Southern High School Staff and Students Produce New Mace for Garrett College

Garrett College needed a mace makeover, but not at the five-figure price common for commercially produced maces.  That’s where Southern High School’s staff and students stepped in to provide a needed helping hand.

“Nearly all American colleges and universities have a mace, used almost exclusively at commencement and usually borne by the faculty marshal,” said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president.  “It’s an important academic symbol.  Frankly, I couldn’t justify what it would cost to commission a commercially produced mace.  Fortunately, Faculty Senate Chair Christa Bowser had a connection.”

Bowser’s connection was her husband, Loren Bowser, who is the Building Trades instructor at Southern Garrett High School. With the assistance of the students enrolled in the Manufacturing and Engineering, Building Trades and Principles of Engineering classes, Loren Bowser supervised creation of a new Garrett mace that was publicly unveiled at last month’s 45th commencement exercises. “It was great to have this opportunity to help further our students’ educational experiences,” Loren Bowser stated.

Loren explained that they ordered specialized steamed walnut wood from out west for the mace since it was a better quality of wood. Fellow Southern High faculty members Dowain Ford and Jared Roth also contributed time and expertise to the project, which Professor Bowser coordinated from the college’s end. Ford digitally designed and created a CAD drawing of the new mace. Roth and his Manufacturing and Engineering classes formed the aluminum knob for the bottom of the mace. Collectively, these classes represent the Career and Technology Education (CTE) Department at Southern High School. 

“Southern’s staff and students put in an estimated 100 hours of labor on the mace, which I certainly think qualifies as a labor of love,” said Dr. Midcap, who also thanked Jesse’s Signs & Designs DBA for designing and finishing the medallion that rests on the top of the mace.  “This is just one more example of the close working relationship and mutual respect between Garrett College, Garrett County Public Schools, and the Garrett County community.” The Bowsers and Ford presented the mace at Garrett College’s Board of Trustees meeting last month.

Pictured above, left to right are: Christa Bowser, Associate Professor of Biology at Garrett College; Vianne Bell, Garrett College Board of Trustees Chair; Loren Bowser, Building Trades Instructor at Southern Garrett High School, and Dowain Ford, Principles of Engineering Instructor at Southern Garrett High School.
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