Chief among the elements of Convocation is the ceremonial mace. Historically, the mace symbolizes rank and was used to protect people of authority. The ceremonial mace is now a symbol of the university itself. It is carried by the Registrar who leads the academic procession and recession.
Thompson Rivers University’s mace was conceptualized and carved by Kamloops born Daniel Tom, a member of Seton Lake Band,which is part of the St’at’imc Nation, one of the Interior Salish Nations.
The mace symbolizes Kamloops, the traditional meeting place of the First Nations people. To represent TRU as a meeting place for sharing cultural and academic pursuits, Daniel Tom incorporated two pieces of spruce from the Kamloops area. One piece is used for the mace, the other is the base attached to BC soapstone in the shape of spawning salmon, and together the three pieces meet, embodying the characteristics of an abstract wolf. The wolf — symbolic of TRU and local First Nations — is an animal associated with communication and a teacher of new ideas. The mace head, made from copper, represents the sun and moon, and is adorned with four animals representative of the medicine wheel associated with seasons, directions, colours and life experiences.
Positioned in the north is a white buffalo carved from translucent alabaster, representing family and indicating the direction cold winter winds come from and the spiritual state. A green fieldmouse carved from jade sits in the south symbolizing the direction of the warm summer winds, the physical state and the future. In the east is an eagle cast in 18k gold, representing the cool autumn wind direction, the emotional state and the present. A black bear carved from black chlorite sits in the west and is indicative of spring, the mental state and the past.
To show our connection to the environment, the mace is fashioned with only natural materials and colours. Other animal motifs also carved into the mace are the patient and wise great blue heron, which is significant to the Seton Lake Band. The salmon is prevalent as an Interior of British Columbia theme of prosperity and sustenance. A frog shape leaps over the heron’s head towards the water and is typical of transformation. Other forms that emerge from the wood grain are coyote, bald eagle, grizzly bear, and fish.