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Alvernia University receives new ceremonial mace

Date: 5/18/2009

Steeped in rich symbolism, the Alvernia mace leads the way for every graduation ceremony at Alvernia, carried in procession by the President of the Alvernia University Faculty Council. It is mounted in front of the stage, and removed only once the ceremony is complete. And this year, the traditional mace of Alvernia College has been replaced by a new Alvernia University mace.

The placement and removal of Alvernia’s academic mace from the designated place of honor symbolizes the opening and the closing of ceremonial sessions, and holds special meaning for the faculty. So it is fitting that the new mace was designed and given as a gift by faculty to Alvernia University on May 15, 2009 in recognition of the granting of Alvernia College’s new status as Alvernia University, and in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the institution.

The mace and its base are constructed of Pennsylvania cherry. The wood was harvested 30 years prior to the construction of the mace itself, by Wood Turner, Rod Emrick of Bangor, Pa., from a tree that had fallen on church grounds in Bethlehem, Pa. Emrich had saved the cherry wood, for “something special” not knowing at the time that something special would be the Alvernia University mace.

The shape of the staff (narrow at the bottom and wide at the top) signifies the growth of Alvernia University from its founding to the present institution that is now Alvernia University.

The three turns at the base of medallion frame symbolize the motto of Alvernia University: To Learn, To Love, To Serve.

The mace made its debut at Alvernia’s spring commencement ceremony, May 16, 2009 at the Reading Eagle Theatre in the Sovereign Center.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.