Faculty Marshal and Associate Professor of Communications Kate Hastings, Ph.D., describes Susquehanna University's mace and President's Seal of Office.
As faculty marshal, Associate Professor of Communications Kate Hastings has a long list of responsibilities starting before convocation in August and ending after commencement in May.
Many are very visible tasks, like leading commencement rehearsal and handing President L. Jay Lemons the diplomas as the graduates walk across the stage.
But there’s a lot to the job of faculty marshal that people don’t see, such as labeling rows of chairs and making sure water glasses on stage are filled at commencement.
The duties of the marshal, who is helped by team of assistant marshals, fill three single-spaced pages.
The position, which dates back to the 1960s, is symbolic of the faculty’s involvement in shaping students’ lives.
One of the marshal’s most evident charges is the mace, an ornamental staff that is banged at convocation and commencement to signal the start and end of the academic year. It was gift of the Class of 1963, which also gave a seal and ornamental chain called the President’s Seal of Office for the university president to wear at commencement.
The silver top of the mace is adorned with the Pennsylvania seal, an engraving of Selinsgrove hall, an emblem of an itinerant preacher on horseback, Martin Luther’s coat of arms, and 32 stars representing the number of states in the union when Susquehanna was founded in 1858.
It also is embellished with the university seal, identical to the one worn on the President’s Seal of Office.
Professor of Biology Howard E. DeMott was the first to carry the mace in 1966.
More recently, Professor of Chemistry Neil H. Potter served as faculty marshal for 25 years before his death in 2002. The post then went to Associate Professor of Accounting Jerry Habegger for several years before Hastings took over in 2005. She is the first woman to have served in the post.