The mace is carried by the Faculty Marshal as a symbol of the authority of Young Harris College to confer degrees. Originally a weapon of war, the mace came to be used as an emblem of military power and civil authority. Its use as a symbol of academic authority dates from medieval times. The honor of carrying the mace as Faculty Marshal in the academic procession is given to the most senior member of the Young Harris College faculty. Created in 2011 by artisan Nick Cook of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C., the Young Harris College mace is carved from native North Georgia cherry wood. The three bands of gold leafing represent the Holy Trinity. Four bronze medallions flank the sides at the top; two depict the Young Harris College seal, and two portray The United Methodist Church seal. The top of the mace is hand-carved in the shape of a flame which is symbolic of the flame on the United Methodist seal.
In addition to its presence on the mace, the Young Harris College seal appears during the Commencement ceremony on the purple baccalaureate degree candidate stoles, the Young Harris College Medallion and the President’s academic regalia. The original seal was designed circa 1925 by Birdie Miller, mother of Young Harris College alumnus and trustee Zell B. Miller, ’51, and art professor at YHC from 1923 to 1925. The original design prominently featured the sloping ridges of the well-known “Double Knob” mountain that rises up over the valley campus. According to College archives, the actual “double knob” peak did not make it into the first printed version—it was lost in translation at the print shop. However, the gentle slope of the pictured mountain was the focus of the early seal design—indicative of the College’s location in the foothills of the majestic Appalachian Mountains. Over the years the mountain gradually took on a steep, single peak appearance. It was featured on most yearbook covers—year after year—and tweaks and embellishments were continually made with each new edition that was published.
At the urging of Young Harris College alumni and members of the campus community and in honor of the College’s 125th anniversary celebration, the YHC seal recently underwent a facelift to restore the seal’s appearance to its original concept. The new, restored seal design was adopted in February 2011. The circular design depicts the aforementioned “Double Knob” mountain with the sun behind it in the background. The foreground features two columns suggestive of the fieldstone columns that appear on the College’s main brick plaza. An arch connecting the two columns bears the Latin phrase “Hic Iuventus Incenditur,” which translates to the College’s traditional academic motto “Here Youth Are Inspired.” A winding path leads toward the mountain landscape, symbolic of a scholar’s college journey. On the border are inscribed the name of the College and the date of its founding. The shape of the seal is traditional for early college and university seals.
THE YOUNG HARRIS COLLEGE MEDALLION
Each year since 1969, the Young Harris College Medallion has been awarded to an alumnus, alumna or friend of Young Harris College who has made extraordinary contributions to the College. It is the highest honor given by the College.
The academic gonfalon is a banner suspended on a crossbar and represents another piece of medieval history that has been incorporated into academic tradition. Designed in 2011 as part of Young Harris College’s 125th anniversary and in preparation to confer the College’s first baccalaureate degrees in nearly a century, the gonfalon reflects a timeless style, incorporates the College’s colors, logo and seal. The gonfalon bearer—the Student Government Association President—leads the academic procession and displays the gonfalon on the commencement stage.