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Linda Hughes as Chief Marshal with TCU's mace
Linda Hughes places the mace in preparation for the spring 2021 commencement ceremony May 8 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. (Photo by Glen E. Ellman)
TCU mace
TCU’s mace was created by master carver Robert Kramer in 1999 for the inauguration of former Chancellor Michael Ferrari. (Photo by Glen E. Ellman)

Dr. Molly Weinburgh, Andrews Chair of Mathematics and Science Education, director of the Andrews Institute, has been appointed Texas Christian University’s new chief marshal, the highest honor for a faculty member; she will lead the procession for all academic ceremonies by carrying TCU’s mace. Weinburgh replaces Dr. Linda Hughes, Addie Levy Professor of Literature, who has served in this role since 2000.

“It has been a privilege to serve Horned Frogs in this capacity, and the memories I’ve made doing so will last a lifetime,” Hughes said. “I’m proud to pass the mace to Dr. Weinburgh, who I know will carry on this prestigious tradition with pride and represent TCU faculty with great honor.”

Weinburgh begins her new appointment this fall, with the first university event being Fall Convocation on Sept. 14. Last year, convocation was held virtually due to the pandemic.

“I am truly honored by this appointment and will carry the mace with great pride,” Weinburgh said. “I look forward to representing the faculty and supporting our students during these significant academic events.”

Weinburgh received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar and was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 2011. Passionate about science education, she has been awarded more than $12 million from the National Science Foundation, Funds for Improving Post-Secondary Education, Eisenhower Funds and Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants. Her research interests include equity issues in science education, inquiry-based instruction and teacher growth. Weinburgh teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in science education and the Honors section of a non-majors biology course.

History of Chief Marshal and Significance of the Mace

TCU’s mace was created by master carver Robert Kramer in 1999 for the inauguration of former Chancellor Michael R. Ferrari. In 2000, Ferrari asked Hughes to serve as chief marshal and she has taken the lead for every major academic ceremony since, including the inauguration of Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. in 2003, where she led the faculty and platform party, and culminating with the historic commencement ceremonies of May 7 and 8, 2021.

Hughes took over the role from Dr. Anantha Babbili, former chair of the Department of Journalism. In a story in TCU Magazine, Hughes said “It is a very solid thing. Kind of fitting for a university that has been around for as long as TCU.”

In addition to leading the procession at commencement, the chief marshal receives the walk numbers of every graduate at the ceremony, ensuring they’re in the right place in line to receive their diplomas.

“Maintaining focus is probably the most rigorous requirement of this job, but it comes attached to the fun of seeing one’s students again right before they graduate. It’s been a great pleasure to me,” Hughes said.

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