History and Traditions
The University Mace
Maces, a symbolic staff of high office, are often traditional elements in academic processions. UT Arlington's mace, designed and created in 2007 by Texas State Artist and Professor David Keens with the assistance of Metal Art Adjunct Professor Fred Miller, is distinctly non-traditional. The UT Arlington mace is an undulating, artistic design of metal and glass that reflects the traditional symbols of academia in a dynamic and contemporary way. Almost completely made of clear glass, it is only upon closer observation are University's colors seen in glass below the round, etched-metal University seal. Surrounding the seal is a contemporary wreath design in transparent glass symbolizing the pursuit of higher education. Below the seal, wreath and colored glass is a forged metal contemporary nest. Below the nest is a transition into the past with etched transparent glass depictions of the institution's past names: in effect, an ethereal space of time past, Keens said. All of these sections rest on a long, swirled-glass, undulating tendril, reflecting the linear flow of time. It is a tangible image of history, prestige, formality, creativity, innovation and the uniqueness of UT Arlington.
The origins of academic dress date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were taking form. The ordinary dress of the scholar, whether student or teacher, was the dress of a cleric. With few exceptions, the medieval scholar had taken at least minor orders, made certain vows, and perhaps been tonsured. Long gowns were worn and may have been necessary for warmth in unheated buildings. Hoods seem to have served to cover the tonsured head until superseded for that purpose by the skull cap.
Today's gown for the bachelor's degree typically has pointed sleeves and are untrimmed. It is designed to be worn closed. The gown for the master's degree is also untrimmed, has an oblong sleeve, and opens at the wrist. The rear part of its oblong shape is square cut, and the front part has an arc cut away. The gown may be worn open or closed. The gown for the doctor's degree has bell-shaped sleeves and also may be worn open or closed. The gown is faced down the front with black velvet; three bars of velvet are used across the sleeves. These facings and crossbars may be of velvet of the color distinctive of the disciplines to which the degree pertains, thus agreeing in color with the binding or edging of the hood appropriate to the particular doctor's degree in every instance. Black gowns are typical for all degrees.
In all cases, the material and color must be the same as that of the gown. The length of the hood worn for the master's degree is three and one-half feet, and for the doctor's degree, four feet. The hood worn for the doctor's degree only shall have panels at the sides. Hoods are lined with the official color or colors of the college or university conferring the degree; more than one color is shown by division of the field color in a variety of ways, chevron or chevrons, equal division, etc. The binding or edging of the hood is to be velvet or velveteen, and the color should be indicative of the subject to which the degree pertains. No academic hood ever has its border divided to represent more than a single degree.
Black mortarboards are traditional. A long tassel is fastened to the middle point of the top of the cap only and to lie as it will thereon. The tassel should be black or the color appropriate to the academic subject, with the exception of the doctor's cap that may have a tassel of gold.