The mace and chain of office were designed and created in 1981 by the late Professor Emeritus Kurt J. Matzdorf, internationally known gold and silversmith and founder of the university's gold and silversmith program. The program, known today as the Metal Program, has been named the No. 1 graduate program in Metal by U.S. News and World Report.
The mace is 38 inches long and is made of sterling silver, acrylic and rosewood. The lower end of the mace is made in the shape of a space capsule and carries the gold-plated seal of the State University of New York. The rosewood shaft, with four bands of sterling silver, is surmounted by an incised inscription, State University of New York, which supports the head of the mace. The head of the mace displays six scenes that summarize the academic activities of the college in sterling silver low relief against a blue acrylic background. Above the head, from an incised inscription reading "The College at New Paltz," arises a flame in blue and orange acrylic (the SUNY New Paltz colors) symbolizing the enlightenment to be gained from higher education.
The presidential chain of office is 45 inches long. It consists of 10 fields of blue acrylic framed in sterling silver shaped like the contour of the head of the mace. These alternate with nine apples in red and green acrylic framed in silver indicating the principal non-academic product of the New Paltz community. The four links in the back of the chain carry the SUNY logo in sterling silver relief.
Originally, there were six blue links on the front of the chain corresponding to the sterling silver reliefs on the mace. Each link represents Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, and Graduate programs, respectively. In 2002, two blue links were added representing Engineering and Business, acknowledging the School of Science and Engineering and the School of Business. The medallion displays the gold-plated seal of the State University of New York surrounded by an incised inscription, "The College at New Paltz," against a blue acrylic background. It hangs from a center link that shows the date New Paltz was converted from an academy to a normal school, 1885.
The mace is a gift from the New Paltz Alumni Association Board of Directors. The chain of office is a gift from the SUNY New Paltz Foundation.