(also known as the College Mace)
The traditions of having a mace carried by the first person in an academic procession dates from the earliest days of the cathedral schools of Bologna, Paris, and Oxford. In those medieval times, liturgical processions were led by a verger, who carried a long wand called a verge to clear a path through the throngs gathered inside the cathedral so that the procession could make its way to the high altar and the bishop’s sedile. The mace traditionally carried by the chief faculty marshal in modern day academic processions originated in the verger’s wand in medieval times.
The mace used in formal academic processions at Kalamazoo College has a unique history. For Christmas of 1859, the College’s students presented a gold-tipped walking stick to the institution’s first president, Dr. James Andrus Blinn Stone. Dr. Stone’s great-grandson, Webster J. Jones, presented the walking stick to the College in 1986. It has become a tradition at Kalamazoo College for the Stone Walking Stick to be carried by the chief faculty marshal who precedes the president of the College in academic processions, a formal reminder of the forward thinking, courage, scholarship, and community involvement that have characterized the College since its founding. By following Dr. Stone’s Walking Stick, the president and faculty symbolically walk in the paths of those who have come before.