The Alma College Mace
The Alma College Mace is a six-foot piece of black walnut bearing carved symbols of Alma’s history, traditions and relationships. It has been carried at the head of campus processions since 1968 when it was carved by Robert Hellem of Manistee, based on a design by Kent B. Kirby, Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Art and Design.
At the top of the mace, surrounding a Tau cross, is a mandorlaa medieval symbol of the universe in which Christ was often shown. Doves carved on the four facets of the mandorla symbolize peace. A pomegranate motif, similar to that of Solomon’s Temple, is on each side of the cross, symbolically linking the Old and New Testaments.
Below the mandorla and cross in a circular field are carved figures representing the seven original liberal arts. The figures are set in archways separated by columns, which symbolize the tradition of education.
Further down the shaft is a pentagon, on the faces of which are the seals of five bodies politicAlma College, the Presbyterian Church, the State of Michigan, the United States of America and the United Nations.
A shield motif carved on the lower portion of the shaft is symbolic of Alma’s Scottish tradition, which originates in the College’s ties with the Presbyterian Church.
The Presidential Medallion
The Alma College Presidential Medallion, symbolizing the authority of the presidency, was presented to the College in 1980 by President Emeritus Robert D. Swanson and his wife Dorothy. Bronze links of the chain, which are mounted on a ribbon of white velvet, are engraved with the names and dates of Alma’s presidents. Suspended from the chain is a three-inch medallion featuring the College seal.