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Archival moment - The Nipissing University Mace

The design of Nipissing University’s mace is a complex mixture of artistry and power. Its presence represents the authority vested in the University to grant degrees, yet its design signifies more than the right to certify students as knowledgeable. It incorporates all the effort, history and tradition that surround both the site of and the vision for the University.

Designed after Nipissing received its degree-granting charter on December 10, 1992, the mace masterfully pulls together the many symbolic elements important to its identity: the University’s crest, the Athenian owl pictured on the crest, the Nipissing University logo, Nipissing’s motto “Integritas” and the traditions of the Ojibwa people who have been keepers of the land on which the University stands.

The Nipissing University mace is an expression of growth and transformation within a context of harmony and equanimity with the world in which we dwell, specifically, the Nipissing landscape. From the wisdom of the Anishinabek people, the mace draws the symbolism of the four orders of creation – mineral, plant, animal and human (and the gifts of the Four Winds):

  • the mineral elements are represented by the local red granite, gold, silver, bronze, and polished stones that signify the four cardinal directions – red, yellow, white, and black;
  • the plant world is represented in the form of oak and maple leaves carved into the shaft of the mace;
  • the animal world finds its representation in the owl; and
  • the human element is represented by the hands that hold the mace and the hands that crafted it.

As well, in keeping with Native tradition, the mace joins Mother Earth and Father Sky as it journeys symbolically from the fragment of granite at its base through the trees to the golden sphere of the sun and the owl of the air.

Like the institution it represents, the mace is not static; it expresses growth, movement and perpetuity. Time is asserted through the four seasons and the transformation of the oak and maple from buds to leaves to fruit. The movement of the eagle feathers, the beads of the “medicine wheel”, and the owl, poised with an ambiguous relationship to flight, add to the dynamics.

The University itself is represented by the embossed silver and enameled emblem repeated to form a band, by the four coats of arms that support the crown, and by the embossed silver motto “Integritas.” The mace is designed to represent those attributes which make Nipissing distinct: Harmony – Growth – Perpetuity.
Nipissing University
100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON, Canada  P1B 8L7   Tel: 705.474.3450 | Fax: 705.474.1947 | TTY: 877.688.5507

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