A negative was turned into an amazing positive when the local St. Joseph Woodworkers Guild agreed to create a new ceremonial mace for Missouri Western this spring.
The original mace, which was carried in and placed on the stage at Commencement ceremonies, was stolen in May 2018. When University personnel tried to find a replacement, they realized that very few companies made them, so Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president, asked Dave Takes, owner of Expressions Engraved, if he knew of any companies.
But Takes had a better idea. He asked the St. Joseph Woodworkers Guild if they would create a new one for the University, and they were more than happy to help.
“We always like to help people out, and do different things that challenge us,” said Ed Roberts, president of the guild. “It was something we had never done before.”
“It’s really exciting. When they said they wanted a mace, I was all over it. It was something I wanted to do,” guild member John Cox said.
The guild designed the new mace, and Roberts and Cox spent many hours on the project with Ken Gerber ’65, Ralph Alvarez ’71 and Richard Tolbert. The mace, made with local walnut, is approximately 3′ tall and is decorated with brass and ebony rings. Four gold medallions, provided by Takes, are on each side at the top.
“It’s just beautiful,” Takes said. “It’s a piece of furniture and a piece of art. It’s well built and it’s something that’s going to be a part of the University for many, many years.”
When guild members saw the stand for the original mace, they decided they wanted to replace it with on customized for the new mace. The new one, made with walnut and spalted hackberry, is decorated with brass strips and a medallion.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the guild was willing to create a new mace for Missouri Western. The Guild, with more than 450 members, has served the community for more than 22 years by crafting beautiful items that they donate to Toys for Tots, Camp Quality, the AFL CIO and the Noyes Home for Children.
The new mace was used for the first time at the spring Commencement ceremony.