At Castleton’s 2018 Commencement ceremony Communication graduate Dominique Gatto '18 and her family shared in a nostalgic moment surrounding an established piece of Castleton history. Gatto’s grandfather, renowned Vermont woodworker Michael Coffey, was the original creator and designer of the Castleton mace that has become a symbolic academic tradition at the University’s Commencement ceremonies.
Created nearly 40 years ago, the mace was given to the University in 1979 by the Castleton alumni of Southeastern Vermont and is carried at each Commencement ceremony by a designated mace bearer. The ceremonial office of the mace bearer derives from medieval times when the mace was held ready to protect a dignitary.
In 2016, at the first “Castleton University” commencement ceremony, the mace was ceremoniously passed among honorary bearers selected from alumni dating back to Castleton Normal School.
"I actually had no idea he made the mace until it randomly came up when I was visiting him last fall," explained Gatto. "I think its really cool because everyone always compares Castleton to home, and for me, this really tied it down to the roots and made me feel even more connected with the University."