“There are many things that have changed over the past decade and more,” University Provost Andrew Abela said during the fall faculty service awards presentation. “One thing has not changed, for many years — for 15 years in fact — but is about to. Through rain or shine, heat or cold (usually heat), every faculty procession has been led by our indomitable University Marshal, Dr. Thérèse-Anne Druart.”
A professor at the University since 1987, Druart was asked by then-Provost John Convey to be the University Marshal in 2003. He was looking for a senior tenured faculty member, and started reviewing a list of them.
“When I came to Dr. Druart's name, I thought she would be perfect,” he said. “Not only was she an ordinary professor and an established and notable scholar, she was a member of one of our Pontifical faculties and she was a woman.” A woman had not previously served as University Marshal.
Small in stature, but grand and stoic in appearance, Druart, a professor of philosophy and former director of the Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies, has humbly led nearly every procession. While some mace bearers carry it cradled in their arms, Druart carries the mace vertically and held high. “I thought you were to put the emphasis on the mace, not on yourself,” she says.
In her years as mace bearer, Druart only missed one event.
“Dr. Druart, with her stately presence, reminds us that we, too, should strive to take the moment seriously; that we should bring a special solemnity to the occasion,” said alumnus Christopher Pierno, B.A. 2011, M.S.M. 2017. “She doesn’t realize the impact she has had on over a decade of Catholic University students who allowed their gaze to be lifted to the mace.” Pierno, vice president of the alumni association, was one of many students that (for reasons Druart says she never understood), viewed the mace bearer as sort of a celebrity of the University.
Once Druart learned who would succeed her as University Marshal, she thought she would offer a few tips on the care and carrying of the mace. Three pages of notes to be exact.
The new mace bearer may be surprised to learn that the mace is surprisingly light weight. However, it’s length is somewhat difficult to maneuver; especially when trying to place the mace into its stand in front of a crowd of thousands of people at Commencement.
Tune in to the University’s livestream coverage of the 130th Commencement Ceremony to learn who will succeed Thérèse-Anne Druart as University Marshal.