Ceremonial symbols

Ceremonial mace and presidential chain

The mace and presidential chain of office symbolize Iowa State's rich history and traditions.

Sculptor Jeanne Stevens-Sollman of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, designed and crafted the mace and presidential chain of office used in Iowa State University's formal academic ceremonies. The complementary pair of bronze and silver ceremonial items are on display in the Alumni Center as part of University Museums' Art on Campus collection.

The mace symbolizes the authority of the university president. The chief faculty marshal carries it at the head of the academic procession and, by placing it on its stand, signals the beginning of the ceremony. The presidential chain of office symbolizes the rich history and traditions of Iowa State University.

Created in bronze, silver and tiger maple, Iowa State University's mace is an interpretation of the campanile. The bronze headpiece features two campus landmarks -- the campanile and Christian Petersen's Fountain of the Four Seasons -- and a silver presidential seal inscribed with "Iowa State University -- Science With Practice." The tiger maple staff bears bronze plaques inscribed with the names of all previous Iowa State presidents and their years of service. The mace is 60 inches long and weighs 14 pounds.

The presidential chain of office features an image of the campanile on the front. On the back is a representation of Beardshear Hall, home to the president's office. The columns of Beardshear form the shoulder epaulets, inscribed with "leadership" and "service." The campanile-inspired links in the presidential collar contain the words "engagement," "learning," "discovery" and "access." The reverse sides of the bronze sections feature low bas reliefs of corn.

The mace and first presidential chain of office ("Monile Praesidis Maxiumus"), was commissioned by University Museums and the ISU Alumni Association in 2008. The second presidential chain ("Monile Praesidis Secundum"), a proportionally smaller version commissioned by University Museums in 2018, was supported by an anonymous donor and Carole and Roger Custer.

Academic regalia

Academic costumes date back to medieval times, when scholars worked in unheated buildings.

Academic regalia

The cardinal-colored gabardine fabric features black velvet panels and chevrons edged with gold cording. Iowa State's beloved campanile adorns the two front velvet panels. An eight-sided black velvet tam with a gold silk tassel completes the official regalia.

Over the centuries, an array of caps, gowns and hoods emerged in Great Britain and the United States. American institutions recognized the need for a standard code, and the majority of academic costumes worn now are in accordance with the general provisions of the Intercollegiate Code of 1895.