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UCO Inauguration Preparations Reunite Academic Mace and Designer After Nearly 40 Years

Hall Duncan, Ph.D.

March 27, 2012

Media Contact:  Tiffany Wilson, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-2121,


“Oh boy, I didn’t remember it being so heavy,” Hall Duncan said as he sat down to be photographed with the University of Central Oklahoma’s inaugural mace.

He hadn’t seen this symbol of Central’s academic heritage in 37 years, but Duncan, 88, examined the 34-inch, 9.65-pound mace with affection and familiarity – a sense of recognition only its designer would have.

Duncan’s reunion with his opus stems from an invitation to carry the mace and lead the procession during the inauguration investiture ceremony for Don Betz, Ph.D., as the University of Central Oklahoma’s 20th president, scheduled for 2 p.m. April 20 in Central’s Hamilton Field House.

But it was another inauguration that led to Duncan’s design of the mace.

In 1975, Duncan was beginning another spring semester at Central as a professor of cartooning and advertising design. It was the year of the inauguration of the university’s 17th president, Bill Lillard, Ph.D.

When the planning committee commissioned a mace for Lillard’s inauguration, they called Duncan.

“In the late 1940s, while studying in Scotland, Dublin and Brussels, I became familiar with maces,” Duncan said.

“I was honored to design the mace, and I set out to create a dignified, heritage-filled symbol.”

Maces were originally used in medieval Europe as a spiked club for smashing armor. In processionals, the macebearer protected the leader of a kingdom, cathedral or university.

In modern collegiate ceremonies, the mace is a decorative symbol of authority, carried during the processional by an institution’s most senior faculty member.

The Central mace is made of walnut and maple woods with bronze bands encircling a carving of Old North Tower, the first building constructed on campus in 1892.

“The bronze bands are curved around Old North as a symbol of freedom of thought,” Duncan said.

“It’s one of the greatest elements of education – encouraging people to use their minds for the very best.”

Duncan added that his design represents the winds of change, with fresh thought streaming in.

The bronze bands converge into a small crown at the top of the mace, which symbolizes the collaboration of the arts and sciences.

At the center sits a medallion containing Central’s coat of arms. Among its symbols are the laurel wreath of honor, the lamp of wisdom and the keys to knowledge. The words “Ubi Motus Est,” which translate to “Where Movement Is,” are inscribed at the bottom of the coat of arms.

One facet of the design is particularly representative of Central’s newest president, Duncan said.

“Two silver bands, one at the top and one below, suggest that we are encompassing the world and working globally,” Duncan said.

“If you spend a short time with President Betz, you pick up on his international values immediately.”

Duncan, now retired from Central, is excited for the university’s future under Betz’s leadership, and is proud that the values reflected in the design he created decades ago are still relevant to the growth and advancement of Oklahoma’s metropolitan university.   

“President Betz has created a new day for UCO, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

The university will celebrate the inauguration of President Betz with a week of activities April 16-20 reflecting Central’s six tenets of transformative learning - Discipline Knowledge, Leadership, Problem Solving (Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities), Service Learning and Civic Engagement, Global and Cultural Competencies, and Health and Wellness.

For more information about President Betz’s inauguration, visit


Editor's Note: Download art for publication with this release at

Cutline: Hall Duncan, Ph.D., holds the mace he will carry as he leads the procession at the inauguration of the University of Central Oklahoma’s 20th president, Don Betz, Ph.D. on April 20. Duncan designed the mace in 1975 for the inauguration of retired Central president Bill Lillard.