The Poultney Historical Society was honored to receive the Green Mountain College Ceremonial Academic Mace, designed and created by the late Dr. Walter Reuling, a former board member of the college. The mace was used in Green Mountain College commencement ceremonies beginning in 2001.
Donated by Walter’s wife Marjorie Reuling, the mace, which took nearly a year and over 1,000 hours to complete, is truly a one-of-a-kind piece:
The four panels, carved in deep relief and painted in oils, represent the adventure program at Green Mountain College, the earth as seen from the surface of the moon, a winter scene of These Green Mountains (the State Song of Vermont), and an idealized scene of sustainable agriculture that includes the college campus barn. The paintings, however, are just the beginning to appreciating this remarkable piece. In Walter’s own words, “While the four panels seem to be what first attract people’s interest, that part of the project was the easiest to do and quickest to complete. The entire project, from planning to presentation to the Trustees, took the better part of a year.”
The haft is turned from solid African mahogany and sits on a wood platform made specifically for the mace. The business end is a stylized representation of the cupola on Ames Hall and is fabricated from 131 pieces of brass stock: sheet, bar and rod. There are over 200 individually soldered joints.
In a letter to a former Green Mountain College president Thomas Benson, Walter writes, “It was made in over 10 sub-assemblies which were then soldered together. The challenge there was that as you heated the metal sub-assemblies to join them, you risked melting the solder holding the previously soldered joints together. This challenge was eventually overcome through trial and error, many catastrophic (it seemed at the time) meltdowns, and the use of successively lower-melt kinds of solder. The completed fabrication was plated in 24 Karat gold out in Ohio.”
We are very grateful to the Reuling Family for entrusting the Poultney Historical Society with such a meaningful piece of the college and town’s history and look forward to sharing this with the greater Poultney community.