Neuenschwander honored as Mace Bearer

Dr. Beverly DeVries carrying the academic mace at the Sunday service during NSI 2012. Dr. Ed Neuenschwander will carry the mace at the Winter 2012 commencement. (Photo by Jessica Bowie)

Ronna Fisher, Assistant editor

A little over four years ago, SNU’s Mace was a walnut tree growing on SNU’s campus.  Salvaged wood from that tree, along with wood from The Tabernacle – a historic building on SNU’s campus where Nazarenes once worshipped – was formed into what is now our mace.

Provost Dr. Mary Jones shared the story of the mace, “Both of these pieces of wood, though cracked and flawed, were saved by the late Dr. Lyle Tullis, SNU Professor of Sociology Emeritus, whose life and service impacted countless SNU colleagues and students.  His son, Dr. K.J. Tullis, used this wood to craft the mace.”

For those who do not know what a Mace is, Jones explainsedin an email correspondence for The Echo what a mace is.

“The academic mace traces its origins to the medieval battle mace and royal scepter and was adopted in the 14th century as a symbol of the university’s ideals and commitment to learning. On ceremonial occasions, the mace is carried by a senior faculty member at the head of the procession.  For commencement exercises, the mace is placed in its stand to signal the beginning of the ceremony and removed to mark the ceremony’s end.”

“The Mace Bearer leads the processional into graduation and presides until the faculty, platform and students are in place.  Once the Mace Carrier turns and places the Mace on the stand, the ceremony officially begins.  At the closing prayer – the Mace Carrier again leads the recessional out signifying the end of the official ceremony,” explains Jones.

Carrying the Mace at the head of the faculty procession at the commencement ceremony is a great honor.  It is given to a senior member of the SNU faculty in recognition of dedicated service and outstanding qualities that exemplify the SNU motto “Character.  Culture.  Christ.”  This year the honor is awarded to Dr. Ed Neuenschwander, a professor of physics.

“I feel honored . . . I understand because of the history, and also this particular mace has a lot of symbolic significance for academics but for SNU too.  The tree was a living thing on campus.  Its story shouldn’t die,” Neuenschwander said.

Neuenschwander has been teaching at SNU since 1986.  He took a two-year leave in the mid 90s, so his service totals twenty-four years.  Neuenschwander is a man with many interests.  When he can, he enjoys motorcycle trips, working with old cars, astronomy, drawing, hiking, and reading.

“I think a person ought to become an expert in one thing and try to appreciate many things,” he recommends.

One of his more interesting hobbies is playing the saxophone.  He picked it up five years ago when a friend told him, “The real tragedy is when you die, and the music is still inside you.”

Dr. Neuenschwander is full of sagacious advice for graduates,  two notable pieces of advice being: “In the absence of a burning bush experience, follow your interests.  Sharpen your tools.  Your passion and interests are God’s gift to you.” and “There is a trade off between adventure and security.  Try to have some adventure in your life.”

With commencement bing tomorrow, Dr. Jones also wants to leave graduates with some wisdom: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.’”  Mark 12:29-32

What do you think?