The University Marshal is the University’s chief ceremonial officer, and is responsible for directing the formal aspects of important university events and representing the faculty at Convocation. The Marshal also oversees the appointment and work of the Assistant Marshals and the Student Marshals. The University Marshal is appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Secretary of the University, for a term of three years.
History of the Marshal at the University of Chicago
The role of the University Marshal was first established in 1896 when Joseph E. Raycroft, a lecturer in the University’s Department of Hygiene, was appointed as Marshal of the Congregation by President William Rainey Harper and the Congregation of the University. The Marshal has traditionally been a member of the faculty, assisted by other faculty members and an honor guard of students, now known as Student Marshals.
Vice Marshal and Assistant Marshals
The Vice Marshal leads the president’s party, while the Assistant Marshals lead the faculty party and candidates in the procession. This group is representative of the faculty body and administration, comprising individuals from the University’s various divisions and schools.
The University of Chicago Mace
Commissioned for the 500th Convocation in October 2009, the University Mace is made entirely of sterling silver and bears both the University Seal and the Coat of Arms, the Latin motto: Crescat scientia; vita excolatur, and the date of the University's incorporation in 1890. Handcrafted by Henry Powell Hopkins, III, a third-generation silversmith in Baltimore, Maryland, the mace is approximately four feet in length and is carried by the University Marshal at the annual University Convocation in June and other occasions of high ceremony.
The role of Student Marshal is one of the highest honors the University awards to undergraduate students. Student Marshals are third-year students appointed by the President of the University, based on their academic performance and their involvement in and contribution to the campus community. The selection committee includes the Dean of Students of the College and the University Marshal. In the early days of the University, the role of Student Marshal was only offered to male students. In 1904, President Harper approved the participation of female students, but with the title of “Student Aide.” Since the 1970s, the Student Marshal title has been gender-inclusive.