Royal Roads university has a few new artifacts from its days as a military college on display.
A mace, which symbolized the school’s authority to grant degrees during convocation ceremonies, and a replica of a plaque quoting Vice-Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson have found a new home in the foyer of the Grant Building.
Both items, along with the HMCS Royal Roads navy bell and the Queen’s Colours flag which were put on display at this time last year, are on long-term loan from the Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum. They’ll remain at Royal Roads for years to come.
David Bindernagel of the Royal Roads military heritage committee said he’s pleased with the growing collection.
“We hope to keep doing this, bringing something new each year,” Bindernagel said. “It’s important to remember the school’s history.”
The artifacts were presented to the university at the annual homecoming celebration in September, a reunion attended by some 300 former-cadets who’d attended Royal Roads prior to it becoming a university in 1995.
Many would remember the Nelson quote: “Duty is the great business of a sea officer; all private considerations must give way to it no matter how painful it is.”
These words were drilled into them during their years at Royal Roads. The plaque has the words in brass lettering, which students were forced to laboriously carve out as a form of punishment for the original version.
Conversely, the mace is something cadets would look forward to seeing on their final days at the school.
Royal Roads Military College began offering degree programs in 1975, prior to which cadets would have to transfer to a school in Kingston, Ont., to finish training. RRMC held its first convocation ceremony in 1977, the same year the mace was presented to the school.
Weighing about 20 pounds, the mace features four coat of arms — one for each incarnation of the school prior to it becoming a military college.
RRU senior foundation officer Paul Longtin said the school is considering using the military college mace alongside one held by the university at future convocation ceremonies.
Both would be carried to the stage and would be displayed while students are given their degrees.
“Using both together, it would show the long standing educational history in this building,” Longtin said, noting that many staff at Royal Roads are the same from its military days.
“We really treasure our history and need find ways to honour it.”