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Burrell College Reveals Ceremonial Mace

Designed by woodworker Tom Boley, Burrell College’s ceremonial mace was completed in 2020 in honor of the graduation of the inaugural class of medical students. Future Commencement Ceremonies will begin with the entrance of the College mace, which will be carried by a platform-party dignitary. A description of the College mace and the symbolism behind its features can be found below. Scroll down to view a gallery of images of the mace.

Mace History & Meaning

By Tom Boley

The academic mace is part of a tradition which finds its origin in the ancient battle mace. You might say the battle mace was a symbol of authority. A swagger stick carried by a military general officer and a scepter wielded by royalty are similar symbols of authority. Thus is the academic mace as a symbol of the authority of the college to confer a degree.

Burrell College Mace Description and Symbolism

A description of our academic mace starts with that small ball at the very bottom representing the kernel of the idea from which the Burrell College has grown. The shaft of the mace represents the student body, but the very bottom of the shaft has four rings embracing new students entering the College’s culture which fosters the four elements of life-long learning, compassion, respect, and excellence.

Continuing up the shaft of the mace, there are four separate rings, the first representing first year students studying basic biomedical science with clinical correlates.  The second of those rings represents second year students as they expand their education into the pathophysiologic and pharmacologic aspects of biomedical sciences and learning through a foundational education in clinical medicine and disease. The next two rings represent third and fourth year students as they incorporate classroom and laboratory education into patient care as well as determining and refining their ability to be compassionate and understanding osteopathic physicians. Of special note are the rings themselves, crafted by a Native American jeweler of silver and turquoise, emblematic of New Mexico and incorporated into this wood mace of pecan.

The three rings together at the top of the shaft represent the mission of the Burrell College in that students will learn how to improve peoples’ health in the Southwest United States and Northern Mexico through culturally humble undergraduate, graduate, and continuing osteopathic education, research, and clinical service to the community. The two larger rings between the shaft and the round crown of the mace represent the vision of the Burrell College which is to be recognized for significantly impacting the physician workforce needs of the Southwest and access to quality medical services as well as to be a leader in increasing workforce diversity, particularly with Native American and Hispanic populations.

The “crown” of the mace represents the faculty and staff of the College and displays a silver medallion on one side with the symbol of the College and another silver medallion on the other side with the Zia symbol, a widely recognized symbol of New Mexico, used with permission of the Zia Pueblo.

The finial at the top of the mace points to the future, the future of the Burrell College, the future of each student, faculty, and staff member, and the future of the people of New Mexico and the Southwest United States as it is improved and enhanced through the presence of our college.

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