl as a model. The owl on top of the replica, on the other hand, came off a wine stopper:




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Mace, Part II

  1. joecwhite says:

    Bill Wilson, aka Dr. Bill, was the previous Chief Marshall. He graciously arranged for us to use the mace during a production of Ruddigore by the Rice Light Opera Society in 2006.

  2. loki_the_bubba says:

    Someday I’ll get a chance to mace someone.

  3. effegee says:

    But now the really important question: Are the marshal’s uniforms (see above and in the planning meeting photos in part of the official regalia? Or will the next marshal will have to get her/his own?

  4. Bill Peebles says:

    This was a wonderful report. Thank you.

Leave a Reply