Symbols of the Office of the President

The Owen Morgan Mace stands for the president's new executive power.  It was presented to Trinity in 1950 in memory of Owen Morgan, Class of 1906, who served his Alma Mater as a member of the Board of Fellows, as a Trustee, and as a treasurer of the College. Historically, maces were first used as weapons in warfare and later became a symbol of the sovereign and his power. One of the first known uses of a mace by an educational institution was at Cambridge University in the 13th century.  Today, a number of colleges use the mace as a symbol of authority and of the power vested in the president by the faculty and trustees. The mace precedes the president in academic processions.  The Morgan Mace is made of ebony, signifying endurance; bronze, meaning power; and gold, symbolizing dignity and glory. It is 44 inches long and weighs 20 pounds. On the head, or urn, of the mace are six seals representing the key institutions that form the College's environment: the Great Seal of the United States; the Seal of the State of Connecticut; the Charter Oak; the original seal of the City of Hartford; the Washington Coat of Arms; and the seal of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. Surmounting the Gothic urn is the Trinity College seal, crowned by an eagle about to take flight, symbolizing the freedom and power of an educated person.

The Book, which has been placed in the hands of every Trinity graduate at Commencement, signifies the delegation of responsibility to the president for maintaining the educational activities for which Trinity was founded. By chance, the Book became one of the College's oldest traditions. As it is now related, at the College's first commencement, President Thomas Church Brownell had intended to have each student touch the Bible as he received his degree. But when the moment arrived, President Brownell realized that he had brought only the bound volume of the order of exercises. He therefore had each student touch that book, which thereafter has been placed in the hands of every graduate since 1827.

The Key, which symbolizes the turning over of the physical properties of the College to the president, is made of bronze and is one of the keys that turned the original huge lock in the door of Williams Memorial, the current administration building.

The Presidential Collar, which is worn on ceremonial occasions, is the visible symbol of the president's high office and authority.  The collar was presented to the College in 1953 by former president G. Keith Funston, Class of 1932, in memory of his grandmother, Maria Briggs Keith.  The chain symbolically links modern higher education with the universities of yesteryear.  The golden seal of the Trinity President hangs from the collar, which is fashioned of 20 replicas of the Trinity Elms and seven silver seals, including the six reproduced in the Mace, and the Trinity College seal superimposed on a triangle representing the religious foundations of the College, crowned by a sun that signifies enlightenment. In the lower corners of the triangles are the Book and a pair of student's hands extended to  receive it, symbolizing the desire of youth to receive an education.