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Graduation to feature mace made from ancient tree

Theater Professor Eric Craft describes the process he used to design the College's new ceremonial mace.

“The Senator,” the Seminole County landmark that had stood for 3,500 years, will live on as a new symbol at Seminole State College of Florida.

Seminole State College will debut a ceremonial mace crafted from a branch of “The Senator” at its fall commencement on Dec. 16.

A old postcard image of "The Senator."

Seminole State’s mace was created from a six-foot branch of “The Senator,” which was one of the world’s oldest bald cypress trees and the largest native tree in Florida before it was destroyed by fire in January.

As Seminole State theater Professor Eric Craft, who specializes in theater design, transformed the branch, his design concept was “to celebrate the tree and also Seminole State College.” He wanted the mace to convey both a classic feel and a sense of the future, so he juxtaposed the ancient wood with an acrylic sphere at the top to “bring us into modern materials.” The College’s colors are represented by the inset bands of gold leafing and blue paint.

Historically, the use of a ceremonial mace dates to the Middle Ages, when maces were carried before or placed near a magistrate or other dignitary as a symbol of authority. “The Senator” was named after Moses Oscar Overstreet, a state senator from 1920 to 1925 who donated what is now Big Tree Park to Seminole County.

For more information about Commencement, visit the graduation website.

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