The mace was originally a weapon of war used by armored warriors during the Middle Ages. Over the years, it evolved into an ornamental staff serving as a symbol of a ruler’s authority.
Colleges and universities embrace the mace as a symbol that signals an important event or tradition at their institutions. A grand marshal typically carries it in all formal academic processions, and frequently it is displayed at other events of educational and historical significance.
Herman Franklin, who at the time was the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s vice president for student affairs, designed the mace in 1978 - and is still used today.
Leon Copeland, chairman of the university’s Department of Technology, and his colleague, the late Harold Holloman, hand-crafted the mace when their academic unit was known as the Department of Industrial Education and Technology.
It debuted April 30, 1979 at the inauguration of John S. Toll as President of the University of Maryland System.
Linking the UMES' history with its future guided Franklin’s thinking in coming up with design, which took inspiration from a torch. The mace would symbolize the passing of the torch from 1886, the year the school was founded, to future generations.
At the staff’s base is a knob representing the early years (1886-1919), when the institution was most commonly referred to as Princess Anne Academy. Proceeding up the staff is an enlarged wooden ring, which encircles the staff and represents the period from 1919 to 1970, when the institution was known as the Eastern (Shore) Branch of the Maryland Agricultural College, then Princess Anne College and later Maryland State College.
Further up the staff is a second wooden ring, which represents the period beginning July 1, 1970, when the institution assumed its current name.
At the top of the staff is the orb, or head, of the mace. Inset and encircling the orb is a 1¼-inch polished brass band engraved with the names and years of service of each the institution’s chief executive officers who have served since its founding.
Mounted at the apex of the orb is a wooden disk. One side displays the Maryland flag. On the other side is the distinctive seal of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
-- as told by HERMAN FRANKLIN. Ph.D.