Presidential Medallion of Office


The medallion of office is worn by the president over his official regalia at ceremonial occasions.

It was created by Associate Provost Jerome B. Walker for the inauguration of President James H. Zumberge on May 10, 1981 to serve as a tangible symbol of the authority vested in the president by the Board of Trustees.

For his 1991 inauguration, President Steven B. Sample designed the medallion’s current chain, which consists of shields identical to that found in the university seal, linked together 16 times.

The front of the medallion depicts the university seal in full, and the back lists the name of the current president and the date of his inauguration. Each president keeps his medallion after retirement.

For his 2010 inauguration, Dr. C. L. Max Nikias
directed that two copies of the medallion be created.

One copy will be worn by the president at appropriate events, while the other will be displayed in the Office of the President.

In 1948, the USC Board of Trustees approved an updated version of the university seal. In this version, the poppies appear next to the shield inside the outer band, which is now formatted as a scroll.

The Latin motto is inscribed on a separate scroll at the base of the seal. This seal continues to be the imprimatur, or official signature, of USC to this day.

At the behest of university administrators in 1908, Jesse Ray Miller devised a new seal that introduced USC’s official flower, the California poppy, a heraldic symbol of remembrance, hope, joy and growth.
The seal also included a shield bearing a setting sun and three torches.

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