Passing the mace

by Colleen Kawahara,

  • Faculty marshal

Professor Don Negri takes over faculty marshal duties from emeritus professor Grant Thorsett.

The passing of the torch for this year’s Olympics ended with much fanfare last Friday with the start of the summer games, but at Willamette, the passing of the academic mace took place in a much quieter fashion.

Professor emeritus Grant Thorsett carried the mace for the final time as faculty marshal during the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) commencement ceremony in May and has passed it on to economics professor Don Negri, who was appointed to the role by President Steve Thorsett.

Former President Lee Pelton appointed Grant to the role over 15 years ago.  “I was proud to be faculty marshal for so many years and will undoubtedly miss it. But after 15 years, it’s time for someone else to have the opportunity to do this wonderful job where you get to work with faculty and staff, meet interesting speakers and sit and talk with students on one of the most important days of their lives,” said Thorsett.

“I am honored to lead a procession of my distinguished colleagues," said Negri. "I know I have big shoes (and white gloves) to fill but am looking forward to it and will do my best to maintain the honor and dignity associated with this esteemed role."

Faculty marshals lead the platform party during academic events such as commencements and convocations and provides information to the faculty about their role in these events. In addition, the faculty marshal assists with the flow of students at the CLA commencement and periodically reviews academic ceremony traditions and protocols in collaboration with the Office of the President.

Negri’s first official appearance as faculty marshal will happen during the Opening Convocation on Friday, August 26.