A mace of our own

This September’s graduates had a beautifully designed addition to their ceremonies – the new Oxford Brookes University mace.

It was designed by Zimbabwean Foundation Art and Design student, Rhys Herbst ‘17. As it was the green campuses that attracted Rhys to Oxford Brookes, it was appropriate that he used an oak tree as the basis for his design.

Rhys’s ambition is to be an architect and the foundation course was his stepping stone to doing a BA in Architecture which he began in September. Art and design has always been something he’s enjoyed and his design skill won him the mace competition. The credit for him entering the competition in the first place belongs to his tutor.

Rhys recalls as: “Helen Stokes pushed me to do the mace. I had been thinking of doing another project but she persuaded me that this was the one for me.” How right she was!

He explains the meaning behind his design, “The whole mace is an oak tree. I looked into the history of Brookes – starting with the acorn as the seed of Oxford Brookes. The roots represent the students starting at the original Oxford School of Art. The trunk represents the actual physical University and the leaves branching out are the current students. There’s also a crest of leaves representing the staff and faculties.”

Inspiration came from Oxford Brookes’ historic logo – the oak leaf, which has appeared on degree certificates since 1992.

The logo of the 150th anniversary celebrations also featured an oak tree, and the idea to have a University mace sprang from those celebrations. Unlike many other universities, Oxford Brookes did not have a ceremonial mace symbolising the connections between the past, present and future of the University. Thanks to Rhys, now it does.

“I looked into the history of Brookes – starting with the acorn as the seed of Oxford Brookes.”

Future graduations will take place in the Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall.
Read about the visit of Sir Kenneth’s children to the under-construction new hall »