Editor’s Note: The following is from the Commencement program.
Toccoa Falls College is taking the opportunity during the Centennial year to introduce a new tradition that will be used in all formal processions of the faculty. Leading the processional is Faculty Marshal, Julio Vena, who carries the official Toccoa Falls College Mace. Steeped in symbolism and ceremony, the use of a mace dates back centuries to traditions in the parliament of the British Commonwealth. Over time the mace has become a symbol of respect for governing institutions and today symbolizes Toccoa Falls Collegeâ€™s authority to grant degrees.
Today [May 19, 2007] is the first time the Toccoa Falls College Mace is used to lead an academic procession at graduation. Designed by Registrar Kelly G. Vickers (â€™79) and crafted by Master Carpenter Merlin L. Schenck, the Toccoa Falls College Mace features material and design that carry great symbolic meaning of key institutional images representing our distinguished history and core values.
The material is Oak from a campus tree, recalling Isaiah 61:3, â€œ. . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor,â€â€”the verse God gave to Dr. Forrest in our first major challenge of faith. Recalling I Peter 3:2-4, the entire mace is crafted from oak with no other adornment of gold, silver, or jewels, emphasizing servant leadership, humility and the intrinsic value of our message over institutional aggrandizement. The beauty of the images and its natural simplicity also recall Matthew 7:28-29.
The four sides of the mace are graced with images of Toccoa Falls, symbolizing the beauty of our campus and the place faculty, staff, students and administration have gone for solitude and to discern the Lordâ€™s voice for comfort and direction; The Tree of Godâ€™s Planting; the Institutional Seal and Date of Founding; The Lamp of Knowledge and the Open Bible, recalling Psalm 119:130, â€œThe entrance of your words gives light, it gives understanding. . . ,â€ below which are the supporting words from our motto: CHARACTER and INTELLECT; and the Torch from the school seal, symbolizing our original mission of carrying the light of the gospel to the world.
The mace is capped with the Globe symbolizing both our mission of impacting the world and advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the idea that the sun never sets on the graduates of Toccoa Falls College. The Crosses forming the foundation at the four corners of the Globe support and safeguard our mission and message to the world.
The Toccoa Falls College Mace
Faculty Marshal, Julio Vena, holding the Mace