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University Symbols

The University Chain of Office and Medal

The University Chain of Office and Medal

In the Fall of 2002, a new symbol was introduced to recognize the great responsibilities of the Office of the President and the continuity of that position, as one president passes the chain and medal on to the next.

The links of the chain are engraved with the names of the 16 presidents of Penn State, with the current president's name on the link directly above the medal. On the medal itself is a likeness of the official University seal, the centerpiece of which is the office seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, symbolic of Penn State's three-fold mission of teaching, research and public service.

The presidential medal was made possible with private funds. It will be worn at commencement and other times when academic regalia is appropriate. The concept of the university medallion began prior to the Middle Ages as a symbol of authority and to signify the transition of that authority as it is passed from one leader to another.

The University Mace

The University Mace

The University Mace is a baton-like piece of wood carried at the head of the academic procession and recession during commencement ceremonies. Carried by a faculty member, it symbolizes the academic authority of the University and is a common symbol among academic institutions.

The large mace used at the University Park campus was carved from the newel post of the first Old Main building. The smaller maces used at University Park were formed from the balusters of the roof of University House, the former President’s residence on campus.