Last Look

Joining the clubs

Meet Yale’s ceremonial maces.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Yale University takes its ceremonial maces very seriously—seriously enough that the custom-built rack that holds them is attached, every year, to the front of the commencement stage for graduation day. The marshals entrusted with carrying the 40-some maces into Old Campus during the processional place their maces in the rack for the ceremony—as the School of Management faculty marshal, Professor Nicholas Barberis, is doing here—and take them back out again for the recessional. Other maces visible in the rack are the drama school’s (center), with a large red head that smiles on one side and weeps on the other; and the music school’s (foreground), whose walnut cylinder is topped with ermine. Barberis says serving as faculty marshal this year enhanced his popularity, since people kept crowding around to have their picture taken with him. But “soon I realized it was more about the mace than me.”

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