On May 31, 1997, the Bucknell Alumni Association presented the university mace to William Adams, Bucknell's 14th president. Designed and produced by Leonard Urso, a silversmith and sculptor from Rochester, N.Y., the mace is simple yet elegant in design, contrasting the dark wave-like grain of the four-foot-long rosewood handle with a pure silver decorative top. Urso hand-carved the university seal and a replica of the Bertrand Library tower, which graces the top of the mace. Maces originally represented the power of a bishop in battle and served as protection for the clergy, who were forbidden to draw blood. The mace later became symbolic of power and authority in civic ceremonies. In the 16th century, Oxford University began using a decorated mace in its ceremonial processions to signify academic independence and excellence. Since that time, the mace has been a sign of educational tradition and distinction.