From the Vault: Metalsmith and Professor Phillip Fike and the Wayne State Academic Mace

In anticipation of the upcoming Wayne State University graduation ceremonies, University Art Curator Grace Serra and University Archivist Alison Stankrauff share the history of the university’s academic mace, a ceremonial and symbolic object carried during commencement exercises and other important events. The first mace, commissioned in the 1950s, has been lost to the ages. A second mace was created specifically for the university’s 1968 centennial. The third mace, currently in use, was crafted in 1984 by famed metalsmith and Wayne State professor Phillip Fike using ebony wood, bronze, and steel. As Serra and Stankrauff discovered during a visit to the Reuther Library’s vault, what the centennial mace lacks in artistry, symbolism, and gravitas when compared to the Fike mace, it makes up for in being easy to carry.

More Information
Blog: The Wayne State University Mace
Image: Phillip Fike Academic Mace
Image: Centennial Academic Mace
Image: Centennial Academic Mace

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Grace Serra and Alison Stankrauff
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink