Convocation Traditions

Nipissing University Mace

Nipissing University’s mace is a complex mixture of artistry and power. Its presence depicts the authority vested in the university to grant degrees, yet its design signifies more than the right to certify students as knowledgeable; it incorporates all the effort, history and tradition that surround both the site of and the vision for the university.

Designed after Nipissing received its degree-granting charter on December 10, 1992, the mace masterfully pulls together the many symbolic elements important to its identity: the university’s crest, the Athenian owl pictured on the crest, the Nipissing University logo, Nipissing’s motto “Integritas” and the traditions of the Ojibwa people who have been keepers of the land on which the university stands.

The Nipissing University mace is an expression of growth and transformation within a context of harmony and equanimity with the world in which we dwell: specifically the Nipissing landscape. From the wisdom of the Anishinabek people, the mace draws the symbolism of the four orders of creation – mineral, plant, animal and human (and the gifts of the four winds):

  • the mineral elements are represented by the local red granite, gold, silver, bronze and polished stones signifying the four cardinal directions – red, yellow, white and black
  • the plant world is represented in the form of oak and maple leaves carved into the shaft of the mace the animal world finds its representation in the owl
  • the human element is represented by the hands that hold the mace and the hands that crafted it

As well, in keeping with Native tradition, the mace joins mother earth and father sky as it journeys symbolically from the fragment of granite at its base, through the trees to the golden sphere of the sun and the owl of the air.

Like the institution it represents, the mace is not static; it expresses growth, movement and perpetuity.  Time is asserted through the four seasons and the transformation of the oak and maple from buds, to leaves, to fruit.  The movement of the eagle feathers, the beads of the “medicine wheel” and the owl poised with an ambiguous relationship to flight add to the dynamics.The university itself is represented by the embossed silver and enameled emblem, repeated to form a band, by the four coats of arms that support the crown and by the embossed silver motto “Integritas”. The mace is designed to represent that which makes Nipissing University distinct:

  • Harmony
  • Growth
  • Perpetuity


Wilfrid Laurier University Mace

The mace of Wilfrid Laurier University was officially presented by the Euler family at the 1963 fall convocation in memory of The Honourable W.D. Euler, former senator of Canada and the first chancellor of the university.  It weighs 16 pounds and was manufactured by the firm of Henry Birks Limited, Montreal. The ferrule near the base of the shaft contains ivory from a walrus tusk obtained from Coral Harbour, Northwest Territories.  The ten-sided shaft, representing the ten provinces, merges into the head of the mace which bears the ten provincial crests. The wood used at the point where the shaft meets the head of the mace is elm taken from the bannister post of Conrad Hall, the original seminary building. Above this are four crests relating to the history of the institution: a crest of Waterloo County, the Luther Coat of Arms, the crest of the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and the coat of arms of the University of Western Ontario.

The head of the mace is made of maple and bears the Federal Coat of Arms, above which is the monogram of Queen Elizabeth II, during whose reign the university’s charter was granted.  On the reverse side is the crest of Wilfrid Laurier University and the monogram of King George V, during whose reign the original charter was granted.  The top of the mace is a crown, mounted with jewels, symbolizing the authority of the State

.  MACE J V.