Symbols of Office
The Presidential Seal, Medallion and Chain of Office
The presidential medallion is three inches in diameter, crafted with antique silver and blue enamel, and reveals the presidential seal. The presidential medallion anchors the chain of office. Chains of office, also known as collars, were badges of office in the middle ages.
Today, they are metal necklaces, permanent parts of an institution’s president’s academic regalia, and are worn at formal ceremonial events. The EVMS chain of office, commissioned in 2013, depicts the former presidents and their terms of office at EVMS.
The presidential seal is one of an academic institution’s most important symbols of office, the legal mark of the school’s governing body. The seal is used to authenticate official documents such as diplomas and other legal records.
The EVMS presidential seal, a symbol of Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and the Eastern Virginia Medical Authority (EVMA), depicts triple interlocking strands representing the essential relationships needed for an excellent regional academic health network. Patient care, learning, and scholarly endeavor, organized in a coherent regional health-care and educational system, reflect the talents and resources needed to provide quality services.
The intertwined loops also represent the several communities of Eastern Virginia which, working together, can achieve a degree of health care that none of them alone can attain. Finally, the symbol emphasizes the essential need for collaborative efforts among healthcare professionals and institutions – hospitals, colleges, universities, the medical school and the medical authority – if quality health care is to be fully achieved in Eastern Virginia. It is to this end, then, that the EVMS and the EVMA are dedicated.
The EVMS presidential seal is also depicted on the mace, the baton and the diplomas.
Academic maces, ornamental staffs, are descended from war clubs carried in medieval times by the body guards of civil officers. The mace is one of the oldest traditions in academia dating back to the early 1400s when it transitioned from warfare to ceremonial use. An academic mace symbolizes the authority invested in the president by the school’s governing body. Because the mace is a symbol of the presidential authority as a school’s legal representative with the right to govern, it is carried in procession immediately before the president. When the mace is present, the authority of the institution is present.
At EVMS, the mace was commissioned in 2013 and is carried by the Rector of the Board of Visitors. It is 54 inches tall, lathed from cherry and depicts an antique silver presidential seal and the EVMS logo. The head is topped with an antique silver flame.
Small wooden staffs are carried in academic processions by marshals, the academic term for ushers. Also known by the old English term “beadles,” marshals march with their batons at the head of the degree candidates or faculty from each school, leading the way in the academic procession. Historically, beadles were minor church officials who served as ushers and kept order during services. Their batons were actually miniature war clubs.
The EVMS baton, commissioned in 2013, is carried by the Chief Marshal. It is 20 inches tall, lathed from cherry, depicts the presidential seal and is a replica of the mace.