Originally a weapon of combat, the mace is said to have been developed around 12,000 BC. The macebearer is a much more recent phenomenon. The position is derived from medieval times in Europe, when the mace was carried by a bodyguard to protect the king from would-be attackers.
Over the centuries, the mace has come to represent the academic authority of colleges and is now used ceremonially as a symbol of office. It is traditionally carried by a distinguished faculty member preceding the president. At Pellissippi State, the mace is carried at graduation by the person chosen annually by his or her peers to receive the Outstanding Full-time Faculty award.
The Pellissippi State mace was designed and crafted by Tom Walker, a local artisan and friend of the College, and by Charles Wright, a professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology. The mace is crafted of indigenous walnut and cherry woods. The cherry forms the fluted staff and the bezel, or rim, of the crown. The walnut was crafted to form the turned head and base pieces. The woods represent the state of Tennessee and its beauty. Three rings are set along the top of the staff. A ring of bronze represents the past of the College, which began as State Technical Institute at Knoxville in 1974. The middle ring of aluminum represents the present institution of Pellissippi State Community College. A ring of titanium represents the future. The crown of the mace is set with Pellissippi State seals made of bronze, which represent the legal authority of the institution to grant degrees.