Symbols of Office
One of the more important symbols of presidential authority, the official seal of Willamette University was adopted in August of 1860. University agent Alvin F. Waller, for whom Waller Hall was named, “…returned from the States with a Seal, Seal Press copperplate engraving of Certificate of Scholarship together with 100 impressions taken there from on parchment paper,” according to the Board of Trustees’ meeting minutes of that year. The Board accepted the seal, which depicts the beaver, the university name and location, founding date and the Latin motto “Non Nobis Solum Nati Sumus,” or, “Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born.”
The medallion, or the chain of office, is one of the oldest symbols of authority. Willamette University’s president’s medallion is a silver, hand-crafted three-dimensional, high-relief sculpture of the university seal. The original myrtle-wood medallion was entirely handcrafter by Paul E. Buckner, associate professor of art at the University of Oregon, a noted sculptor of wood, stone and bronze. The medallion measures four inches in diameter. It is worn by the President as part of his presidential regalia at commencement and other official academic ceremonies.
Based on information in Willamette University’s May 17, 1970, Inauguration Program
Academic maces are modeled after ancient war clubs carried in medieval times by the bodyguards of civil officers. An academic mace symbolizes the authority invested in the president by the institution’s board of trustees. The mace is used when the leadership of the institution is present for formal academic ceremonies such as commencements, presidential inaugurations and convocations. Willamette University’s mace is made of black walnut, with the university seal embossed in architectural bronze on both sides of its head.
Presidential regalia are unique among academic vestments in that they symbolize the president's rank and authority as the chief official of the institution rather than reflecting an individual's academic credentials. University presidents wear their distinctive regalia when participating in official university ceremonies and convocations. There are four velvet bars known as "chevrons" on the sleeves of presidential regalia whereas standard doctor's robes feature only three.
The Willamette University presidential regalia were designed and sewn this winter by Oak Hall Cap and Gown in Salem, Virginia in preparation for today’s installation ceremony. The body of the hand-crafted gown is made of custom-dyed fabric, matching closely the cardinal color that is symbolic of Willamette University. The Willamette seal has been embroidered on the face of the gown, symbolizing Willamette’s mission and historic connections to the region. The hood is constructed of rayon velvet, silk satin and faille, as well as twisted braid. The tam is made of rayon velvet with a gold bullion tassel and twisted braid. The regalia’s rich cardinal color gives it a distinctive and regal appearance, enhanced by formal highlights and chevrons of black velvet with gold trim, and sculptured, tapered sleeves lined with gold.